Small Business Technology & Advice

Online Training: Convenient? Or a Disaster Waiting to Happen?

Posted by on Jun 12, 2015

With more people turning to the Internet for online education, it’s possible to earn a degree without attending classes physically. The same is now true for most trades such as accounting, law, and even the operation of heavy machinery. This is fantastic as it saves time, money, and allows you the flexibility to learn whenever and wherever. e-learningNow, anybody who wishes to have a career as a forklift operator, for example, can get certified in their pajamas through online training. Some do not believe that this is a good idea for trades where hands-on training is clearly expected and necessary. We’ll focus on forklift training for this article but it applies to other trades as well.

Since the idea of online training for heavy machinery was introduced, a lot of people have questioned its legitimacy. Online forklift training certifications are a real thing, but the question is not whether it is legal or not, but is it as effective as real training? Sadly, the answer is no. So if your company is out to hire forklift operators, or any other type of tradesman that requires hands-on training, it’s understandable if you’re wary about anybody with an online training certificate.


Practical Experience Versus Theories

What online training programs for forklift operations do is give learners all the necessary lectures and modules needed for the job. This means an in-depth lesson on forklift parts, different types of forklifts, uses and other basic information. This is something that online and real training both offer.

However, what online training lacks is sadly the most important part of the training process: practical experience. To get a feel of what it’s like to operate a forklift, you must sit on the cabin and use the controls. Forklift navigation is something that cannot be taught through words alone and the only way to get better at it is to spend as much time as possible with the actual machine.

Another problem with Internet training courses is that there is no final exam, except for a written one. In traditional training programs, trainees go for a test run, and their employer will evaluate them according to their performance. This is how employers see first-hand the results of the training session.

With online certifications, these vital elements are missing and therefore, someone who has finished forklift training through online certification is just as good as someone who has never undergone training. True, they know all the facts related to forklift operations, but they lack practical experience.


What This Means For Your Company

If an applicant has this type of certification on their resume, it doesn’t really mean much for your company. You see, the reason why traditional training works is because most of them are customized to fit with the company’s industry. Training modules are built around what type of business you have, what forklift types are used and what the terrain looks like. An online certification doesn’t give much of an advantage over having none at all.

If your company is planning one for your employees, remember that traditional is always better. Forklifting is a job that benefits from practical experiences, rather than just theories. Beware that money spent on online training certifications is just wasted money. When your employees finish training, there will be little to no change in terms of skill level.

So if you are tempted to join the online forklift training certification bandwagon, don’t. It might be more convenient, but it sacrifices a lot for that convenience. It’s just like driving a car – if drivers can get their licenses online, would you trust one to drive a car for you? Of course most people would rather put their trust in someone who has actually driven a car as part of their driving lessons.

It’s the same with forklifts. In fact, operating a forklift requires more skill than driving a car, and a machine like that should be entrusted to one who has practical experience with the real thing.

Internet training is ideal for many industries and shouldn’t be overlooked. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages in many cases. However for some trades, such as forklift operation, online training is only good when coupled with a real-life In-person hands-on forklift trainer, and shouldn’t be relied on as the only source.