“Nothing is better than learning one-on-one, face to face!” – Anonymous Business Owner

🐂 💩!

Here’s the deal. Online learning vs face-to-face learning is a bit like comparing apples to oranges. Online learning can be better than face-to-face learning, but face-to-face learning can be better than online learning, too. The answer to, “Is online learning as good as face-to-face learning?” is… yes and no.

If you are looking for a simple answer, I challenge you to ask a different question.

What is the best way for you to learn?

You may be the type of person who learns best by reading and then applying what you learned on a quiz or a test. OR, you may be more likely to learn if you get a chance to interact with people while you learn. OR, you may need to read and then interact.

My point is – everyone learns differently. And it also depends on the content that needs to be learned. A pilot isn’t going to learn to fly a plane merely by going through a few elearning modules. They need in-person, hands-on instruction. Though maybe there are parts of pilot training that could be addressed through online learning (such as aviation history or safety protocols)! Therefore, the comparison of which is better, online vs face-to-face learning, is not a proper comparison.

It is our job as “Creators of Training” or “Designers of Instruction” to plan the most comprehensive way for our “learners” to learn!

After all, we are designing ways to improve the KSB (knowledge, skills, behaviors).

How do you improve knowledge?

An elearning course that is available when a busy person can get to it is good.

A classroom session where the expert engineer explains how it works is good.

BUT, an elearning course and a classroom session paired together in a learning strategy is the best.

How do you improve your skills?

A master plumber showing an apprentice how to install a new supply line is good.

An elearning simulation where an apprentice gets to virtually practice installing a supply line is good.

BUT, an elearning simulation and live coaching by a master plumber is the best.

One more.

How do you improve behavior?

A clinical expert leading 10 dental hygienists through a series of practicum exercises on the latest perio tools and techniques then overseeing their practice is good.

An elearning program with awareness content and patient interaction simulations are good.

BUT, the dynamic elearning program paired with performance assessment and coaching in the office is the best.



So, the question, “Is online as good as face-to-face learning? is flawed. Online vs face-to-face learning is not even a fair comparison.

Learning is not an “as good as” process.

Learning – truly learning something – requires us to become aware of the new knowledge, and apply that knowledge to new skills, which can ultimately become new and improved behaviors.

Face-to-face interaction is not enough.

An elearning course is not enough.

Put them together, and now we are really answering the question, “Is online learning as good as face-to-face learning?”


One is as good as the other, but they both fail if you only rely on one!

Helpful Links

Free Online Learning Resources

Use This 15-step Learning Strategy To Plan Evergreen Online Training

Five Business Advantages of Online Learning

Announcing…eLearning is Now Learning. Why Should We Care?


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