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Coach Training: Online Or On-Site?

written byErickson Coaching Internationalon 04/12/2014

Post-secondary learning and education has significantly changed over the last few years. Not least of all with respect to the way that learners can learn - either in a traditional classroom setting (on-site) or in an online/virtual environment. Either option means that students have greater flexibility with the classes they choose to take, when they choose to take them, and how they fit into their lifestyle so that they can be as efficient with their time as possible.  

Coach training is no different. Learners have the opportunity to choose how they train based on what suits them and their personal learning style preference. For some, there's a clear distinction and choice for attending all of their classes online or on-site. For others, a flexible delivery with a mix of both online and on-site options works best. Being able to have this choice seems to make the decision for post-secondary learning a little easier for some who may feel that their schedules make it impossible to do so without it.  

So what are the biggest differences between these two styles of training? Take a look through this quick comparison to get an idea of how either style (or both) can have you learning in the most effective manner.  

Online Learning

  • It's very easy to schedule your classes around the rest of your day when you go to school virtually, even if you have to have regularly scheduled chat room meetings with classmates
  • The flexibility of choosing when to take your classes means you can work on your own time, at your own pace
  • Being able to take on more coursework through an online environment can help you finish your course a little faster
  • There are plenty of opportunities to interact with peer learners, and your facilitators in an online environment - chat rooms, VoIP, email and instant messaging make it very easy to speak with anyone you need to, and many instructors also provide in-person office hours as well for those who prefer or require face-to-face communication
  • Often the cost of an online program is a little lower than for traditional "brick-and-mortar" delivery, and some schools offer payment plans to help break up the cost
  • Some schools may not offer all classes at a particular physical location, so the ability to attend partner schools/institutes in an online setting means you can get a well-rounded education when you want it

 On-Site Learning

  • On-site interaction is unmatched by technology. Despite the advances in communication tools in an online environment, it is often hard to recreate the complete in-person effect of learning with other students in the same physical classroom
  • There are no technological hiccups, no learning curves for those unfamiliar with the technology platform(s) used, no interruptions of service, and no problems with the picture; you can learn more from body language and non-verbal cues - elements that can be disrupted by technology
  • Relationships with other learners and/or instructors can more easily be formed in a traditional classroom setting. With more opportunities for natural conversation and interaction to occur, this isn't always possible in a chat room or Skype setting
  • There's no additional training or understanding required to learn in a "brick-and-mortar" setting to compensate for non-verbal cues because students can see, hear and experience everything in person
  • Questions and feedback given in person means it is done in real time, with no concerns for delays in checking emails or chat room boards for updates, and keeps the conversation relevant to a particular moment or topic
  • There is a better opportunity to learn from other people when in a traditional classroom setting, and the ability to retain that information is significantly improved also - people retain information much better when they have an emotional reaction to it. That's why great trainers are so highly valued because they are skilled at delivering information in a way that excites, inspires, motivates and engages their audiences

So whether you are the type of learner who prefers the human element of education, or one who is more than happy working on your own schedule at your own pace, there are many benefits to each style of learning.

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