Author: 
Gary James
Publication Date
July 15, 2002

"There are several distinct advantages and disadvantages of designing, developing, and delivering web-based training [WBT]. By carefully weighing your audience and training content against this list of advantages and disadvantages, you should be able to better judge if what you have in mind is right for Web dissemination.


  1. Extendibility, Accessibility, and Suitability - Users can proceed through a training program at their own pace and at their own place. They can also access the training at any time, receiving only as much as they need...
  2. Quicker (and cheaper) turnaround of finished product.
  3. Collaborative and exploratory learning environments.
  4. Easy and affordable training delivery - ...Validate what browser(s) your audience has and what version(s)...
  5. Cross Platform - ...you can deliver your training course to any machine over the Internet or company intranet without having to develop a different course for each unique platform.
  6. Inexpensive worldwide distribution - No separate or distinct distribution mechanism is needed (i.e., distributing CD-ROMs for CBT training). WBT can be accessed from any computer anywhere in the world while at the same time keeping delivery costs down.
  7. Reduced technical support...
  8. Ease of content update - The changes you make to any of your content are immediately available to your learning audience across the world.
  9. Installation options on private networks for security or greater bandwidth. If you opt for intranet delivery, you have more control over plug-ins and bandwidth...
  10. Travel cost and time savings - Learning is delivered directly to the learner...
  11. Web browsers and Internet connections are widely available...
  12. WBT-based development is easier to learn and pick up th[a]n CBT [computer]-based development...
  13. Vast, untapped market for training...
  14. Access is controllable - You can direct and monitor who receives web training - when, how many times, and in what sequence.
  15. Billing options - You can bill - and collect on that bill - through Net distribution, billing by user ID, number of accesses, date/time of access, or any other means by which you want to assess usage.
  16. Direct access to many other training resources...


DISADVANTAGES:

  1. Limited formatting of content in current browsers - The WBT you create will not resemble the CBT you might be familiar with because of Net bandwidth constraints.So if your content relies on a lot of media "bells and whistles," or particular formatting, the Net might not be the best delivery medium.
  2. Bandwidth/browser limitations may restrict instructional methodologies -...If your content relies on a lot of video, audio, or intense graphics, and your audience isn't on a T1 line, Net delivery will only frustrate your learners.
  3. Limited bandwidth means slower performance for sound, video, and large graphics...
  4. Someone must provide web server access, control usage, and bill users (if applicable)...
  5. Time required for downloading applications...
  6. Student assessment and feedback is limited...
  7. Many, if not most, of today's web-based training programs are too static, with little if any interactivity...
  8. Cannot design and develop robust multimedia courses - The bandwidth limitations of the Net constrain what can be delivered effectively.
  9. Are computers replacing human contact? - The Net is not right for all training.
  10. Newness - ...new technologies always require time, experience, and money in order to take full advantage of its capabilities...
  11. Web-based training has high-fixed costs..."
Source: 

"Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Learning" [PDF], accessed on July 21 2010. Image credit: Wikipedia