When talking with our clients, we noticed that there is confusion about when to use an Instructor-led online course or an eLearning module. Clients ask what are the advantages and disadvantages of those delivery methods. 

Let’s start with the basics:

What is an Instructor-led webinar?

An Instructor-led webinar is a live broadcast, hosted with technology such as Zoom or Microsoft teams to distribute information, messages, updates and news to a wide audience. This could also involve polls, live Q&A and chats during the webinar.

What is an eLearning module?

An online lesson that can be accessed anytime, anywhere and usually covers one to three learning elements such as video, quiz and gaming. 

To help you decide which one to use, let’s look at the pros and cons of each:

Advantages of Instructor-led webinar:

  • Possibly the quickest way to deliver information.
  • Having a booked appointment means people are more likely to turn up.
  • Allows interactivity between attendees via chat, polls and live Q&A.
  • Allows interactivity with the tutor.

Disadvantages of Instructor-led webinar:

  • Technology issues. The internet bandwidth or software glitches can result in non-attendance or poor user experience.
  • Different people absorb information at different paces. In this case, learners must proceed at the pace of the instructor. Their effective learning pace might be slower.
  • Even great instructors have bad days. It is difficult to deliver the same level of training consistently across different sessions.
  • Instructor and learner availability can limit the course reaching the full target audience.

Advantages of the eLearning course:

  • Every single person receives the same learning experience. The ‘instructor’ can never have a bad day.
  • eLearning modules allow the learners to proceed at their own pace.
  • The course will always be available. When you build an eLearning course, you create a long term reusable asset for your organisation.
  • Done well, an eLearning module will look more credible and be more engaging.
  • The scale of deployment. There are no incremental costs if you deliver to 5 or 50,000 people, based in any location, 24/7.
  • Easy to translate and localise.

Disadvantages of the eLearning module:

  • A bigger upfront investment.
  • It takes time to put together good eLearning.

Final thoughts

Think about what you’re looking to deliver with your training. Is it a hot topic for your organisation? Do you think when you deliver a lesson the learners will immediately have questions? Is the content likely to change quickly? If so, a webinar might be best.

Is the content unlikely to change for a while? Is there value in it being available 24/7? Is the content just sharing knowledge rather than traditional training? Do you need to measure completion or compliance? If so, eLearning might be best.

The answer will be unique to your circumstances. Hopefully, the thoughts outlined above will help you reach it.