E-learning or Classroom Training?

[fa icon="calendar"] February 18, 2015 / Shane Corey

Everyone agrees that training is vital in enabling your agents to achieve their full potential. But what is the best medium for delivering that training? The ideal scenario is to have high quality at a low cost - but is that possible?

Classroom training

The traditional method is Instructor Led Training (ILT) run in a classroom by a live trainer. This is the way that students have been taught for centuries so it has certainly stood the test of time. But in 2015, is it still the best way?

You always remember a great teacher, right? Much of the success of classroom training is down to the breadth and depth of the trainer’s knowledge, his or her’s ability to distill that knowledge into a form that can be transferred to the students - and to do a great job of delivering that training day in and day out. For example, for frontline soft skills training, contact centers depend on the instructor having seen good and bad practice in a wide range of environments in order to encourage agents to adopt best practice.

There’s no escaping the fact that classroom training is the most expensive training medium. There needs to be a fully-equipped classroom and an instructor. Even worse you need to take agents out of their seats for the training and consequently risk damaging service level. Of course it’s a good idea to schedule training for quiet periods, but as all contact center professionals know, the unexpected does happen - and periods that were expected to be calm turn out to be extremely busy. Often ILT ends up being repeated for small classes and that drives the cost up further.

Classroom training is the top choice when the learning needs to involve highly interactive knowledge sharing and observation. But is that always appropriate? Much of the knowledge that we want agents to acquire can be delivered in a more efficient way.


According to a recent study conducted by The Research Institute of America, e-Learning has the power to increase information retention rates by up to 60%. That means that, not only is e-Learning more cost efficient, but also it's more effective (in terms of how much knowledge is truly acquired during the learning process). There are a few reasons behind this. In today’s always-on, always-connected world of social media, it is easy to see how e-learning is in tune with the times. But there is more to it than that.

E-learning is well described as ‘self-paced’. In other words, each student can learn at his/her own speed, in short bursts and when there is spare time. The student can pause and rewind the training; and of course he/she can repeat whole sections as needed. This enables the learning to be better assimilated, it avoids training taking place too late or too soon - and it is better for the business by aligning training periods with the real time needs of the operation.

If you outsource call center e-learning from a thought leader in the industry, you are not dependent on the knowledge of a small number of individuals in your organization. Leading providers can draw in a deep pool of knowledge built up over decades in a wide range of industries.

You can have new agents go through the basics with e-learning, freeing up your instructors to do Q&A sessions and masterclasses, or present the more advanced material, interacting with students as they fine-tune and test out their new knowledge. But without a doubt, most of the basic rules of telephone etiquette and communication skills can be ‘e-learned’ and the same goes for supervision, workforce management and quality assurance.

What is the best medium for your contact center?

I believe that the right answer here starts with a question. Contact Centers nowadays are dynamic and sophisticated. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. You must ask yourself, “What are you trying to accomplish?” Classroom training is the best choice when learning needs to be tailored, highly interactive and observed with immediate feedback. E-learning is the most efficient and effective medium in all other cases. It is always accessible on-demand and it can be applied at will. As your company begins to evaluate training options, it’s important to be aware of what you are ultimately trying to accomplish and once identified, to implement the mix that addresses your needs best.

Now E-Learning costs less than you think

The cloud has commoditized e-learning. Today, a comprehensive curriculum of e-learning can be accessed online for a fraction of the cost of in-house training. Good providers will even let you evaluate the content before taking the plunge. This new affordability means that all contact centers can and should be leveraging the advantages of cloud e-learning training.

Take a look at

Topics: Blended Learning, Contact Center Training

Shane Corey

Written by Shane Corey

Shane is very active in the industry and has been a part of many contact center operations bringing 16 years of practical contact center and workforce management knowledge to injixo & TCCS. Follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.