Since the inception of e-learning in the 1990s, many have sought the answer to the following question: “Which is better – online learning, or learning with a live instructor?” A quick Google Scholar search of this inquiry derives approximately 1,950,000 results, so it’s clear this topic has been studied in-depth by many the progressive educator. It’s also clear that there’s no right or wrong answer here – rather, it’s quite a mixed bag of claims. Let’s dive a little deeper.
The Pros & Cons of Online Learning
Chances are at some point in your life, whether for school or work, you’ve been exposed to some sort of e-learning. Perhaps it was a video module with interactive video content, followed by quizzes, pushed by your high-school teacher or college professor. Or maybe your HR department asked you to complete a series of code-of-conduct trainings when you first started your job. At any rate, online courses are nothing new.
E-learning brings several benefits that the traditional classroom environment may not, or cannot, offer. Online learning tends to be more flexible, cost-effective, and self-disciplined than what you might receive from an in-person course. Additionally, e-learning tends to offer wider breadth and depth of topics than traditional learning, and is frequently leveraged by busy professionals who may not have the time to attend class in a physical location. However, this learning style is not without its flaws.
Online learning can be a great tool for some topics, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all method of teaching. Some disadvantages of e-learning include a lack of employee engagement/attention, removal of face-to-face interaction and input, and a decreased content retention rate. With a video playing on your desktop computer, you also have access to a variety of other applications (the internet!) that may result in multi-tasking and distraction during the training. The inability to raise your hand an ask questions if the content becomes confusing is also a major drawback of this style of learning. How will you effectively train if you don’t fully understand what’s being taught?
Clearly, online learning has its unique pros and cons, but here at Envision, we have a strong opinion about it. We believe the first and primary touchpoint for cybersecurity training should be a professional, live trainer, while e-learning should be used for follow-up and reinforcement purposes. Here’s why.
Cybersecurity Training Requires Live Instruction
While we live in a day and age where launching an online training module is as easy as the click of a button, there’s no replacement for a live person standing in front of you teaching valuable content. This type of training is not only more personable and discourages distractions like your phone and computer, but it also opens up a two-way dialogue between the instructor and students.
Cybersecurity isn’t an elementary concept. While our live trainers always try to make the content as relatable and easy-to-understand as possible, in all likelihood, there will be questions – and that’s ok! In fact, the more questions, the better. That’s why we so firmly believe that when it comes to training on this topic, live, personal responses are the best way to ensure that your employees are not only understanding the content the first time around, but are also leveraging that knowledge upon experiencing a phishing email or other cyber threat.
That being said, we don’t want to discount the usefulness of e-learning. In the case of cybersecurity training, online learning tools such as refresher videos, modules, and quizzes can be incredibly helpful for employees to quickly and easily brush up on topics they may have forgotten over time. E-learning can also be valuable for testing knowledge retention and suggesting additional resources for an employee who fails to display confidence and/or awareness in a particular subject area.
What Does Training with Envision Look Like?
Our live trainings are customized to each and every client that we consult with. Before we come in for our training sessions, our security engineers will establish an initial baseline for your security posture through simulated phishing attacks and social engineering. Next, we’ll meet with your management and security team to determine what your concerns and goals are. From there, we’ll develop a training plan developed to your organization’s specific needs.
We know cybersecurity can be a complex topic to swallow, so we focus on making the content of our trainings consumable by even the least technical of your employees. Finally, after the initial trainings, we will continue to test your employees on the knowledge they learned using automated, simulated phishing attacks. Based on the results of these tests, additional training and education can be scheduled on an as-needed basis – this is where e-learning may shine as an ideal opportunity for your organization.
Ready to Get Started?
Our Employee Security Posture Training is customized to your unique organizational needs. To learn more or speak with one of our team members about how you can help improve your company’s security, contact us today at (401) 272-6688.
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