Another amazing opportunity to learn together is here. I'm so excited! I'm commencing a series of lecture on the topic, Online vs Physical Training, today.
My focus is to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the two forms of training to help you make informed decision whenever you need to acquire more skills.
Online or virtual training or e-learning is a form of knowledge transfer through the internet. Online trainers teach their students through various ways namely; computer software, video tutorials, eBooks, webinars, social media platforms, etc.
Physical training, on the other hand, is a form of training whereby students are taught face to face. For a physical training to take place, the trainers and the trainees should be in the same place.
Online training has been around for a long time, covid-19 came and boosted it greatly. Some people were fast enough to grab the opportunity online training presents while others were very skeptical about it.
Let's consider the following, as we analyse these two forms of training;
Online training removes the barrier of distance. Some training centers might be quite far from you and will cost you a lot on transportation. Programming courses, for example, are not common, especially if you want experts to coach you.
Most reputable ICT training centers where qualified experts coach students are located in the cities. So, if you're not in the city, you won't have access to them. If you're in the city, it will cost you heavily on transportation, especially if the course is going to last for an extended period of time like six months, one year or more.
Even if you decide to rent an apartment close to the training center, the cost of renting and making the apartment habitable might end up costing you much more. When I was learning Java programming many years ago, I spent over hundred thousand naira (N100,000) on transportation.
Apart from the transportation cost, you're also going to experience lots of transport-related inconveniences. If you're living in Lagos, you're going to experience hell on the road. When I was learning Java, I, sometimes, return home very late in the night, very exhausted either as a result of shortage of buses going to my place or other challenges.
Then, I was living in Nnewi and going to remote part of Onitsha to learn the skill. If I was experiencing such inconveniences in Anambra State, imagine the kind of inconvenience I will experience if it was in Lagos. If you've not experienced Lagos traffic, you will not understand.
Online training solves the challenge of distance completely. The possible challenge you might experience in online training with regard to distance is internet connection issue.
If you're living in a place where there is very poor or no internet connection, you will struggle with online training, especially if the training requires you to connect to the internet any time you want to access it.
I envisaged the challenge of internet connection and made all my tutorials downloadable to solve the problem.
You might be thinking how making the tutorials downloadable can solve internet connection issue, I will tell you.
If my student is experiencing network issue, all he needs do is to move to a place where there is stable internet connection and download all the tutorials there.
One of my students happened to travel to Turkey with her boss. When she got there, she took advantage of free Wi-Fi connection there and downloaded all the tutorials.
After downloading the tutorials, you can comfortably learn offline without requiring internet connections.
You will only require internet connection when you want to call or chat me when you encounter issues.
Thankfully, calling or chatting doesn't require extremely strong internet connection.
Internet Network providers have actually done a good job in extending their coverage. So, the problem of reaching your online tutor via telephone or social media is minimal.
When it comes to acquiring skills, cost is a significant factor, especially in Africa.
Overwhelming majority are poor in Africa. As a result, they cannot afford to pay for expensive courses.
Most online training are far cheaper than physical training. You might think that online training is cheaper because the quality is low, but it is not true at all.
Most online training have even more quality than physical training, I will tell you why.
Online training makes use of videos, animation, illustrations that can easily register in your memory.
You can always refer to the videos or other interactive materials to recall all that you were taught.
In physical training, your lecturer teaches and leaves. If you missed the lecture or forget how he explained some key concepts, you might not have any video to refer to.
The handout or textbook might not explain it so well like the way he would have explained it a video.
If the course in question a computer programming, practice is key. Textbook will only give you the fundamental.
So, if you miss a programming lecture in a physical setting, you won't have anything tangible to refer to.
So, you see, physical training doesn't actually have more quality.
Back to cost; the reason why physical training is more expensive is as a result of the running cost of the training center; house rent, generator repair and maintenance, fueling, taxes, worker's salary, repair and replacement of fixed assets and more.
So, the above costs usually result to a heavy burden on the managers of physical training centers.
Let's look at this example; let's say you established a physical computer training center.
Let's see how much you're likely going to be making as your net profit each month. I will try to be as moderate as possible
Office rent = *N10,000*
Fueling (N800 daily x 24days) = N19,200
Staff Salaries (Let's say, you didn't employ a trainer; you're the one teaching but you should have a receptionist who receives at least N15,000 per month) = *N15,000*
Repair and maintenance of your fixed assets = N5,000
Transportation to and from your office (N500 daily x 24days) = N12,000
Total monthly expenses = N61,200
Let's look at your monthly income. An office in a city which goes for N10,000 per month will accommodate about ten students at a time.
Let's assume that the ten students are paying for six months web development course at N70,000 each;
10 students x N70,000 = N700,000 divided by 6 months = *N116,700*
Total monthly income = *N116,700*
Total monthly expenses = *N61,200*
Total profit = N55,500
If you decide to employ another programmer to assist you, the programmer will take nothing less than N100k per month.
If I should add the cost of setting up the training center, you will shout.
So, you see, your business will run on deficit if the cost of your courses is very affordable.
For you to gain, therefore, each student should be paying at least N150k for six months course.
That's why physical trainer centers are costly.
If you happen to get a cheap physical training center, don't be quick to pay for their training. Make necessary enquiry.
They might not have what it takes to coach you to professional level.
Online training, on the other hand removes most of these running costs from the trainer.
The running cost is, most times, below N20,000 per month
Let's do a moderate analysis.
Cost of data = N7,000
Miscellaneous expenses = N5,000
Total monthly expenses = *N12,000*
So, you see. It is far cheaper to run online training than physical training.
If online training can be so effective and still affordable, it seems illogical to spend so much money to establish a physical training center that will end up paying little or nothing.
That's one of the reasons why most physical training centers in Nigeria are either closing up or gradually moving online.
Course availability and access to experts.
One outstanding advantage of online training is unlimited access to experts and courses.
There are unlimited resources online for you to learn from. In online space, whatever you want, you get.
You can be tutored and mentored by a person quite far away from you.
If you can't get experts for a particular course in Nigeria, you can easily get them teach you from other part of the world.
You can't, however, say the same for physical training centers. In a physical training, your choices are highly limited.
In a physical setting, you will only have access to the courses that are close to you.
Take programming course, for instance. For you to emerge a professional in web development, there are lots of programming languages you're going to learn.
Some of these languages are not easily accessible in a physical setting.
If you go to a physical ICT center for training, they will introduce you to the courses they have.
If you're not well-informed, you might think that those are all the courses you need to emerge an expert.
However, when you get deep into the system, you will gradually understand that there are much more to learn.
Finding where to continue learning those other courses in a physical setting might be very challenging.
If you're within Lagos or some few big cities in Nigeria and beyond, you might have access to most of the courses you need in a physical center but the center may also not be close to you.
I've talked about the challenges of distance and transportation. You will end up spending hundreds of thousand only on transportation with its accompanying stress.
Another huge challenge in physical training is access to experts. I've proved to you that ICT expert are fast going online, considering the cost of managing physical training.
Expert trainers have seen amazing opportunities in online space and are migrating fast.
As a result, most physical training centers are surely struggling with shortage of expert trainers.
The few experts who would still agree to train people in a physical setting will charge huge sum which, of course, will be beyond the reach of most physical center owners.
Take for instance, an expert in web development will charge nothing less than N200,000 per month to teach in a physical center.
Only few physical training centers can afford to pay this much in Nigeria.
This has resulted to most physical training centers hiring inexperienced cheap trainers who cannot go beyond teaching you the fundamentals.
So, if you're paying for a physical training, you're most likely going to end up being trained by an inexperienced person.
In online training, most of the tutorial videos and other materials you will learn with were prepared by experts.
You also have the opportunity to have a highly experienced expert as your coach. This is possible because, it takes less stress to coach online.
I'm not saying that there are no good physical training centers, I'm simply emphasizing their availability and accessibility.
I will continue this article in my next post.