What's The Difference Between eLearning And Virtual Training?
In a nutshell, an eLearning course is self-paced and available to the user at any time in any location. However, it does not include the input and guidance of a trainer.
Whereas, online interactive training or virtual training is the same as doing a classroom-based course except it is hosted online via platforms such as Zoom or Teams.
The table below gives a brief outline of the differences:
eLearning is specifically designed to be available to the user from a computer in any location, anytime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In comparison, online interactive courses are led by a trainer and often have a range of people attending, potentially from different locations. which means having scheduled timings is essential. However, candidates are still able to attend from a location that suits them, whether that be from work or at home.
What are the costs involved?
eLearning is self-led which means there are no additional costs for a trainer. Being able to access the course from any location also means travel costs can be reduced or even eliminated.
In contrast, online interactive courses are trainer-led which means there is a cost attached to the delivery of a course. Often these courses are accredited and enable candidates to gain a qualification. This means examinations are provided by an awarding body and therefore come with a cost.
Discounts are often available for both learning approaches.
For eLearning courses, it’s common for the discount to become greater as the quantity increases. For example:
- 10 to 49 licences and save 10%
- 50 – 99 licences and save 15%
- 100 or more licences and save 30%
For online interactive courses, providers may offer an early booking discount and or a multiple booking discount. For example – Book 3 or more places and receive a 10% discount.
Can the course content be tailored in any way?
eLearning courses are typically ‘off the shelf’ which means the content is standardised and therefore fixed. Conversely, by its very nature, online interactive training encourages people to share ideas or issues within their role or industry, offering a much more personalised learning experience.
How much support will I receive?
eLearning courses adopt a self-led, independent learning approach. This means candidates aren’t able to check their understanding or gain input from a trainer to greater facilitate their learning. There is technical guidance available, for issues such as password resets etc., but other than that, support is minimal.
In stark contrast, because online interactive courses are trainer-led, and usually to a group of candidates; learners get lots of support; this includes:
- Ability to ask questions to a subject matter expert (the trainer)
- Group discussions
- Interactive learning activities with other candidates
- Opportunity to gain insight into how other organisations manage similar issues
All of this combined with the prospect of on-going support way after the course ends through your newly acquired network of industry colleagues.
Is the training interactive?
eLearning courses use a variety of ways to bring the content to life, including:
- High quality video demonstrations
- Learning activities
- Revision exercises
- Question and answer exercises
Platforms such as Zoom allow virtual courses far greater scope for interaction, not only for its content but also for human interaction. Zoom has a whole host of interactive features that all add to the overall effectiveness of the training delivery. These include:-
- Screen sharing
- Interactive whiteboard
- Zoom chat
- Breakout rooms
- React with emojis
Essentially, being able to ask questions and discuss the subject matter with your trainer and peers; brings about deeper understanding and a higher level of transformative learning.
What format does the exam take?
eLearning courses are usually assessed by multiple-choice questions at the end of the course.
Candidates undertaking qualifications delivered online via Zoom must take an invigilated examination. This is taken using Highfield’s Qualify at Home remote invigilation facility. This service enables candidates to gain a nationally recognised qualification by taking an accredited examination online. A member of the Highfield team will observe the exam being taken via a webcam and mobile phone.
A big advantage of taking the exam this way is that results and certification are much faster.