E-learning opportunities - What should you choose?

Part of settling into the ‘new normal’ involved moving a lot of our daily activities online: watching online plays and opera, attending online parties, playing online escape rooms and exploring a now great variety of skills and knowledge development opportunities. Of course, there were such learning opportunities available online before, but now their numbers and types have increased, leaving a lot of eager learners with too many similar or maybe confusing options to choose from. What’s the difference?

Let’s find the answer to this question by analysing two common e-learning opportunities, namely online learning and live training.

Defining the terms

For this blog, we will define online learning as an e-learning opportunity that can be done at a date and time chosen by the user. 

Considering live training, we will refer to any online opportunity that can be done at a fixed date and time chosen by the organiser of the training and not by the user. It is also known as ‘webinar’, but for this blog, we will use the former name. 

Time: fixed or flexible learning

As the above definitions set clearly, one of the biggest differences between the two e-learning is the time. 

If you have a busy schedule to work around, including balancing work, family and your own personal time, online learning comes in ‘handy’ because it is flexible. Some online learning can be finished in one go while others are broken into chapters, enabling you to complete them in a longer timeline - every day, week- which is entirely up to you if there is no deadline provided. 

Choosing live training means having training at a set time and date which helps you stay committed to your goal. Sometimes we can re-schedule or postpone certain plans, but having a fixed training, especially one you might have paid for, is something you want to definitely attend. This way, the live training becomes part of your schedule and you will not need to make time for it because you already did when you initially booked it.

Individual or group learning

Online learning generally involves you and your learning materials. This means you can learn at your own pace by reading the course as many times as you want or return to certain parts to review or take your time understanding certain bits. If you have any questions, you can search for your answer on forums, by contacting the training team or simply googling it hoping others had similar enquiries. 

Comparatively, live training, means you are part of a live session with a trainer speaking and sometimes other attendees. This gives you the opportunity to network with other like-minded people and exchange ideas through discussions and group exercises. In addition, if you have any questions, you can ask the trainer directly during the presentation.

Common benefits

Depending on the learning provider, live training and online learning can have common benefits too. Some of the most known ones include CPD certificates, different building services topic choices and members’ discount.

So…what should you choose?

That depends entirely up to you! If you have a busy schedule and prefer learning by yourself at your own pace, online learning might be suitable for you. However, if you prefer to have set commitments and have the possibility to ask questions in real time, live training might be better.

There is also the option to try both. This way you will get both perspectives and understand better what works best for your learning journey, what helps you improve your skills and acquire the knowledge you need. Learning itself is a learning journey!

If you are looking for a place to start your learning journey, CIBSE Training offers both live training and online learning opportunities for you. View CIBSE training to explore your learning options

For corporate learning opportunities view corporate offerings live training and online learning benefits


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