Employee Training: Online Courses vs Other Methods

In this video, we compare online courses and other employee training methods.

There are lots of ways to train employees, including:
• Peer-to-peer training
• Training library
• In-house workshops
• Send away for training
• Live online training (webinars)
• Online courses

Let’s compare some of these and look at their advantages and disadvantages.

Peer to Peer Employee Training #

With peer-to-peer training, your training is done by co-workers teaching your new employees.

Benefits #

• Training is very specific to the job
• Training can be done in-house and right away

Drawbacks #

• Co-workers may not have time to train your new staff properly
• Co-workers will vary in skill – may not know better methods
• These gaps in skills are passed on to your new employees
• Co-workers are not professional trainers and may struggle to teach

Library of Training Books #

Books are often overlooked as a training method. I think every organization should have a training library of books that their employees can borrow and read.

Benefits #

• Books are very affordable
• Can be used by multiple people over time


• Only one person can read the book at a time
• People not given dedicated time to read

When building your training library, I hope you will consider my own book, “Stop Wasting Time: End Procrastination in 5 Weeks.”

In-House Workshops by Staff Trainers #

If you have a training department and staff trainers, you can run in-house workshops.

Benefits #

• Training specific to the job/organization
• No travel time or expense
• People away from their desk
• Dedicated learning time (people may put off reading a book or taking an online course)

Drawbacks #

• Need to have professional trainers on staff (costly for smaller companies)
• Staff trainers have a limited range of skills/topics they can train on
• Need to pull entire team for training or run multiple sessions
• Staff who are away will miss the session/training

Off-Site Training #

With off-site training you send your employees away for training to workshops or conferences.

Benefits #

• Staff feel valued and get a break from daily routine
• Staff are away from the office so they can be more focused on training
• Dedicated time to learn

Drawbacks #

• Outside training can be expensive
• Travel expenses can add up
• Takes time to get all staff to training if you can only send some at a time
• New staff have to find new dates to learn

Live Online Training & Webinars #

With live online training and webinars, the instructor teaches live through computers and the Internet.

Benefits #

• Students can ask questions
• Can usually access from work or home computers
• Can often use mobile devices

Drawbacks #

• Schedule may not fit everyone’s needs
• New staff have to find new dates to learn

Podcasts #

Podcasts are another under-utilized training method. Podcasts are training in audio format. This is great for learning during commutes or during exercise.

When I first started learning time management, I used to listen to audio training in my car on the way to work every day. This was a great use of the time that would otherwise be wasted. Of course, when I first started, they were on cassette tapes which shows you how old I am. Podcasts are a much better successor to cassettes for training.

Online Courses #

Online courses are courses that people can access via the Internet. They might include video, text and graphic lessons, podcasts and more.

Drawbacks #

• Might not be able to ask questions
• May be distracted by office work

Benefits #

• Can usually access from work or home computers
• Can often use mobile devices
• Can be accessed anytime 24/7 – no scheduling
• Can include up to date templates/worksheets/checklists
• Can always retake/review the course to refresh your memory
• Less expensive than live training

Create In-House Online Courses #

If you want to work with online courses, you can either use outside online courses or create your own in-house courses. Here are the plusses and minuses of creating your own in-house courses for employee training.

Benefits #

• Job training specific to your organization
• Specific to your software, processes, culture, etc.

Drawbacks #

• Time consuming to develop, create and manage the courses
• Needs in-house people with excellent training skills

Outside Online Courses #

Online courses from professionals work great for developing soft skills (time management, public speaking, sales, etc.) and also excellent for software skills (Microsoft Office, Sales Force, Google  etc.)

Recommended Employee Training Methods #

While each method has its own strengths, online courses, in my opinion, are often the best “bang for your buck” for employee training. They are simpler to learn from than books, and can be accessed 24/7 and reviewed as needed. I highly recommend you build an online training library by licensing online courses from the top professionals in the field that teaches the skills your employees need.

Success Tips for Online Courses #

Here are some success tips for implementing online courses as your primary training method.

• License a range of courses needed for success
• Give staff dedicated time for professional development and working through the courses
• Link online course progress to performance reviews and career progression – incentive them

Time Management Training for Employees #

Garland’s Time Management: Step by Step 90+ training video library online course is available for group access. Contact me for details.

Other Sources for Online Courses #

• Coursera
• Code Academy
• Alison.com
• edX

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