Is Digital Learning As Good As Face-To-Face Learning?

With the online space taking the world by storm, many learning leaders and learners are now asking themselves this very question — can digital learning replace in-person training?


Face-to-Face is the traditional way of instruction where students and teachers attend an in-person learning session at the same time. Digital is a technology-enhanced educational strategy that makes effective use of online learning tools.


Key Differences


1. Human Connection

F2F: Can foster a dynamic trainer-learner relationship.

Digital: Enhances human connection through interactive and collaborative tools.


2. Flexibility

F2F: The pace of learning is controlled by the trainer and is usually held for hours.

Digital: More student-centered since the learner has the freedom to control the pace of learning.


3. Accessibility

F2F: Learners and the trainer have to be in the same place at the same time to start the session.

Digital: Learning can be done anywhere, anytime, on any device.


4. Content

F2F: Learning content isn’t on-demand, and primarily depends on collective group needs.

Digital: Empowers learners with easy access to whichever learning topic, resource or tool works best for their needs and goals.


5. Speed and Effectiveness

F2F: Retention rates are very low with just 8% to 10% as F2F materials are longer in form.

Digital: It takes less time to learn the same material as eLearning boosts knowledge retention by 25-60%.


6. Personalized Guidance

F2F: While F2F also provides one-on-one guidance, it’s limited to in-person sessions.

Digital: Allows for greater interaction and feedback between the trainer and learner.


7. Budget

F2F: Costs more since the budget is spent on the venue and physical learning materials.

Digital: Offers a lot of savings since overhead costs are reduced.


8. Greater Reach

F2F: Limited to physical locations and prone to inconsistencies across a global company.

Digital: Allows for centralization of learning across the company.


9. Management and Reporting

F2F: Challenging to manage since most of the administrative work has to be done manually.

Digital: A truly industrialized solution that easily allows managers to view on-demand reports, and monitor usage and progress.



Our Verdict: Learners Want Digital!


Digital learning is an opportunity to make personalized, relevant learning accessible to employees whenever and wherever they need it. More than that, developing a sustainable digital learning strategy will be a huge business benefit moving forward!


82% of organizations plan to start producing more digital learning.

5% of learning leaders think learning strategy, investment, and resourcing will go back to what they were.

0% of organizations (as of June 2020) plan to increase face-to-face in the next 12 months.


Sources: eLearning Industry, Elucidat, Fosway, Brandon Hall Group, Research Institute of America

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