Traditional face-to-face classroom learning is losing ground to online alternatives, according to the annual Learning Survey 2014 report commissioned by The Learning and Performance Institute (LPI).
The new report reveals that while classroom-based learning can provide people with reassurance and inspiration, delivering training in this manner is becoming increasingly expensive and time-consuming.
Even though the classroom is where the majority of learning and development (L&D) takes place, more effort is being made to find ways of delivering training courses that makes it easier for employees to learn by themselves, without the need for an expert to be on hand.
Due to these issues, the LPI found that online learning, self-paced e-learning and webinars were growing in popularity as such training can offer cost reductions and unrivalled flexibility for learners.
The results of the survey, which almost 400 UK-based L&D professionals took part in, were revealed by at the LPI’s Chief Learning Officer / Learning Directors Network meeting, held in London during October.
Reflecting on the last five years of the survey, LPI chairman Don Taylor said: "The explosion of powerful online technologies and the near ubiquity of internet access mean that increasingly L&D is no longer the main provider of workplace learning experiences.
“One important long term trend is clear: the reduced role of the classroom. Another – the rise of alternative approaches to L&D - will likely be felt in our surveys for the next five years at least."
It is clear training providers are beginning to see how the benefits of online courses can improve the learning experience of workers. E-learning is incredibly flexible, allowing individuals to fit it around existing commitments, unlike classroom-based courses that force people to surrender entire days for training.
The technology revolution currently gripping the world has opened new doors for those taking part in online learning, as they can now complete courses on their laptops, smartphones and tablets. This also means individuals do not need to travel anywhere to undertake training, reducing commuting costs and enabling people to finish training courses wherever they want.