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Making the decision to use eLearning or Instructor led training

This week I have been speaking at a conference that Pathways Training and eLearning was asked to be a part of and was asked an interesting question…

” How do you make the decision to use eLearning or instructor led training when you can develop only one of those choices"?

Making the determination between using eLearning or instructor led training is simple, and often done for you before development starts. For example, consider geographic location of the intended audience. If the material you are developing is intended for a national or even global audience, or it is not economically feasible to bring your intended audience in to a classroom, then eLearning it is. Also, aside from the fact eLearning is a significantly cheaper option when compared to instructor led training, many organizations are now focusing on making “greener” choices when it comes to the business decisions that are made. Understanding that, using eLearning is a perfect compliment to that philosophy. By having the participant learn from home or the office, the individual’s carbon footprint is significantly reduced by avoiding unnecessary travel, hotel stays or the use of conference halls, classrooms, etc.

Another simple determining factor is content. What is it that you wish the students to learn? If the learning objectives all relate to understanding the finer points of karate, then I and probably most of us would choose to attend a class led by a qualified instructor as opposed to staying home and watching Bruce Lee movies. However, if the tasks, activities, functions, etc. are either performed on a computer or easily viewed on any type of media, then there is a very high probability that eLearning will be the best method for providing that content. Colleges and Universities across North America have been using self paced eLearning for several years now to provide instruction in almost all courses that are offered as part of their curriculum, so the limits are endless when it comes to what subjects one can learn through eLearning.

In some instances, the pros/cons are seemingly equal between going with instructor led training versus eLearning. In these situations, a person then should consider who will deliver the training if instructor led is chosen as the delivery method. I am sure most would agree that just because a person is an expert on the content, does not mean they will be able to effectively teach the material to a classroom full of students. We have all been in at least 1-2 classrooms where the facilitator was a terrible communicator, could not manage questions, was rude to the student’s, etc.… As such in situations where there may not be 100% confidence in the ability of finding the right facilitator to deliver the content, then eLearning would be the way to go.

Finally, if nothing else trust your instincts and common sense to help make the eLearning versus instructor led training decision. If an experienced developer can picture themselves completing the training they have been asked to create using eLearning, then chances are that is the right choice.

To learn more about eLearning training solutions offered by Pathways please visit our website at

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