No matter how far along you are in your career path, you’re never too old to go back to school. Online and classroom training courses are gaining popularity among business and IT professionals.
Maybe your employer has offered to fund a training course to help you learn a new technology. Or perhaps you’re pursuing a technical certification to gain a competitive edge in your field.
Whatever your motivation for taking a new training course, you have a few methods to choose from. Most training centers and accredited organizations offer in-person and online options to cater to students with different learning styles.
In this blog, we’ll break down the benefits of classroom training vs. online training so you can decide which option fits your goals, learning style and schedule.
Classroom Learning vs. Online Learning: Flexibility
Perhaps the most significant difference between online learning vs. classroom learning is the amount of flexibility. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How much time can you dedicate to studying every day?
- Do you have a consistent daily schedule?
- Are you working a full-time job?
- Do you have a family?
Classroom learning is the best option if you have extra time in your schedule. Some training organizations offer night classes or provide courses that meet only once per week, which makes it easy for busy professionals to attend. However, these course options are often limited.
Another thing to consider when choosing classroom learning is the commute, traffic and possible parking fees. If your class is at a university, for example, chances are you’ll have to pay for a parking pass.
If you have a packed work schedule or limited free time, on-demand online learning may be your saving grace. The best part about online learning is that you can mold it to fit your daily schedule.
Most online courses follow a weekly format where you are expected to complete specific tasks and assignments before the end of the week. Other online courses come in an on-demand format that lets you set the pace entirely.
On-demand learning adapts to your schedule by allowing you to complete your work anytime, anywhere, while still having time to fulfill your other commitments.
Classroom Learning vs. Online Learning: Self-Motivation
Discipline and self-control are two important factors to think about when deciding between online vs. classroom learning. Ask yourself the following:
- Do you have the self-motivation to study and complete assignments on your own?
- Do you focus better in a classroom setting or the comfort of your own home?
Self-motivation is typically less of an issue in a classroom setting. As long as you show up to your class, you have completed the hardest part. You don't have to worry about sticking to a self-made schedule to complete your tasks for the week.
Scheduled times and dates make classroom learning very structured, and face-to-face interaction with the instructor is motivating for many people.
The flexibility of online training is a huge benefit for some. But virtual learning also requires you to be highly self-motivated. Some people struggle to stay focused when completing coursework from home.
If you are easily distracted by your surroundings, try setting aside dedicated study time every week and create a quiet and distraction-free workspace for yourself.
Classroom Learning vs. Online Learning: Social Interaction
The social aspect of online vs. classroom learning comes down to personal preference. Ask yourself:
- Do you need face-to-face interactions to stay motivated?
- Do you prefer to collaborate in a live environment or through written discussions?
- Do you thrive better in an independent work environment or surrounded by peers?
Although social interaction has been made easier through technology, those who prefer face-to-face communication will benefit from classroom learning. Classroom learning tends to offer more opportunities for group work and study sessions.
With classroom learning, you can get instant feedback from your teacher and peers instead of waiting for a response on an online forum or email thread.
The social aspect of a classroom setting can also open the door to networking and new friends in your field. Depending on which course you are taking, you may even be presented with a job opportunity.
If you can actively communicate via video chat and email, then you are a strong candidate for online learning. You have the same opportunity to meet people online as you would in a classroom; it just takes a little more effort.
One of the biggest perks of online learning is having access to pre-recorded lectures. Unlike a classroom lecture, where you may have to take vigorous notes to keep up, you can access online lectures at any time and watch them as many times as you want.
You can grasp a deeper understanding of the topic because you can reference the videos and study materials at any time.
How to Combine Classroom Learning and Online Learning
Classroom learning and online learning both offer unique benefits that fit different lifestyles and learning preferences. But what if you want the best of both worlds?
There are a few ways you can go about combining the two methods.
The first way is to find a course that meets once or twice a week in person and includes online homework or assignments to complete on the side.
Another way you can merge the two learning methods is by enrolling in multiple courses, taking some online and some in a classroom setting.
Lastly, you can enroll in one of New Horizons’ mentored learning courses.
New Horizons Learning Options
Whether you are interested in instructor-led classroom training, online training or both, New Horizons offers a wide variety of options.
Instructor-Led Training: In a classroom setting, an instructor leads students through hands-on lab demonstrations and exercises that mirror scenarios you will encounter in the real world.
On-Demand Training: Our on-demand online training allows you to develop the skills you need on your own time and at your own pace. You’ll receive the same topical, results-oriented curriculum that is used for instructor-led courses. Many on-demand courses also include 1-1 mentor support with a certified instructor.
Mentored Learning: If you want to reap the benefits of both instructor-led and on-demand training, check out our mentored learning courses. Mentored learning gives you access to flexible, self-paced course schedules and one-on-one access to a live instructor. It allows you to customize your training so you learn only what you need, without spending time on what you already know.
With more than 70 locations in North America alone, the New Horizons network spans six continents and over 35 countries.
New Horizons provides measurable return on any company's training investment. Our learning methods and extensive course selection meet the styles, demands and schedules of even the busiest professionals.
New Horizons offers certified training for the world’s largest technology providers, including Microsoft, Cisco and VMware, along with the latest courses in cybersecurity, project management, leadership and much more.
Check out our full course list today.