Education: Online Vs. In-Person

If there is one thing that can give you the competitive edge over other leaders in the mortgage industry, it is the way you educate your employees. If you only provide the minimum education to clear your organization with regulators, you are missing out on a golden opportunity to set yourself apart. The best employees want to work for an organization that enables them to reach their greatest professional potential. Additionally, customers want to do business with professionals who know what they’re doing and have the credentials to prove it. Given your current educational offerings, is your company a place that people want to work? Is it a place that buyers feel comfortable doing business? Education can make all the difference.

But, in today’s day and age, we face an interesting question. How do we educate employees to help them reach their best potential? With the growth of the Internet and other digital technologies, virtual education is becoming more and more popular and less and less costly. So, should we educate our employees electronically instead of sending them to conventions, courses, seminars, and workshops? Can they still receive the same quality of education if they aren’t sitting in a classroom? Let’s explore the pros and cons of digital learning…

First, the obvious benefit in providing education experiences electronically is the cost savings to the organization. If employees don’t have to travel, there are less expenses incurred. Of course, you don’t have to pay for the actual travel expenses such as food, lodging, and transportation. But, more importantly you are saving the lost productivity from having your employees out of the office for however long the workshop seminar, or class takes. Lost time in our industry is as damaging, if not more damaging, than lost cash. Finding a solid virtual training program can allow your employees to get the education they need without leaving the office. Not only will providing electronic education save you time and money, but it may also make your employees happier. With virtual training, they won’t have to deal with the hustle and bustle of traveling, and there will be less distractions that keep them from focusing on the content. Online education certainly has its benefits.

On the other hand, there is a quite a bit you miss out on when not sitting in a classroom. You can’t ask questions of the instructor, and you can’t discuss the topics with other students in the classroom. Sometimes people learn best when they are surrounded by other people. Give it a try, and you’ll probably find it’s true. You are more likely to remember things when you discuss them with other people than you when you simply think about them to yourself. Providing in-person education for your employees gives them the advantage of having a potentially more powerful educational experience. While online education is certainly more efficient, in-person education may end up being more effective.

Of course, you don’t have to choose one or the other. You can provide both electronic and in-person education for your employees. My suggestion is that you try a mix of both and find the right balance that works for you. Education is the driving force of your organization. But it’s not just the material from the education that matters, it’s how it’s presented. Find the best formats that work for your organization, and success will come knocking at your door.

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