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With the advent of advanced communicational technology and more diverse content consumption media, training and learning has become easier than ever. Practical training has experienced perhaps the greatest leap forward, first with VR, and then with Augmented Reality. The one area that has remained somewhat stable in terms of training medium change is IT training.
The time of an instructor demonstrating IT concepts and operations on a screen to a group of learners, is long gone, in favor of virtual instructors conducting training classes and training courses consisting or pre-recorded videos.
Self-paced courses and virtual instructor-led courses are by far the two most popular IT training methods today; however, to a new learner, the mediums and their potential advantages over each other, can lead to some confusion regarding which method to choose. Additionally, it can lead to internal debates within organizations regarding which method is best for employee training.
In this article, we will discuss in detail the salient features, as well as the pros and cons of each method, to finally decide which method is the best
Following are the primary features and advantages of a self-paced course.
Flexible Course Timing, Location and Pace: This form of training presents a massive advantage for individuals looking to break into the IT industry and/or organizations looking to train their employees with no timing restraints or deadlines.
Complete, All-Inclusive Courses: Self-paced courses are usually constructed to address all questions and queries that learners may have during the course. One can always go back and over the relevant part of the course.
Cheaper than Virtual Instructor-led Training: Most self-paced courses are more affordable than their instructor-led counterparts.
More Common and Accessible: Coming under the umbrella of e-learning, self-paced courses are generally more common, and accessible to the average learner. It is also the most common method of information consumption, currently.
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No Interaction between Instructors and Learners: This can be a hiccup in the way of understanding certain aspects of the course, especially if the training approach is not compatible with the learning approach.
Technological Hindrances: Since self-paced courses are pre-recorded on certain media, there might be compatibility issues in between said media and the learner’s software.
Longer Completion Times due to Zero Interaction: As there is no interaction present in this method, it usually takes longer to complete, as compared to courses where learners can ask questions to better understand learning points.
Following are the primary features and advantages of a self-paced course:
Highly Detailed Courses: This course method is always more detailed and singular, which is good for a single subject that requires very in-depth training.
Some Courses Don’t Require Exams upon Completion: The in-depth nature of this training method negates the need for exams upon completion of the course.
Industry-specific Concepts with Regular Updates: The learning points featured in such a course are usually updated alongside emerging technology and concepts.
Consistent Presence is Mandatory: The learner cannot afford to leave the training session for whatever reason, since the training continues without stoppage. This is not always convenient for all learners.
More Expensive Training Method: IT Instructors are well-versed in the field, which leads to them commanding greater compensation, which ultimately makes the course more expensive.
Lack of Course Diversity: Instructor-led courses are not as diverse in terms of the information they deliver in a single course.
Both methods have distinct pros and cons, as well as purposes.
In our experience, people prefer self-paced training for basic conceptual learning, and virtual instructor-led training for more advanced training.
Since both serve somewhat different purposes, there is no clear winner between the methods.
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