Sometimes disparaged, often adored, e-learning is constantly being talked about. But then, what are its strong points? What are its weaknesses? This article dissects the advantages and disadvantages of e-learning, to help guide the undecided!
You are a training manager and you are thinking of taking the next step by choosing digital training. However, you are torn between the desire to simplify your life and the fear of the unknown...
Since the advent of digital technology in the vocational training process, there are two schools. Firstly, those who go head first into e-learning, without asking themselves any questions, excited by these technological innovations. Then there are the others, which you may be part of, who are tempted by new learning perspectives, but who are questioning themselves. "Is e-learning the best solution available to me?"
This article aims to enlighten the protagonists of this second category on the advantages and disadvantages of e-learning.
Saves time for learners and companies
Here is one of the main advantages of online training. Its practicality and the time savings for companies and learners is a real strength. Indeed, unlike traditional training, the learner has free access to his training, from his computer or smartphone. He can decide to progress on his course at any time of the day.
A significant advantage for the company: the employee no longer has to travel to a training centre or be housed at the company's expense. E-learning allows him/her to train outside working hours, if the training manager so decides and if the employee gives his/her written consent. Otherwise, the employee can be assigned hours dedicated to training, directly from his or her workstation.
Profitability for companies
As mentioned above, thanks to e-learning, the company saves on possible travel and accommodation costs. It is true that these costs can quickly rise if the training takes place over several weeks away from the employee's home.
In addition, the company may have a budget allocated to e-learning, in which case it would be in the company's best interest to use it. So, even if you have to spend a significant amount of money at the beginning of the project (for the acquisition of the platform, for example), once the online training courses are online, they stay there. You won't need to spend money on renting rooms or trainers.
Possibility to train an unlimited number of learners
Another of the great strengths of e-learning is the possibility of training as many learners as you wish, without any limit in number. Unlike face-to-face training, where the number of trainees per trainer is limited, digital technology means that all employees in a company can access the same training. This is a considerable advantage for the company as it saves money but also time!
Autonomy and flexibility
With online training, the learner is completely autonomous and can progress at his own pace. In addition to being able to follow his training at any time of the day, there is no schedule or training time required, which gives him total freedom in managing his course!
It is also possible for the trainer and learners to monitor the progress of the results. This gives the trainer real-time access to the results. This allows him/her to deduce which parts of the training should be reworked or deepened in order to obtain better results during the next sessions.
If, for example, the majority of learners are working on the same module... There is a good chance that it is not sufficiently developed or poorly explained. Of course, the learner can also access his or her results and follow his or her progress. This will allow him to identify his strengths and weaknesses. Then he can try to correct them later.
Nothing is ever all white or all black. With online training, it's the same. There are pros... and cons, followers... and detractors. If you're lost, the important thing is to know how to weigh the pros and cons of digital training. If you listen carefully to the arguments presented by the opponents of e-learning, you will find the same "accusations".
If we dig a little deeper, we can see that in reality, most people who are reluctant to digital training are only apprehensive about the digital tool. Indeed, some of them are not very comfortable with technological advances and can easily get into the wrong hands, or even devalue themselves in the face of a new objective.
The phrase "I'll never make it" has been uttered hundreds of times, wrongly. Often, it is enough to set off at one's own pace in the discovery of the unknown to discover that there is nothing so terrible about it. It's the same with computers. With a little help and curiosity, digital training is quickly becoming available to everyone!
Isolation of the learner
The lack of human contact is probably one of the main weaknesses of e-learning. Criticized by its detractors for its isolation of the learner, e-learning is a practical and effective alternative to conventional training.
Although the learner is left alone, there are ways to counteract this loneliness, such as social learning. This method values social bonds and encourages learners to exchange through forums or chats. For more information, read our article here, and find out how to strengthen your social learning.
There is also Blended Learning which seems to be a good alternative to this problem.
Blended learning combines both online and face-to-face training. The learner then has the advantages of e-learning (accessibility, practicality, speed), while benefiting from face-to-face training (exchanges with trainer and learners).
Often, the content of an e-learning course can seem impersonal. The trainer creates his digital training for an audience predefined by age, profession or sector of activity. They therefore do not really know their learners. Conversely, a traditional trainer can adapt his training to the learners in front of him.
The creator of e-learning content must be able to anticipate the reactions, doubts and questions of future learners. This is how he will produce the best possible training. This is not always obvious, in short. Recently, a new learning method has emerged in the hope of countering this trend: adaptive learning. Thanks to constantly improving data collection and analysis, it is now possible to paint a more realistic picture of each learner. And therefore to adapt the content of the training according to their needs and preferences..
The last important point that contributes to the bad reputation of e-learning is that, even today, too many companies are still ill-informed about the advances in digital training, and find themselves lost in the face of the emergence of the digital world. There is a good chance that if training and human resources managers were better informed about e-learning, many of them would choose this route for the benefits outlined above.
To sum up, as with any new method, there are advantages and disadvantages. E-learning is no exception to the rule!
Between saving time and money, practicality and flawless accessibility, digital training is constantly proving its worth. Thanks to its many qualities, it is attracting more and more companies.
However, some others remain sceptical about this craze. And for good reason! They are often misinformed and put off by the lack of human contact generated by e-learning. Nevertheless, new learning methods close to e-learning are emerging in order to reduce the disadvantages of the latter as much as possible. Blended learning is a very good compromise since it combines e-learning and face-to-face training. So why shouldn't it be the future of vocational training?
Read our article to find out why set up a Blended Learning project!
- The advantages of e-learning are many and varied. They include considerable time savings, an optimised training budget, an unlimited number of learners and the possibility of monitoring their progress.
- Conversely, there are also disadvantages such as isolation of the learner, misinformation of companies and users, among others.
- Fortunately, there is a compromise that meets the expectations of e-learning enthusiasts, while curbing the fears of its detractors: Blended Learning!