Online Training for Professional and Staff Development – What are the Benefits?
Online training delivers real benefits for staff development. Some benefits are inherent in all online training courses. But it’s also important to look for specific features that deliver a personalized approach to your online training. We’ve summed it up in a simple slideshow that illustrates the benefits of online training for staff professional development. Use it to convince your boss about the benefits of online training and share it with your colleagues!
Here are four benefits that apply to online training in general:
Flexible – Online training allows you to fit your training around your lifestyle and work schedules. You meet your individual needs for professional development, and at the same time organizations get better trained staff. But you still have time for personal, family and work obligations.
Anywhere Access – Online training is web-based so you can log in from anywhere: home, office or when working remotely. Because you are not tied to a fixed location to complete training, this reduces the tyranny of long distance travel. And if your project or work schedules change, you can still carry out your training online. This is beneficial for both individuals and organizations.
Anytime Access – Learn at your own pace and time. Have you ever been in a face-to-face course and thought – This is boring, I wish they’d speed up!” or “Hmm, didn’t quite get that, but don’t really feel comfortable asking a question . . . “ Learning something well takes time. With online training you choose the time and pace that suits you best. You study when it is convenient for you and for time periods that match your concentration span. It’s your choice and engaging in the learning process when you choose to, leads to better training and development.
Cost-effective – Course costs are reduced and there are no down time, travel or accommodation costs. Online training has the smallest carbon footprint and is the most sustainable learning solution. Studies show that online training is generally 25% to 60% shorter than face to face training on the same subject. Since the largest cost of any training is individual time spent in training, this makes a significant difference to the bottom line and also frees up personal time.
These are the global benefits of online training. But take a closer look and make sure you choose online training courses with the following features that offer a personalized approach to learning:
Interactive – One of the best things about online courses is the online community, so look for courses that have an active online network where you can share ideas and knowledge. Online training is not done in isolation and engaging with your online colleagues pays dividends. Everyone has valuable comments to make and questions to ask. Everyone has the same opportunity to contribute to discussion forums and practical exercises, whether you are confident and extroverted or quieter and more reflective. Online training makes it easier to have an equal say and leads to a more collaborative and richer learning experience, as you discuss and share your ideas and share in the experience of others.
Practical and relevant – look for courses that have been developed by professionals with real-life experience and that will provide you with practical skills to advance your career. Then, when the course is finished you can apply the knowledge you have gained in a practical way. Does a course teach you the key things you need to know? Is your knowledge tested and do you carry out practical exercises so that you are confident to apply those skills in the workplace?
Expert Support – Check that your online training course has a Course Facilitator. Well qualified Course Facilitators should be available to moderate discussion forums and help you with any queries. Everyone needs help at times and this one-to-one contact ensures that you are not left in a learning vacuum where you are unsure about any aspects.
Track Progress – Look for online training where your progress is recorded, so that you have the opportunity to go back and review and retrace your training journey. This enhances learning and retention. It also allows the Course Facilitator to monitor your progress and see where you may need help or encouragement. Ideally your progress through the online course should be recorded by a digital learning management system. This means when you successfully complete the course you get a unique certificate of completion for your records that shows the equivalent hours of CPD and the skills you have gained.
So what’s the bottom line? Look for online training that delivers a practical and personalized training and development experience. Online training should be student-centered and done at your own time, place and pace, but it is vital that it occurs within a supportive learning network.
Can you think of any other benefits of online training and development? We’d love to hear from you!
Continuing Professional Development offers online training courses to customers around the world. Click here to find out more about our online training and development courses.