The formats of e-learning implementation

E-learning is often described using the terms of usual full-time learning with “slight modifications”. The approach is quite clear: if there is an adopted pattern of interaction between teachers and students, why not expand that pattern to another form of training. However, it is more correct to approach e-learning individually, i.e. considering, but not copying the approaches to the description of face-to-face forms of training. 

E-learning is often described using the terms of usual full-time learning with “slight modifications”. The approach is quite clear: if there is an adopted pattern of interaction between teachers and students, why not expand that pattern to another form of training. However, it is more correct to approach e-learning individually, i.e. considering, but not copying the approaches to the description of face-to-face forms of training. 

Let us remember the advantages of e-learning that attract companies. They are as follows:

  • First, the reduction of training costs. Once developed, the teaching material can be studied many times by all company employees, and also can be regularly additionally amplified. In case of full-time education, a training or a lecture has to be repeated every time, if there are changes in the company or many new company employees.
  • Second, the scaling. For an e-course, it does not matter how many employees are trained. In a classroom setting, it is necessary to plan transfers, accommodation, rent of a premise and to solve other organizational issues, thus increasing the company expenses.
  • Third, geography. Technically, it also belongs to the scaling, but is worth mentioning separately: the training in several regions of the country involves not only significant costs but also takes a long time. As for e-courses, they can be assigned any time, and employees of any branch will pass them at their homes or workplaces.
  • Fourth, the development potential. The internal form of training are diverse and well developed. Trainings, workshops, "training in the workplace" are detailed formats for knowledge transfer. E-learning has not yet reached its final forms and is unlikely to do so in the coming decades. Every year new methods and technologies that drive e-learning forward appear, such as Smart Education, simulations of complex processes, interactive 3D simulators, multiplayer business games and other innovative formats. 

Let us remember the advantages of e-learning that attract companies. They are as follows:

  • First, the reduction of training costs. Once developed, the teaching material can be studied many times by all company employees, and also can be regularly additionally amplified. In case of full-time education, a training or a lecture has to be repeated every time, if there are changes in the company or many new company employees.
  • Second, the scaling. For an e-course, it does not matter how many employees are trained. In a classroom setting, it is necessary to plan transfers, accommodation, rent of a premise and to solve other organizational issues, thus increasing the company expenses.
  • Third, geography. Technically, it also belongs to the scaling, but is worth mentioning separately: the training in several regions of the country involves not only significant costs but also takes a long time. As for e-courses, they can be assigned any time, and employees of any branch will pass them at their homes or workplaces.
  • Fourth, the development potential. The internal form of training are diverse and well developed. Trainings, workshops, "training in the workplace" are detailed formats for knowledge transfer. E-learning has not yet reached its final forms and is unlikely to do so in the coming decades. Every year new methods and technologies that drive e-learning forward appear, such as Smart Education, simulations of complex processes, interactive 3D simulators, multiplayer business games and other innovative formats. 

It is better to take part in this process now and to gain experience in e-learning than to face an urgent task of implementing the format from scratch in a few years.

It is better to take part in this process now and to gain experience in e-learning than to face an urgent task of implementing the format from scratch in a few years.

Overview of e-learning introduction formats

If we consider the formats of e-learning implementation in the company from the point of view of proportions between face-to-face and distance learning, we can distinguish four main formats:

1)      E-learning only;

2)      Prevailing of e-learning with face-to-face component;

3)      Domination of face-to-face learning with support of e-learning;

4)      Equal shares of face-to-face and e-learning formats.  

Let us consider each of the formats.

Overview of e-learning introduction formats

If we consider the formats of e-learning implementation in the company from the point of view of proportions between face-to-face and distance learning, we can distinguish four main formats:

1)      E-learning only;

2)      Prevailing of e-learning with face-to-face component;

3)      Domination of face-to-face learning with support of e-learning;

4)      Equal shares of face-to-face and e-learning formats.  

Let us consider each of the formats.

E-learning only. In this case, when all the training material in the company is presented in an electronic form and full-time learning is not applied.

That form of training is common in small and medium-sized businesses that are just starting to train their staff and for which it is critical to choose only one format. To develop both directions at once is expensive and/or "it's not clear yet whether it is necessary or not".

E-learning only. In this case, when all the training material in the company is presented in an electronic form and full-time learning is not applied.

That form of training is common in small and medium-sized businesses that are just starting to train their staff and for which it is critical to choose only one format. To develop both directions at once is expensive and/or "it's not clear yet whether it is necessary or not".

Mostly  e-learning. When both forms of education are used, but the share of electronic material is significantly higher. Face-to face training is limited to individual tasks.

This e-learning format includes many varieties of combinations: "e-learning + face-to-face testing", "e-learning for junior positions + face-to-face training for senior positions", etc.

The companies that have decided to shift to e-learning, but wish to preserve best practices in face-to-face training usually shift to this format.

Mostly  e-learning. When both forms of education are used, but the share of electronic material is significantly higher. Face-to face training is limited to individual tasks.

This e-learning format includes many varieties of combinations: "e-learning + face-to-face testing", "e-learning for junior positions + face-to-face training for senior positions", etc.

The companies that have decided to shift to e-learning, but wish to preserve best practices in face-to-face training usually shift to this format.

Mostly face-to-face learning. Mainly face-to-face training with the transfer of support functions to e-learning (e.g. online testing).

This format of e-learning is interesting to the companies with very well-established face-to-face training (they have trainers, accumulated material base, experience of working with the audience). For them, the abrupt abandonment of these assets means loss of important competitive advantages.

Mostly face-to-face learning. Mainly face-to-face training with the transfer of support functions to e-learning (e.g. online testing).

This format of e-learning is interesting to the companies with very well-established face-to-face training (they have trainers, accumulated material base, experience of working with the audience). For them, the abrupt abandonment of these assets means loss of important competitive advantages.

Equal shares of all forms of training is theoretically an ideal option, because no matter how people get the knowledge, if the training works, gives good results and is not a heavy burden on the company budget, the form of training is not substantial.

That approach may have different combinations: "e-learning in the regions + full-time training in the central offices”, events of both types are included into common learning process", etc.

The development of both directions of training at the same time is not an easy task, that is why that format of e-learning can be found in large companies, which allocate sufficient funds from their budget to it.  

Equal shares of all forms of training is theoretically an ideal option, because no matter how people get the knowledge, if the training works, gives good results and is not a heavy burden on the company budget, the form of training is not substantial.

That approach may have different combinations: "e-learning in the regions + full-time training in the central offices”, events of both types are included into common learning process", etc.

The development of both directions of training at the same time is not an easy task, that is why that format of e-learning can be found in large companies, which allocate sufficient funds from their budget to it.  

Advantages and disadvantages of different methods of e-learning

To talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each method is possible only on the basis of several assumptions:

1) E-learning is cheaper than face-to-face learning;

2) In most cases, e-learning is able to fully replace face-to-face training;

3) E-learning can be easily integrated into any process of personnel training.


There are situations where these assumptions may be challenged, i.e. in case of specific disciplines, such as psychology, interpersonal relations, development of charisma or such non-standard tasks as ideological training, teambuilding etc., but in this case, we accept them. Thus:

Advantages and disadvantages of different methods of e-learning

To talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each method is possible only on the basis of several assumptions:

1) E-learning is cheaper than face-to-face learning;

2) In most cases, e-learning is able to fully replace face-to-face training;

3) E-learning can be easily integrated into any process of personnel training.


There are situations where these assumptions may be challenged, i.e. in case of specific disciplines, such as psychology, interpersonal relations, development of charisma or such non-standard tasks as ideological training, teambuilding etc., but in this case, we accept them. Thus:

  • Only e-learning is a universal "first step" in the construction of the training system of the company. It is advisable to start with it, and then, depending on the situation, decide what elements of full-time training are necessary and in what amount.
  • Mostly e-learning is a format "for reforms". This form is preferable after the needs in face-to-face training are defined and/or the system of training is reformed and best practices of full-time training are preserved.
  • Mostly face-to-face training is a highly specialized form, which is wasteful for most of the companies. There are particular cases when this model is justified, yet, it will eventually have to be reformed.
  • Equal shares of all forms of training is a target model for large companies with diverse activities and wide geographical presence. E-learning allows to train all company personnel, while face-to-face training is meant for specific disciplines or reinforcing knowledge in the high-priority regions.

  • Only e-learning is a universal "first step" in the construction of the training system of the company. It is advisable to start with it, and then, depending on the situation, decide what elements of full-time training are necessary and in what amount.
  • Mostly e-learning is a format "for reforms". This form is preferable after the needs in face-to-face training are defined and/or the system of training is reformed and best practices of full-time training are preserved.
  • Mostly face-to-face training is a highly specialized form, which is wasteful for most of the companies. There are particular cases when this model is justified, yet, it will eventually have to be reformed.
  • Equal shares of all forms of training is a target model for large companies with diverse activities and wide geographical presence. E-learning allows to train all company personnel, while face-to-face training is meant for specific disciplines or reinforcing knowledge in the high-priority regions.

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