Web-based training, often abbreviated WBT, is a general term for any kind of training that is delivered through the internet. There are many different names for web-based training, including e-learning, online learning, or internet-based training. It’s hard to define a single, all-inclusive WBT meaning because web-based training can take so many different forms. WBT’s meaning in business usually relates to training for employees, customers, partners, and other key stakeholders.
Web-based training has quite a few advantages. In particular, web-based training is often much more flexible than in-person training. WBT courses untether learning experiences from specific times and locations and enable learners to learn wherever and whenever suits them best. There are other advantages as well that we’ll explore in a moment.
There are a variety of types of web-based training. The three main categories most WBT courses fall into are synchronous web-based training, asynchronous web-based training, and blended web-based training. Each of these types of training offer different advantages and disadvantages, which we’ll examine in more detail further down in this article.
There’s a long list of potential benefits to illustrate the importance of WBT in business. Here are some of the most notable ones:
Web-based training has high-potential to be much more convenient for learners. Whether you’re using WBT to train customers, employees, gig workers, partners or any other relevant group, your learners can benefit from the ability to learn on their own terms. They can take the material at their own pace and plan their training around their individual schedules. Enabling each learner to learn in their ideal environments can greatly improve training outcomes.
Web-based training makes it easier than ever to integrate training seamlessly into your learner’s days. Instead of losing productivity while employees sit in long training meetings or losing money when you pay to send clients to seminars, you can simply deliver training materials to your learners online for them to consume at their own pace. You can even use online education software like Northpass to embed learning experiences directly into your products. Web-based training also makes it easy to recycle training content, leading to lower content creation costs.
WBT can also contribute to more effective learning environments. Every learner likes to learn a bit differently. We each have our own style of learning, whether we learn best by watching videos, reading articles, listening to someone give instructions, trying it out firsthand or maybe a combination of more than one of these styles. Traditional in-person learning environments can sometimes restrict learners to participating in a particular style of lesson that may not be most conducive to their success. WBT courses give learners the freedom to take charge of their own learning environment and tackle the content in whatever personalized manner works best for them.
It’s difficult to collect feedback about traditional training experiences. You may be limited to asking attendees to fill out and return physical surveys or relying on them to go to the organization’s website later to fill out a feedback form. Online learning software like Northpass makes it easy to embed feedback forms directly into the learning experience so you can collect feedback with ease. Even better, the best learning management systems come with advanced analytics tools you can use to track and evaluate the effectiveness of your WBT courses.
One of the best parts about web-based training is that it works across nearly every industry. No matter what an organization’s purpose is, there’s almost always reasons for employees, customers, or other groups to learn. Of course, some industries simply couldn’t get by without some forms of hands-on training. However, even for these industries, supplemental web-based training can be very beneficial. For other industries with less need for hands-on training, WBT could comprise the entirety or vast majority of training experiences across the organization.
The topic of user education in business is filled with jargon, buzzwords, and acronyms. Sometimes, it can be difficult to cut through the industry-speak and understand the core definitions and concepts themselves. Two acronyms that are commonly confused are WBT, which stands for web-based training, and CBT, which stands for computer-based training. Clearly, these two terms are very similar, which sometimes results in confusion. In truth, web-based training and computer-based training are significantly different.
Web-based training (WBT) is any kind of training that is delivered via the internet and takes place in an online environment. Web-based training is synonymous with terms like eLearning, online learning, and online training.
Computer-based training (CBT) is any kind of training that utilizes a computer. The computer may or may not be connected to the internet, and the training may or may not take place online. CBT is a somewhat outdated term that was used to refer to training delivered via CDs or floppy disks. Now that the vast majority of training that involves a computer is delivered via the internet, not a local disk, we almost always use the term web-based training (even though technically WBT happens on a computer as well).
The key difference between WBT and CBT is that WBT is always delivered to the learner via the internet and CBT can also be delivered to the learner via local means, like a disk the learner must insert.
While computer-based training and web-based training are similar in some ways, computer-based training lacks many of the advantages of web-based training, such as its flexibility and on-demand accessibility.
There are several varieties of web-based training organizations can implement.
Synchronous training is the most similar style of training to traditional in-person learning. Synchronous courses are led by instructors who teach the material to learners in real-time in a live environment. A synchronous WBT experience requires the instructor and all learners to connect to one another online at the same time, but it still allows more flexibility than a fully in-person course because all participants can join from any location.
Online tutoring is one of the most common examples of synchronous web-based training. In business, it’s more commonly applied to events like webinars or teleconferences.
Asynchronous WBT training is online learning with no live element whatsoever. Instead, the organization uploads training content (usually to a cloud-based location like a learning management system) and learners can access and complete it remotely at any time. Asynchronous training enables all the full benefits of web-based training, including increased flexibility for learners, cost savings for businesses, and a more effective learning process. With asynchronous training, learners can complete training content wherever and whenever they want. Allowing learners to engage with the content at their own pace can result in a better learning experience for each individual.
Some typical examples of asynchronous web-based training are video lessons. eLearning courses, and pre-recorded webinars.
As the name implies, blended web-based training combines some elements of synchronous training and some elements of asynchronous training. Many organizations need to be able to supply their learners with both theoretical knowledge and practical experience. A blended approach to WBT helps accomplish this by utilizing an asynchronous digital learning environment where appropriate and adding synchronous or in-person elements where necessary. User education teams can combine different training styles however they feel is appropriate for their organizations’ goals.
For example, a healthcare professional may need to demonstrate certain proficiencies in front of an instructor, which requires a synchronous or in-person environment — but they could still take advantage of the benefits of asynchronous learning for other sections of their training.
It’s important for user education teams at all kinds of organizations to understand these three online learning styles so they can determine which one best fits their needs. Some businesses may be able to rely solely on asynchronous web-based training, while others may need to opt for synchronous training or incorporate a blended strategy.
A learning management system like Northpass can enable organizations to offer all kinds of web-based training, including synchronous, asynchronous and blended learning opportunities. You can enable learners to learn wherever and whenever is convenient for them, as well as empower them to achieve better learning outcomes with a personalized, self-paced experience.
To sum up, WBT, or web-based training, is one of the most effective training methods for modern business. Web-based training can take multiple forms, including synchronous, asynchronous, and blended training. WBT has numerous advantages over traditional, in-person training — most notably, asynchronous web-based training is much more flexible than in-person training because learners can complete the material whenever and wherever is most convenient for them.
Offering web-based training to your employees, customers, partners, or other relevant parties requires the use of a few specialized tools. You’ll need to create a library of learning content to deliver to your learners. You can use a learning management system like Northpass to power an online learning academy for your users and fulfill many of your WBT needs.