If you want to make learning and development part of your company culture, there are different ways to go about it. You can choose to onboard, upskill, and reskill your employees via in-person training, online training, or a combination of the two.

But like any comparative scenario, each form of training has a distinct set of pros and cons. So, how do you decide what type of skills training to offer your employees? A lot depends on how much time and money you have or are willing to devote to learning and development.

This post breaks down the good, the bad, and the ugly of in-person and online training to help you decide what learning model is best for your company.

Internal Skills Training

Occurring inside your company, this form of in-person training involves an employee learning about their role via job shadowing and completing tasks under the supervision of a manager or experienced coworker. While it’s a quick and cost-effective way to train your employees, it’s not as straightforward as it seems.

Internal training can be difficult and ineffective for companies with a labor shortage or a siloed work environment. For example, if you have a busy employee training a new hire, they may become overwhelmed and decide to cut corners. As a result, your new hire might not learn proper company protocol. Furthermore, if your employees are accustomed to working in silos, your new hire could develop a groupthink mentality that hinders innovation. 

External Skills Training

Administered by a third party, such as a supplier or an industry expert, this form of in-person training usually takes place off-site, enabling your employees to get a fresh perspective on how to perform their jobs. It also exposes them to new products and industry advancements. However, it’s usually the most expensive and least flexible of all training options.

Not to mention, external training often involves employees from different companies within the same industry and moves at a speed that accommodates the least knowledgeable person. So, if your employees are learning alongside lower-skilled individuals from another company, you won’t get the maximum return on your training investment.

There’s also an intimidation factor that plays into these group training sessions. No one wants to look “dumb” in front of their peers. So, if you have an employee who doesn’t understand something, there’s a good chance they won’t ask for clarification and will leave training none the wiser.

Online Skills Training

Short-term, on-demand online skills training gives your employees the flexibility to learn around their work priorities—and without the fear of being judged by others. Online courses do a great job of teaching your employees a variety of new skills in bite-sized chunks.

Furthermore, your company can save time and money by training your employees online. After all, there are no travel expenses and no missed workdays. Not to mention, online learning is more consistent than instructor-led training. It can also teach more skills to more employees than any one person ever could.

But that’s not to say that online skills training is flawless. With online learning, your employees can’t ask questions, engage in group discussions, or participate in hands-on practice in real-time.

The In-Person vs. Online Skills Training Verdict

Generally speaking, if your company has the time, money, and manpower to invest in learning and development, your best bet would be to offer your employees a combination of internal and online skills training. But if you only had one option to choose from, online skills training would provide the best return on your investment.

How to Choose an Online Skills Training Platform

If you decide to onboard, upskill, and reskill your employees via online skills training, there are several items you should consider before choosing a platform.

What courses are available?
Every online skills training platform has different course offerings. Therefore, you want to make sure the platform you’re evaluating can address all the skills needs of your workforce.

Housing nearly 850 skills courses and several industry-recognized certification programs, WorkForge’s online training platform covers competencies that individuals of all skill levels need to be effective at work. Courses fall into one of the following four categories: workplace & soft skills, risk management & compliance skills, technical skills, and quality & continuous improvement skills.

What is the format of courses?
Generally speaking, the more interactive the course format, the more a learner will retain a new skill. Because everyone learns differently, you should choose a training platform that uses a variety of learning modalities to engage employees. Therefore, you should demo every platform on your list of training choices.

WorkForge’s courses use text, audio, graphics, animations, and simulations to accommodate the different learning styles of users. Another aspect of our format is that every skills course comes with an instructor training plan for hands-on learning activities.

How is mastery measured?
Nearly all online skills training platforms incorporate some form of testing or evaluation at the end of each course. When reviewing various training platforms, you should ensure the tests meet your learning standards.WorkForge’s training platform ensures skills mastery by closing each online course with a thorough assessment that requires a perfect score for completion. 

How user-friendly is the LMS?
A learning management system (LMS) is the software that allows your company to assign skills courses and gives your employees access to take them. Unless your company already has an LMS, it’s important to evaluate the intuitiveness of the one that comes with the training platform you’re considering.

WorkForge’s LMS is a cloud-based platform engineered to make skills training easy to organize, deliver, and manage—all from one secure, centralized environment. The platform is also SOC2 and FEDRAMP (Spring 2023) compliant. If you want to make online skills training part of your company culture, contact WorkForge today to see if our turnkey solution is right for you.