Is it cheaper to shift your workforce training online?

Whether you’re training learners across Australia – or around the world – the cost of training your workforce in inductions, compliance and health and safety can be high.

The often-debated question is: What is the best value (in time or resources) for training: eLearning or face-to-face training? Should you allocate your (often limited) budget to face-to-face training or to building (or licensing) online learning?

There can be many benefits to shifting your training online, including consistency of delivery and significant cost reductions over time. Face-to-face training generally costs less to develop, but more to deliver. Custom created eLearning is the opposite: usually a much lower cost per user but costs more to develop.

What are the benefits of transitioning from face-to-face to online training?

Investing in technology to enable training can have some big payoffs. Here’s some considerations.


You can scale and repeat learning versus the costs of sending your trainers to various locations to conduct training (this can double, and even triple the time spent if they need to travel). Modules can be updated in part when needed, so they have longevity. Learners also don’t need to pay to travel costs and give up their time.


It can lead and support business processes. Gamification can increase motivation to complete and comprehension of message. Microlearning allows training to be spread out over time rather than all at once. You can train a wider audience. Learners decrease time wasted in meetings. The ‘fear factor’ of the group workshop environment is eliminated – allowing individual focus for learners who prefer a more reflective setting. Self-assessment tools allow learners to evaluate their own skills and identify opportunities for improvement, then develop their own action plan. Depending on your needs and budget, you can go much more granular in terms of reporting. For example, you can measure interactions or conduct surveys.

Build your business case with these inputs

  • What (internal) resources you have to deliver face-to-face training and these costs;
  • The cost to reach those learners who couldn’t attend the training due to leave, sickness etc with a “mop up” session;
  • Internal resources you’d need to build the eLearning module/s;
  • Your learner’s locations. Ie are there multiple locations;
  • What is the available technology to deliver the training?
  • How often will the course need to be completed? How often will it need to be updated?
  • The number of learners who are completing the training annually;
    eLearning build costs;
  • Travel costs – for trainers and learners;
  • Cost of learners taking time out of their roles for their face to face training vs a reduced time to complete online learning;
  • Other training tools you use in offline training – for eg books, notepads, etc that you may not need in future. 

In terms of ways you can measure the effectiveness of shifting your training online, each organisation is different, but measures may include: a reduction in safety incidents over time; the lost time injury rates; an increase in number of learners trained; cost of training – time and resources; Employee/Learner Net Promoter Scores; and an increase in customer satisfaction (if the training relates to customer experience).

Custom made eLearning or off-the-shelf training?

While there’s clear benefits to custom made training, including the ability to solve a specific learning challenge, incorporate targeted content and scenarios specific to your business, you can also buy user licenses to courses, such as these seriously engaging ViaUp off-the-shelf courses. The ViaUp modules have been created in collaboration with leading subject matter experts, to ensure learning material is relevant and at the forefront of workplace trends and challenges. Topics covered include Alcohol and Other Drugs in the Workplace; Stress, Anxiousness and Anxiety; Office Ergonomics; and Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination. The ever-growing library is available within’s Premium library or via Clui – our Learning Management System.

We’ve won two Best Shift-It-Online Design LearnX Impact awards in the past two years. Along with our partners, TMR, we received a Platinum award in 2018 PrepL for transforming of the original 30-question, paper-based Queensland learner driver test into an online, engaging, and interactive learning experience called PrepL. This year, we won a Silver award with our clients, Rowland. These leaders in face-to-face communication training asked us to help them transition into online learning, enabling greater reach and cost effective delivery. We designed Step It Up to take the best of Rowland’s face-to-face training and combined it with interactivity and a bold design, for mass appeal.

We’re experts at taking your offline training materials and creating engaging, effective learning outcomes. With budgets ranging from modest to large, we’ve helped create engaging training for businesses all over Australia covering a range of topics. We’d love to help you make the best decision for your learning problems.

Aysha Cincotta

Head of Marketing