Are classroom safety courses always better than e-Learning?

One of the questions we receive most often is about the differences between our various classroom training and e-Learning courses. With many of the e-Learning courses providing a cheaper option than their classroom variants, people have asked us whether there’s any difference in the contents of the courses, and what added value our classroom courses provide.

We recently put together the video below to highlight the difference between our NEBOSH courses, which you can see below. However, we decided to go into a little more detail of just how the two learning styles differ, and whether classroom courses are always the best option.

The benefits of classroom courses

As you may be aware, we offer a wide variety of classroom courses from our training centre in Manston, Kent. They include everything from NEBOSH Fire, NEBOSH General and NEBOSH Construction Certificates to Periodic Driver CPC training, to food safety and face fit tester training.

Our trainers have an array of safety qualifications, and frequently teach dozens of courses. But what is it that sets our classroom courses apart from e-Learning courses?


  • They’re more engaging

We consider some of the benefits of classroom courses to be unique to SAMS – namely how engaging they are! Not all safety training providers endeavour to make their courses fun, interesting and engaging. At SAMS, this is one of our utmost priorities. If you enjoy a course, you’re likely to absorb more of the information, and perform better in your final exams. A lot of people are surprised by how much more they enjoy our courses than they enjoyed school, and this is all about getting away from that often dry and boring learning style.


  • You can ask questions

The benefit of having our excellent trainers to hand is also a big part of the appeal of a classroom course. If you’re ever stuck and require an explanation for something, you just need to put your hand up and ask. This isn’t something you can benefit from online, and you may find that answers on Google are lacking, or lead you slightly astray from what the exams will require.


  • They’re more interactive

Our classroom courses also tend to be more engaging because we can use physical, practical tools. Everything from whiteboards to leaflets to relevant safety props can help you engage better with the subject, and turn learning into a participatory experience. This is in contrast to e-Learning, which tends to be a very passive experience, albeit with some interaction involved.


  • They’re all inclusive

Unlike our e-Learning courses, the cost of taking your final exams is included in the price we provide, and we’ll arrange this for you at the end of the course. You’ll also benefit from additional resources, including booklets and a copy of our Powerpoint presentations on a memory stick.


Are there any downsides to classroom courses?

The only notable downside to classroom safety courses is convenience. After all, you will have to make it to the training centre for some courses, this may mean multiple days across a number of weeks. It’s not all bad, though – we do provide ample tea and biscuits.


The benefits of e-Learning courses

All of this might wonder why you’d ever choose an e-Learning course. Naturally we wouldn’t offer them if we didn’t think they were valuable – and they absolutely are! It’s more a case of horses for courses. Here are just a few reasons why backing e-Learning could be a winner:


  • They’re more convenient

The primary benefit of e-Learning courses is the ability to learn from home, or from a comfortable spot in your local cafe. This isn’t always just a matter of not having to leave the house – you may not be able to. E-Learning is a valuable option if you have trouble making it to a training centre due to health issues, personal commitments, or a busy schedule.


  • They’re equally valid

While people tend to learn better in a classroom environment, you’ll still be learning the same things. There are no differences in the contents of the classroom and e-Learning varieties of each course: you’ll take the same exams at the end, and get the same certificate if you pass. It may just be harder to pass based on how well you’ve absorbed all of the information.


  • They suit a lot of people

While our experience suggests that most people learn better in a classroom environment, this isn’t necessarily true for everyone. Some people may feel added pressure in a classroom environment with multiple other people, or may simply be able to concentrate perfectly well on an e-Learning course, and motivate themselves to finish it.


  • They can be cheaper than a classroom course

The realities of hosting people at our training centre and paying our brilliant trainers is that our classroom courses tend to be more expensive than the equivalent e-Learning courses. While we feel that the added value of classroom learning makes up the difference (and then some!), we understand that the lower price of e-Learning is important to many people.


  • They’re ideal for short courses

While we also offer classroom courses for things like UKATA Asbestos Awareness and CIEH Food Safety, these courses can be completed relatively quickly, with Asbestos Awareness taking as little as three hours with no examinations. As such, many people feel it is more practical to pick e-Learning for these shorter, more simple courses.


Are there any downsides to e-Learning courses?

Aside from the benefits we’ve already listed to classroom courses, motivation is perhaps the key issue for e-Learning courses. While the money you’ve paid should be ample motivation, many people are surprised at how difficult they find it to learn without the motivation of a classroom environment. As much as many of us disliked school, we find it hard to learn outside of that familiar environment, with people setting us tasks and goals.

There are also the things you’ll miss out on that come bundled with our classroom courses. These include helpful learning resources such as our leaflets, pamphlets and presentations, as well as exam bookings for the longer courses. For e-Learning courses which require written examinations, you will have to contact us to book these, or manage them yourself.

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the differences between our classroom and e-Learning safety courses. While we usually advise people to choose classroom courses, there are also a number of advantages to e-Learning, particularly when you can’t make it in for a classroom course. If you have any further questions, please get in touch – we’ll be happy to help.