Q: I’ve been a bit skeptical about teaching my employees anything online; however, the costs of sending them to a training class (gas, time away, hiring someone to do the training) are making it seem like a better option. What are your thoughts on training online?
A: Training online requires a lot of self-motivation on the part of the learner. That said, I really find great value in the online learning process. As a student of an online PhD program at NorthCentral University (ncu.edu), as well as a teacher of online courses at SUNY Delhi, I find great value in what the online environment can offer, especially from a learning perspective.
As you mention, cutting travel time and other costs are benefits of these programs. More importantly, offering a consistent format where students learn at their own pace with certain deadlines built in can be extremely valuable.
One of the best workplace training programs I have seen is Apple Sales Web. It is a sales training tool that keeps all stakeholders (Apple employees, contractors, and the like) on the same page with quizzes and training that can be delivered at the learners pace. Likewise, the more the learner learns, the more “rewards” they earn in the form of points towards certification levels.
Building rewards into these programs, as well as building time into an employees schedule while at work are very important components to making this work.