Web-based training



Technology has changed drastically in the last few years. The introduction of the World Wide Web (WWW) has had the greatest impact on how we learn things. Business training has used technology and the development of the WWW to help get their training needs across to a wide area of people. You have access to information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No more sitting in classrooms having a teacher present your training needs. Employees sit in the comfort of their house or local internet connection to receive the training.

Traditional training is classroom based. A teacher will present the information and usually there is interaction with the teacher and students. Even traditional training has adopted some new technologies to aid in the learning process. Using overhead projectors, handouts, and now PowerPoint® or Endnote® is the norm these days. These new techniques are very affective with getting the material across.

Training now is moving towards e-learning. “E-learning refers to the use of technology to foster and support a learning event outside the physical boundaries of the classroom” (DuLuca 2002). This is the start of web-based training. Moving documentation and training resources online. Everyone from anywhere can access the information. E-learning is usually stored in databases, which makes accessing the information easy and the possibilities of tracking what was accessed. By tracking what was accessed you can modify the web-based training to focus more on the trouble areas. Web-based offers a different way to get the information to the employees.

Web-based training has many positive reasons why it should be used. Positive reasons for web-based training fall into 4 categories: ease of location, the learning capabilities, cost, and equal opportunity for all students. Ease of location makes web-based training an ideal solution for training. People can access the training resources from anywhere in the world. It is online 24 hours a day, and seven days a week. Using web-based you can reach all of your employees without having to have them come to you. You give them the training in their own geographical location at their convenience. Another reason is the learning capabilities. Individuals get to work at their own pace going through the training. The items that they have experience with they can go over more quickly, while the new or difficult things they can spend more time with. This is a plus because in a classroom environment the material is covered at the same pace for all students. Web-based gives the users more interaction with what they need to learn. The cost of web-based is a big factor to implementing the system. “Two-thirds of training costs are travel-related” (W.R. Hambrecht and Co. 2000). With not having to pay for travel expenses and hotel cost the company saves money. The cost of setting up a web-based system is also cheaper. You can recycle the material when updates come out. You can put the cost of training into other departments. Web-based training offers ”savings of up to 60 percent when compared to traditional classroom training delivery” (Hall, 2004). Web-based offers equal opportunity for all trainees. The web-based content is always constant for all students. When you have different teachers in different locations the main content will be the same but emphasis on certain things will change from class to class. ”Retention and comprehension rates improve from 25 to 60 percent when using web-based training compared to instructor-based training” (W.R. Hambrecht and Co. 2000). The reason why it is so effective is because the entire session of web-based training can be monitored and analyzed. This will help to keep improving the web-based system.

Though the web-based training system sounds really good there still are disadvantages to it. “Learning is a social process, where interaction and collaboration with the instructor and classmates supports and supplements the learning process” (DeLuca 2002). Web-based training does not give some people the satisfaction of interacting with other people. Ideas can not be discussed and helped make clear by an instructor. Other limitations include: time, learning, cost, internet materials. The web-based system is very time consuming for the designer. The material has to be presented in a way that an individual can fully understand the concept without having too many questions. This is because there is not someone there to answer any questions you have. The web-based system also relies on the individual to take the time out of their day to sit and fully go through the online material. It takes a self motivated person to do this. Some people just don’t feel comfortable being online and taking test and teaching themselves. Plus the web-based system will need to be learned by the individual. It will be like learning a new piece of software to get your training. The cost of a web-based system at first cost more. There is the cost of the web-based software, the training of current training personnel, and someone to write up all the pages for you. Another problem is internet connection. Not everyone has access to high speed internet. Web-based software using all the interactive capabilities requires the use of high-speed internet. This is not just having the users with high speed internet the company has to have enough bandwidth to host a site without having their business being slowed down.

Web-based training is being used on a limited basis right now. With technology getting better it is starting to grow in popularity. But the most common training methods being used today use both classroom environments and web-based, the best of both worlds. This way you can accommodate all types of people and styles of learning.

With recent prices for internet dropping, the creation of live video and audio chat, people are become more use to the fact of learning on an interactive web-based training environment. Weather an organization choose to go with classroom or web-based training “what makes any course good or poor is a consequence of how well it is designed, delivered and conducted, not weather the students are face-to-face or at a distance” (Moore and Kearsly 1996).



References

Moore, M. and G. Kearsly. 1996. Distance Education: A Systems View. New York: Wadsworth.

Minotti, Jennifer and Giguere, Paul. Jun 2003. The Realities of Web-Based Training. Vol. 30, Issue 11.

Urdan, T.A.; Weggen, C.C.: Corporate E-Learning: Exploring a New Frontier. Equity Research. W.R. Hambrecht and Co., San Francisco (2000)

DeLuca, Richard J. 2002. Using the Internet to Achieve Your Workplace Training Objectives. Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, Volume 17.

Jefferson, Steve. 7/24/2000. Two Approaches to Web-based Learning. InfoWorld. Vol.22, Issue 30.

Broadben, Brooke. Sep2000. Designing Web-based Training (Book Review). Training & Development. Vol. 54, Issue 9.

Hall, B.: Return on Investment in Multimedia Training. Brandon-Hall.com, Sunnyvale, CA (2004)



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