Date posted: 13/06/2022 3 min read

What to consider when choosing the right online learning format

With so many different types of online learning available, from recorded webinars and live video conferences to virtual workshops and online classrooms, choosing a suitable one can be overwhelming.

Are you looking to online learning as a way to improve your professional development or accelerate your career progression? Perhaps you're considering online education to help you gain the skills needed to obtain your next role?

Whatever your reason is for pursuing online learning, it's essential to know how to select the most suitable format that works for you. With so many different types available, from recorded webinars and online conferences to virtual workshops and online classrooms, choosing a suitable one can be overwhelming.

To start, it's important to consider your online learning style and preferences. Do you prefer the structure and interaction of live learning, or are you more comfortable with self-paced online courses? Are you looking for a more immersive experience, or would you rather just dip into some short video modules as needed?

These factors will help you select a format that best suits your needs and allows you to get the most out of online learning.

Beyond this, there are other factors to consider when selecting an online learning format. These include costs, accessibility, availability, and quality of content. It's also vital to think about how you plan to apply the knowledge or skills you develop to your career or workplace.

Let's take a closer look at these formats exploring the pros and cons of each.

Recorded learning

Pros

Recorded learning, such as webinars, are a great option if you prefer to consume information at your own pace.

These online seminars are typically recorded and made available on-demand, giving you the flexibility to watch them at a time that works for you. This format also tends to be more affordable than live learning options, making it an appealing choice for those on a budget.

Cons

One of the main drawbacks of recorded learning is that you don't have the opportunity to ask questions or interact with other learners in real time. This means if you are the type of learner that benefits from asking specific questions or you know the topic area is challenging and you might need guidance during your learning experience, this format may not be the best option for you.

Live learning (webinars and conferences)

Pros

Live learning, which includes webinars and conferences, is an excellent option if you prefer to learn in real-time. These online events typically take place in a synchronous format, meaning that all participants are logged on at the same time. Live learning means participants receive the most up to date information, plus generally a Q&A segment at the end of the session. Recordings of webinars and conferences are often available to participants, allowing for content to be reviewed on-demand.

Cons

One of the main disadvantages of live learning is that you need to be available at a designated time for participation, which may not always be possible depending on your schedule or your time zone. In addition, there can be challenges in dealing with questions or comments from other learners if the chat function is not moderated well.

eLearning

Pros

eLearning, which includes online courses and programs, is another option if you're looking for a more immersive learning experience. These courses are typically delivered in an asynchronous format, giving you the flexibility to complete them at your own pace. In addition, eLearning coursework often consists of more comprehensive and interactive content than recorded webinars or live conferences, making it a more engaging option for learners.

Cons

One of the main disadvantages of eLearning is that it can require higher levels of self-discipline as there is often less individual support.

Interactive online learning (virtual workshops)

Pros

Interactive online learning is a great option if you're looking for a more hands-on learning experience. This format typically involves real-time interaction between learners and instructors, giving you the opportunity to get feedback and ask questions in the moment. They present a unique opportunity to interact with colleagues via smaller interactive breakout sessions. Additionally, virtual workshops often provide more opportunities for feedback and engagement than recorded webinars or eLearning.

Cons

Like other forms of live learning, one of the main drawbacks of interactive online learning is that you need to be available at a designated time for participation. In addition, this type of learning may require a higher level of commitment than other formats, as you need to be prepared to participate in real-time activities and discussions.


So , which online learning format is suitable for you? The answer depends on your learning style, preferences, and needs. If you're unsure where to start, try out a few different formats and see which one works best for you.

With so many options available, there's sure to be an online learning experience that is perfect for you.

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