Local software programs are no longer the only option. Fifteen or twenty years ago, businesses might have had to buy a disc set for their learning platforms, install it on each office computer, and updates would need to be done manually.
This naturally took considerable time out of the workday and lead to less productivity and more frustration. Today, with the internet ever expanding, there are many online learning platforms that are “cloud-based.”
These programs are spreading in popularity because of their easy accessibility. However, some still have doubts about them. Let’s break down both the advantages and disadvantages of these online learning platforms.
#1 – Pro: Accessibility
With online, cloud-based learning platforms, your team can register and access the platform from anywhere. If they have to work from home for a day or two, they don’t have to fall behind and you don’t have to go with a short staff. If there’s a problem with the office computers, it’s no problem for your LMS.
And because it’s cloud-based, you don’t have to waste time with set-up and all updates are implemented automatically. This is one of the most appealing features of cloud-based platforms, including learning platforms.
#2 – Con: Dependency
Your online learning platform might be able to survive a computer shut down or a sick day, but if the internet connection fails, or isn’t available where you are, you won’t be able to access anything. The slow internet can also cause frustration in the office. The good news, however, is that if the internet fails you in one place, you can take a tablet or laptop to a nearby coffee shop and use that wifi hotspot to access your learning platform.
There’s also a concern, however, about the provider ceasing to run the cloud. If that ever happens, all your information is lost, though generally there’s some amount of warning to give you time for migration.
#3 – Pro: Reduced Costs
Reduced costs are perhaps the favorite aspect of cloud-based LMS systems for stakeholders. Local software programs can be costly and updates make them even costlier. Some are even free.
However, cloud-based learning platforms cost a relatively low monthly subscription that also offers you remote technical support and automatic updates at no extra cost.
#4 – Con: Data Safety Concerns
Many organizations are wary of online platforms because of a perceived lack of data security. If your information can be accessed from any device with the right login information, wouldn’t that make them more susceptible to cyber threats?
However, it’s worth noting that there are usually encryption protocols in place to reduce the chances of someone hacking into your learning platform, and you can limit user access.
#5 – Pro: Security
Wait, what? It might seem a little contradictory, but many users have found that online learning platforms actually increase their security. With local programs, there’s always a chance of losing all your data due to a crash or breakdown. And without the encryption of these cloud-based systems, hacking can actually be even easier.
With an online learning platform, all your information is stored in the cloud, so if your computer shuts down suddenly, you don’t have to worry about losing all of it. Human error can also be easily corrected by restoring earlier changes.
#6 – Con: Data Migration
Of course, one hassle with switching LMS is data migration. No matter what switch you make, data migration seems a tedious, time-consuming task that no one wants to fuss with.
However, some online learning platforms allow you to import information, making it much easier than manual entry. It’s also a good idea to only migrate the data you need to move over, in order to avoid too much headache.
#7 – Pro: User Friendliness
Often local software programs are just…outdated. They’re clunky and confusing and it takes more time to learn how to use the program than it does to actually go through the learning courses. That’s not a problem shared with online learning platforms. Online learning platforms have neat, clean interfaces and user-friendly navigation and directions.
If users are confused, there are online support services to help with their specific problem. This cuts down on much of the training for training time. The fact that everything is updated in real time as well helps training to run much more smoothly.
#8 – Con: Different Paces
Online learning platforms are a bit of an isolating form of learning, which means your team will be learning at different paces. Some may excel at this, but others may fall behind, and trying to keep track of everyone’s progress as the team leader can be a struggle.
However, some online learning platforms allow team members to offer feedback about the parts of the platform that are a struggle for them and alert team leaders to team members falling behind. They’ll even prompt you to step in and help with an email in order to keep others from falling behind.
#9 – Pro: Scalability
Because of their user-friendliness and accessibility, online learning platforms are much easier to customize to your organization’s particular needs. You can add as many users as you need, and customize the exact kind of experience necessary. As your company grows, so does your learning platform. And with automatic updates, you can keep up with all the latest functions and options.
#10 – Con: Not to Everyone’s Tastes
People have different learning styles, and that applies to train at work as well. While some will love the flexible nature of online learning platforms, others will still prefer more traditional learning methods. Unfortunately, this would be the case with any learning platforms or training that you choose. There’s no way to please everyone, so you have to just do what’s best for the organization as a whole.
So, is there risk to choosing an online learning platform? Many organizations feel that there is, and the fear of data safety, or more often change, might keep them from seeking out online-based learning platforms.
However, many businesses that switch to cloud-based systems find their productivity to be significantly increased without the hassle of upkeeping a local software program.
Users, too, find themselves happier with more convenient cloud-based systems. At the end of the day, it seems, the benefits of online learning platforms far outway the drawbacks.