Web Based Training (WBT) – Advantages vs disadvantages
We owe the development of methods and techniques of distance education primarily to technological progress, global trends and financial support from the European Union. In recent years, we have been observing a boom in the offer of e-learning trainings. On-line access to materials, trainers in the “reach of a computer mouse”, learning in a convenient place and time, savings related to travels to training, reduction of downtime related to participation in training – these are the most commonly accented benefits of e-learning training.
Training is not only lectures, workshops or coaching. It is also a slowly growing, though consistently WBT market. Consider the benefits and disadvantages of e-learning training compared to traditional training.
Disadvantages of Web-Based Training (WBT)
Before you start planning your training and ordering WBT in euphoria, learn about the disadvantages of e-learning
It would be an illusion to say that e-learning has no flaws. Of course, it has quite a lot – but they do not dominate its advantages. In addition, the advantages and disadvantages of this teaching method should always be considered in a specific case, not detached from specific people and specific needs.
The issues that in most cases can be considered as defects include:
– limiting people-to-people contacts. Direct contacts are very important and no intermediate form can replace personal contact,
– the cost of developing a specific course is greater than in the traditional method – because in addition to basic content it is also good to prepare the right graphics, hire lectors, use the films,
– to effectively participate in WBT, an employee should develop an adequate motivation to learn. Some students / employees have a big problem with self-preparation or self-discipline,
– Among the less beneficial aspects of e-learning there is also the issue of problems with copyright protection.
Opinions of users of WBT trainings or heads of company training departments
lead to the generation of three main defects that appear most often:
- WBT trainings are boring, and the participants focus on getting them “snapped” as soon as possible. This is one of the most common opinions. The reason may be: evident errors in the design of the training, lack of consideration of the training goals, illegible structure, insufficient selection of the material. Designers often focus on creating a more attractive form of PowerPoint presentations. Meanwhile, e-learning training should be a completely different, separate form of communication, something between a book, a script, a pdf document, a PowerPoint presentation, and a training workshop and a computer game.
- The development of e-learning courses is time-consuming. The time needed to prepare one e-learning training is about 6-8 weeks. This time is needed to design the training and technical implementation. If the training is to be really effective, then the first stage should take at least half of the time needed to prepare the training.
- E-learning training is expensive. It can be assumed that e-learning is financially viable if it is used by 100 – 200 people (depending on the location of the participants). So if we are looking for financial benefits and we have a group of less than 100-200 people, let’s choose the traditional form. On the other hand, if the group has, for example, 500 people, the financial benefits are already significant.
The advantages of remote teaching
- First of all, it is a huge saving of time – the employee and the company do not lose him on commuting to places where stationary educational classes take place. Also the learning process itself can be planned and spread over time to interact with other duties.
- It can not be concealed that remote teaching also allows you to reduce your financial expenses for education – we do not incur travel costs or possible accommodation at your destination.
- We are dealing here with the individualization of the teaching process, and thus with the higher effectiveness of education. Learning in the e-education system is adapted to the individual pace of individual people. The participant of the e-learning program learns to motivate and encourage to persistent work and independent deepening of knowledge.
- In e-learning, we can even distinguish special on-demand training – when a given person decides what he wants to learn and assimilates only the knowledge that is needed.
- E-learning uses a lot of different forms of presentation and thus the methods used can interest the listener in many ways.
- Easy access to various sources of knowledge (for example, thanks to the opportunities provided by the remote teaching platform, which are increasingly implemented in larger companies).
- Possibility to conduct training for a very large group of employees (in a stationary environment, lecture rooms usually have some limitations as to the number of training participants).
- Easy supervision of teaching progress and checking of acquired knowledge.
- A unified message for all listeners of a specific course or training.
If you are implementing a new system, procedures or products and you need to train 1,000 employees within two months, you are not able to do it in a traditional way. WBT is an irreplaceable solution in such situations.
The ability to monitor results and progress.
Apparently, people behave differently when someone looks at what they are doing. The very awareness of monitoring results and training progress mobilizes the participants.
Flexibility in access to training.
Access to training from anywhere and at any time are WBT features that make you independent of employee diseases, business trips, important meetings or other urgent duties that employees must perform during the training.
Guarantee of the uniformity of the message.
In the case of e-learning trainings, the company has control over every word of the training message. Thanks to this, it ensures uniformity of message throughout the organization. The language of communication is consistent and can be the basis for communication between members of company teams.
Possibility of multiple use.
If a company develops intensively and often accepts new employees or is naturally exposed to high turnover, it certainly has a problem with the rapid implementation of new employees. The organization of the training process for new employees takes a lot of time and costs a lot of money. The WBT training package for new employees can be used repeatedly whenever the company employs a new employee.
The e-learning training market is divided into two smaller segments.
The first is the academic market, and therefore training for students. The second is the business market, or training for employees. Students and students learn “about something” (on a given topic), and employees learn “for something” (for a specific purpose). This difference should translate into a completely different way of designing e-learning courses.
In practice, these two worlds intermingle and effective methods in academic e-learning are implemented in a business. To a large extent, this is the reason for the opinion that WBT training is expensive boring and is not effective. What works in teaching students is usually not good in teaching employees. Business training requires completely different training design methods.
The key to the success of WBT trainings in any organization lies in the right approach to designing, based on goals, building participants’ intellectual engagement and working at the level of behavior, not at the level of knowledge.
This is what distinguishes training for employees from training for students and makes the use of e-learning trainings in the organization bring the expected results.
Despite the specific flaws, WBT training is undoubtedly a knowledge package presented in a modern and very accessible way, through multimedia lectures and interactive exercises and quizzes. The acquired skills will certainly help entrepreneurs and their employees to increase the efficiency of entrusted tasks.