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Classroom training vs online training: the costs of the difference

Classroom training and online training each have their own benefits and downfalls, so it is important to recognise the needs of your particular organisation and your staff; decide in advance what it is that you’re looking to improve on.

Cost efficiency

Unfortunately, classroom training is renowned for its costs – and there is reason for this.

Venue hire, trainer fees, catering, travel, the cost on productivity when out of office… these costs add up.

Whilst the initial cost of setting up an online LMS and its training courses can seem large, these are mostly a ‘one-time-only’ cost – after setup, the incremental cost of training is minimal compared to the steady and unchanging cost of each classroom training session.


Classroom-based training can be a great opportunity for your employees to gather around and discuss the takeaways of the day. However, many organisations struggle to pull their employees out of the office for the day, disrupting their productivity and workflows.

Online training allows employees to fit compulsory and optional training courses into their working day, and at the point of need. Need a process clarifying? Online training allows individuals to log into the LMS when the need arises, rather than waiting until the next training session.

Behavioural change

It is undeniable that e-learning has a great reputation for its accessibility and cost-effectiveness – but how does it compare to classroom training in terms of information retention and more importantly, genuine behavioural change?

Whilst it is natural to assume that physical trainers can offer higher levels of interactivity, online training has moved on significantly since its days of ‘death by PowerPoint’!

Modern training courses should be designed specifically for the environment in which it will be used; Transport for London rolled out Europe’s largest business transformation with e-learning, and the results were outstanding – staff were upskilled without compromising efficiency or customer service.

This resulted in customer service KPIs being achieved and bettered thanks to the game-led design and accessibility of the online courses – and friendly competition between stations!

Keeping in touch

Choosing and implementing a new LMSMany organisations worry that the rise of online courses will reduce the amount of face-to-face interaction staff have with leaders of the organisation, leading to them feeling disconnected and unengaged.

Managers should promote the use of performance management; both employee and manager should proactively arrange regular face-to-face meetings in order to discuss the individual’s progress. This can be helpful when used in conjunction with online training courses; managers can help to identify problem areas and suggest follow-up courses for the individual.

Similarly, managers can use the LMS to identify key performers through the Manager Dashboard and use performance management to discuss the ambitions of the individual, to ensure that they remain challenged and satisfied in their role.

Clash of the training

Classroom training and online training needn’t clash – they can be used hand-in-hand for a holistic approach to upskilling your workforce.

Many workforces are opting to provide ad-lib classroom training for entire workforces, and online training for compulsory compliance training and personalised individual training.

How are you going to upskill your workforce?

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