Why Computer-based e-Learning Courses are More Effective Than DVDs

The best training programs take advantage of a blended learning format.


Written Training


instructor-led Training


On-the-Job Training


Computer Based Training


Choose format based on:

  • Effectiveness
  • Cost
  • Compliance
  • Reporting

Many companies wonder about the benefits of using DVDs vs. using e-learning computer-based training modules, or CBTs, that are delivered online through a learning management system (LMS). Both are essentially “video-based” training, but after that there are many significant differences.

For many, DVDs are the more familiar option. They’ve been around for a long time, and many companies have been using them for years or even decades. On the other hand, while many are also familiar with and use e-learning CBTs, others may not be as familiar with them. And so they may not fully understand that CBTs were developed largely as a way to overcome limitations inherent in the DVD format.

The following infographic was made to educate, conquer fears, and answer questions about making the move to computer-based training.

Modern Information Formats

It would appear that DVDs are on their way to becoming as obsolete as VHS tapes. Physical forms of information are quickly being replaced by digital equivalents, stored on computers or accessed via the Cloud.

VHS tapes, cassette tapes, vinyl LPs, and DVDs - each, at one time, the dominant media format of its day. How often do you use any of these now? Sure, you may still be using DVDs for training at work, but for how long?

When will people stop making DVD players? Truthfully, that day may be several years away. But make no mistake, the future of media is in digital formats stored on your computer or streamed from the cloud.

In 2012, Americans watched 3.4 billion movies online, and only 2.4 billion by means of DVD and Blu-Ray. [1]

Why Digital Is Better

5% in 1995
in 1995
77% in 2011
in 2011

Percentage of American Corporations Using a CBT [2]

No Scratches, Cracks, or Skips

If you have a lot of DVDs, we bet you’ve got at least one that skips or doesn’t play because it’s scratched or broken. It’s an unavoidable part of relying on a relatively fragile object to deliver data, and the cost of replacing damaged DVDs year after year begins to add up. Computer-based courses never scratch or shatter and never need to be replaced.

Easy Updates

What do you do when you need to update your training content? If your training is on a DVD, you have to buy a new one. E-learning modules, on the other hand, can be easily updated. This is handy if your training is based on a regulation that changed, if you’ve modified an SOP, or if you simply want to change your training content.

More Delivery Options

CBTs give you a lot of options. People can take their training from anywhere—in the training room as a group, at their own computers, or even at remote locations. This flexibility can help you train your workforce quickly, with fewer scheduling hassles, with less training-related costs, and without interrupting normal work flow.

More Effective Training

Most DVDs only let you play and pause, making it difficult or impossible to navigate in a non-linear manner throughout the different parts of the training.

CBTs allow your employees the ability to go at their own pace, allowing their learning styles to determine the pace of the training. With this, CBTs also open the possibility of interactive exercises to assess your learner’s understanding of the topics.

Not only that, but by “chunking” (delivering information in smaller units), employees are more likely to retain and remember the information they’ve been shown.[3] Which in turn creates higher retention overall and puts higher value on the actual money you’ve spent on your CBT training.[4]

e-Learning increases retention rates by 25-60%, by allowing the student to have control over the learning process. [5]

Coordinating Assignments, Repeated Training, Refreshers

e-Learning can help companies boost productivity by 50%. Every $1 spent in e-learning results in $30 of productivity. [6]

The date at which training is completed is often important. You may need training to be completed by a certain date, for example. And then maybe your workers will have to complete that training again every year or two.

This is difficult to manage with DVDs — all of the coordination is your responsibility. With CBTs delivered online, however, the learning management system can handle a lot of this for you. Inform workers of due dates, send notifications to workers when a due date is approaching or when training must be completed again, send reports to department managers when their workers have training to complete, and more.

Recording & Reporting

CBTs also hold an advantage over DVDs when it comes to keeping training records and providing compliance reports. DVD training sessions require manually logging the training event and storing those records in file cabinets or in a spreadsheet on your computer. Some companies have special databases where they can store training data, but recording it is in no way automatic, and it's often quite difficult to retrieve in a format useful for reporting.

With CBTs delivered online or via an LMS, these problems are minimized or removed entirely. These applications automatically create and store records of completed training. When you need to know if a worker is done with one activity or how that worker is doing in terms of completing all his or her assigned training, it’s as easy as running a quick report. The same is true if you want to know how all the members of a given department are doing on their training.

In fact, you can even have the system automatically send reports to you or other coworkers on a recurrent basis. And of course, those reports make it easy for you to present data about your training programs to regulatory agencies or other companies performing audits on your training (and that’s a relief).

Companies that use online learning technology achieve an 18% boost in employee engagement. [7]

A Strong Learning Culture

If you’re familiar with safety, you know that one of the key drivers of a safe work culture is when management clearly values safety. The same is true of training—if management clearly demonstrates to employees that training is important, employees will take training seriously, and training will be more effective. One way for management to show employees that training is important is by using the best, most effective tools, including CBTs delivered through an LMS.

Want to strengthen the learning culture at your organization? We’ve already given you many reasons above to incorporate CBTs. But hey, don’t take our word for it—check out the statistics to the right that demonstrate how having a strong learning culture will improve productivity, quality, and market share at your company.[8]

Companies with strong learning cultures experienced


greater employee productivity...

Reported a


greater ability to deliver quality products...

And were


more likely to be market share leaders