Online Training Pros and Cons
For those willing to buy into the approach and implementation used to create online classes, there are some interesting benefits that can accrue to such an encounternamely:
- Support for multiple learning styles: Educators recognize different types of learners (visual, audio, interactive, and more), and online classes can be crafted to support multiple learning styles, and often provide multiple, mutually reinforcing sets of materials designed to meet the learning needs for all kinds of learners. Online courses often combine text, animations, videos, and interactive simulations to draw learners into the course materials.
- Affordable prices for quality learning: Because instructors don’t have to be involved at every step along the way (and sometimes not at all), online classes can offer a quality learning experience at a very low cost (even as low as $5-10 an hour). Because students furnish the equipment, pay for Internet access, and manage their own schedule and activities, online training providers can really cut costs yet still deliver useful and informative materials.
- Hands-on via simulation or animation: Online classes don’t usually include real-time access to labs and computer facilities (and those that do cost more) but they can offer inexpensive access to simulated or animated environments that look and act as much like the real thing as modern technology will allow. Often, this is more than enough for students to get the hands-on experience working with tools, platforms, and environments that they need to prepare for certification.
- Flexibility and convenience: For those who can’t get away, or who can’t afford the costs of ILT, the ability to tackle and complete learning, assignments, labs, quizzes, and exams on their own time and at their own discretion can’t be beat. The same phenomenon also explains the burgeoning success and use of distance education in many college and university programs nowadays as well, where an ever-increasing segment of the student population chooses online learning over the classroom for the same reasons.
The cons of online learning relate to the lack of an instructor and a corresponding increase in dependence upon the student to show initiative, solve problems, get the work done, and do the learning on their own without strong external guidance or support to get the job done. Self-motivated individuals generally have no problems with online training; those who need more structure and more support might find online training more challenging and even less satisfactory. That’s why it’s essential to consider such support as is available to students who enroll in online classes, be it access to a mentor or instructor during schedule office hours, access to e-mail or chat-based support, participation in online forums or message boards, and the like.