Channel | Training

Training Options: Online vs. Onsite

Agents who rely on outside training have a number of options to choose from. Expert weights the pros and cons of instore, classroom, and online training.
By: Chad White

Training Options: Online vs. Onsite

Everything we do today seems to be driven by technology. We are even replacing simple “facetime,” and that is not referring to the app on our phones. There is clearly more information at our fingertips than ever before, knowledge at the push of a button.

However, we pay a price for this endless access to so many resources. Look at our society today, at lunch or dinner with friends or family, with peoples’ faces buried in their phones. We need to be connected to the latest and greatest and what’s happening in the world, as it is happening. Unfortunately, this causes a disconnect with those we are with in that moment.

On the other hand, the same technology can connect us with those that are not in our personal company, in another state, and even possibly another country. Online training is an excellent example. Many agents and dealers have embraced it. Many others continue to rely on in-person training. Let’s compare the strengths and weaknesses of both.

Instore and Classroom Training

One great advantage to training in the work environment is convenience. It makes it easy when the training is at the business location and you can still be productive. There really isn’t anything better than sharing a physical space with someone to help connect the training techniques they’re imparting.

You can also tackle other potential business needs while on location. The strengths of onsite training include convenience, cost, connection, and frequency. This also gives you the ability to jump in and demonstrate in a real-world situation.

One negative to this is distractions. When a customer calls or shows up, onsite training stops.

Moving training to a classroom setting offers employees the opportunity to get away from the distractions at work and focus on learning while role-playing techniques. The results can be great. Days at a facility focused only on learning new techniques and demonstrating them with others in their field can be extremely rewarding.

There are also great advantages for the energy that can be shared in a classroom setting. One thing students have in common is that it is hard to find the time to role-play and practice back at the workplace. While attending a training facility, you are able to focus and practice your ability to get better. Another benefit to having a few days to attend training is that it can help with techniques.

But true income development is ongoing, and training should never stop. The positive spike in performance following classroom training sometimes fades. This is why onsite follow up is very important and brings us full circle to onsite training.

The Online Experience

Online and video-based training continues to evolve with the introduction of new learning management systems, also known as LMS platforms. All the features LMS offers makes it a truly powerful training tool.

Video training started in the VCR era, graduated to CD-ROMs and DVDs, and has since evolved into an internet-based pursuit. Unlike onsite or classroom training, these types of systems allow for ongoing training. For many organizations, it is tied directly to the hiring process. Video training allows instant access to processes and systems in a consistent way for new employees.

Students are constantly saying that they wish they could have had the proper training when they first started. The newest LMS platforms have great data analytics that tell us how long users watched the videos and even offer quizzes to assure retention. However, there is certainly something to be said about that “facetime” we talked about earlier in this article.

So what is the verdict?

You and your dealers don’t have to choose one training method over the other. F&I professionals should attend a great school, then have someone to work with one-on-one, then find a fantastic online training company for continued development. So many companies provide these types of training to their business partners to help everyone succeed. Although we sometimes cannot measure the ROI in dollars, training always pays off.

This article was written by:

- has written 4 posts on Agent Entrepreneur.

As a national trainer, Chad White has experience in recruiting, hiring, managing and training sales and finance professionals. White has worked as general sales manager in retail automotive dealerships, in indirect lending, as national director of dealer development with CMSI “credit connection,” and as a regional finance director. He has worked with dealers all over the country helping them streamline the automotive sales and finance process and has worked with national accounts such as Sonic and AutoNation and was a Regional Finance Director for the Van Tuyl Group. White also spent time working on dealer income development and compliance at Zurich. White is a partner with Automotive Consulting Enterprises (ACE), and the cofounder of Automotive Training Concepts, the preferred training company for Missouri Auto Dealers Association. White strives to help his partners increase their bottom line while remaining compliant and assists them in finding quality people when needed. When not in the field, he is in the training facility teaching.

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