This is one of the questions I most often get asked. For me, there’s no comparison!  I put this matrix together to show how and why I believe e-Learning /online training  is the modern way to train, and why we have adopted it as our strategic direction within the CommScope Infrastructure Academy.

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About the Author

James Donovan

James Donovan is Vice President of the CommScope Infrastructure Academy. James joined CommScope in 1993 and has held positions in Sales, Technical, Marketing, Training and Business Development and served most recently as VP of Digital and Creative Services for CommScope. James oversees the CommScope Infrastructure Academy, which is CommScope’s partner and customer training platform. Prior to joining the company, he held positions at GEC, ITT and Alcatel. He holds a Masters Degree in Engineering and a BSc Honors degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

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4 comments for "e-Learning or Instructor-Led Training?"
Rich Shadrin

No one is a bigger proponent that I but there are some items in the e-learning column that require a deeper dig. 1. E-learning is not always less expensive, Depending on the project, scenarios, simulations, social media, video and gaming can drive costs skyward. However, with enough learners onboard the cost per seat comes down from the stratosphere. 2. Not sure if there is a time saving for the student. If you convert ILT into e-learning you would find savings. However, the best courses (and now driven by collaborative learning through social media)require quite a bit of off-line learning as well as CBT. Therefore the aggregated time on learning is higher. That said, I believe ILT has the shelf life of milk --- and unless delivered by a charismatic evangelist will disappear from the learner on the commute home; with one caveat. If the learning is focused on job performance metrics, learners will learn no matter the medium.

David Washco

Both styles of learning/training have their value. Which is why corporations have adopted a hybrid system to maximize the full benefit of both styles in order to hold down overall-costs and maximize learning potential. While e-learning allows individuals to learn relatively at their own pace and style, you cannot under estimate the value of CBT from the aspect of Best Practices learned and role-playing. Discussing Best Practices is fully maximized in a class room setting where individuals can seek out others who are similar in learning/selling/work style and collaborate through personal experience. This cannot be effective in a e-learning system. While most cringe when they see role-playing on the agenda, during the evaluation process of learning program, it typically is remarked as being the most beneficial time spent! Take an industry, perhaps like the pharmaceutical industry, where representatives have been typically expected to know more than the physician themselves, personnel are trained within a hybrid system: e-learning is used to build a strong foundational knowledge, then CBT is leveraged to build practical experience and knowledge. So in an age of trying to adopt the newest technology at all times, we certainly need to realize the merits of how we got their and study the potential of bridging the value of both disciplines.


Hi Rich, Thanks for your insight. I wholeheartedly agree that cost and time savings need to be qualified. The cost and time savings comes more from less travel and time away from the office, rather than purely course costs. I have found that I have to constantly explain to new students that online training is not necessarily 'easier', in fact it probably takes more commitment from the student as you point out, but it is an alternate medium of delivery. I find that studetns going into online courses with the thought it is going to be easier struggle with it. The other advantage we have found with online coruses is that it has in fact increased our ILT course take up, but also it puts a 'healthy' pressure on the instructors to be that little bit more 'evangelical' (as you so aptly stated) as they know that poor ILT instruction will undoubtedly lead to students not feeling the value of the face to face interaction.


Thanks David, I certainly think that the engagement of students and interaction between peers is an area that people view ILT training is a must for. We certainly see that with some courses. The opportunity I think is taking the technologies that Rich Shadrin alluded to in his comment such as social media, telepresence etc, to create a more virtual classroom environment. It is the way the new generation of learners are used to collaborating anyway. The exciting aspect is that the classrooms will then not just end up with students from a local area or country, but can be from around the globe sharing regional and cultural experiences. I do not think we are there yet with our courses but I think the vision is clear.

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