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eLearning vs Immersive Learning | Pros, Cons, & Complements

Comparing eLearning with immersive learning is an apples-to-oranges game. That’s because while each learning technology delivers different benefits, it all comes down to what your training material is best suited for. One helpful way to understand the major differences between the two modalities is to think of Disney World.

That’s right – think Disney! From the moment a person enters, they are captivated by delicious smells, sounds, and stimulating visual surroundings.The whole goal is to be immersed in an interactive experience. Now, imagine if the Disney experience was packed into a PowerPoint presentation. Kids would be less than impressed. Taking a ride in the iconic spinning teacups evokes an emotional experience as if you’ve been invited to the Mad Tea Party yourself.

So, what does this have to do with corporate training? In order to improve employee engagement, it’s important to know how each modality, immersive or eLearning, can deliver the best possible learning experiences. While immersive learning has accelerated corporate training, eLearning is far from obsolete. In fact, most modernized training programs use eLearning to reach more learners with self-paced training programs that encourage independent learning.

The strengths of eLearning and immersive learning each have their own benefits. So, how can these modalities complement each other in a comprehensive training program? Let’s explore the benefits, drawbacks, and discover how organizations can optimize their training programs when eLearning and immersive learning are combined. 

The Pros and Cons of eLearning

eLearning is a staple of corporate training. As eLearning continues to evolve, organizations are embracing the flexible and cost-effective training modality. eLearning trends are focused solely on enhancing the user experience. So, how is it currently being utilized? As seen in the 2022 Training Industry Report, 58% of large-sized companies are using rapid eLearning tools as part of their learning technology usage, with 40% of companies of all sizes using eLearning.

eLearning comes with a laundry list of benefits that organizations are using to their advantage:

Pros of eLearning 

Improved Authoring Tools

With increased use of authoring tools like Rise, instructional designers now have more choices when it comes to developing eLearning content and delivering customized learning experiences. Best for integrating reading material, the user user-friendly interface is set up like a website, making it great for device compatibility. Rise offers a variety of quality templates and interactions, allowing for an accelerated development time in about half the time it takes using authoring tools like Storyline. 

Read More: Articulate Rise 360 vs. Articulate Storyline 360: Pros, Cons, And Best Uses


Digital learning has transformed training scalability. By reaching more learners through desktop or mobile learning, eLearning’s scalability is a great benefit to organizations. As industries evolve rapidly, eLearning content can be easily updated and distributed to a large number of learners with mild disruption. This ensures that the training remains relevant and up-to-date, maintaining its effectiveness and value in real time.

Gamified Learning 

The gamification of eLearning facilitates interactive learning experiences that keep learners engaged and motivated. Gamified training courses drive engagement, securing better training outcomes by motivating learners.

Sally Beauty’s gamified eLearning training incorporated a spin-the-color wheel to help employees improve their customer service. This training program empowered store associations to practice navigating real-life situations where customers sought their expertise on hair color products.

By incorporating gamified elements like dragging and dropping hair colors and products to the correct customer allowed them to actively engage with a diverse representation of customers, better preparing them for assisting a variety of custom inquiries in real-life.The results? Sally Beauty boosted their customer care and employee confidence. 

Read more: What is Gamification? Less Than 100 Words


eLearning provides self-paced training that allows flexibility for varying learning styles and aptitudes. Learners can complete eLearning courses when it’s most convenient for them.Online platforms also give instructors and learners more flexibility to participate at different locations and times. By catering to the demands of the new hybrid learning norm – eLearning’s device compatibility has made it more accessible as time goes on.


eLearning eliminates training costs by replacing ILT budgets. Gone are the days of budgeting for travel, booking physical training spaces, and acquiring extra devices. The beauty of eLearning lies in its cost-efficiency over the long haul — a single investment in creating eLearning assets becomes a reusable treasure trove, significantly reducing the company’s overall training expenditures.

Cons of eLearning 

eLearning comes with its own unique set of challenges, most of which can be easily managed with the right experience. 

Lack of Engagement

Ever felt like you need to do a pulse check on your employee attention spans? One of the drawbacks associated with eLearning is a lack of engagement. eLearning lacks the face-to-face interaction delivered through ILT and doesn’t give learners hands-on, interactive opportunities to train. This is the main reason why eLearning is sometimes considered a passive learning modality. By implementing microlearning and gamification strategies, companies can combat this issue. 

Learner Accountability

When you have a self-paced eLearning platform, it may be difficult to motivate your learners to log in and finish their program. For many organizations, stirring up enthusiasm for annual eLearning training is an uphill battle. Cue the eye-rolling. 

Pros and Cons of Immersive Learning 

From electrical safety to other high-risk scenarios like heavy machinery operation, VR learning is the leading learning technology for safety training. VR allows learners to experience the consequences of their actions in a safe environment. The PWC’s 2022 Metaverse Survey indicates that 42% of businesses plan to incorporate VR for onboarding and training. 

Immersive technology optimizes employee performance by eliminating passive learning. By providing tactile and interactive learning, virtual reality training allows organizations to reject the status quo. VR delivers exceptional experiences when words fall short. Accelerated onboarding programs, improved safety, and reduced turnover rates are just a few of the heavy-hitting advantages that VR training delivers. 

Pros of Immersive Learning 

Improved Safety 

Immersive learning is revolutionizing safety training. By allowing learners to practice high-risk tasks in a virtual environment, employees are able to practice safety procedures safely without real-world consequences. These simulated scenarios provide a safe space for employees to make mistakes, learn from them, and build the muscle memory needed to react correctly in high-pressure situations. When they’re faced with similar situations in their actual work environment, employees are better prepared and more confident in executing safety procedures, ultimately enhancing workplace safety standards.

Read More: 9 Examples of Safety Training in VR 

Learning Engagement

One of the top benefits of implementing VR into a training program is instant learning engagement. By immersing learners and giving them interactive training programs For example: VR onboarding programs deliver memorable training experiences that enhance employee proficiency sooner. With interactive learning scenarios, new employees improve their role familiarity with realistic job previews. 

Meaningful Training Metrics

Immersive learning has many advantages, but one of the most important is the ability to measure KPIs, report, and manage recorded VR training sessions to optimize your learning strategy. With this data-driven approach, organizations can tailor training according to performance metrics and personalize their programs to address skill gaps and common mistakes, allowing organizations to accomplish two things at once: safety and job function training.

Learn More: Mercury XRS


If you’re looking to save your organization real money, it’s important to invest in immersive learning now. Proven to be less expensive than traditional training over time, immersive learning delivers consistent and reliable training to businesses of all sizes. 

While the upfront cost of VR might be intimidating, VR’s staying power drives down training costs. Whether your organization needs custom proprietary training or universal skills, VR also trains employees 4x faster, saving your organization time and money.

Cons of Immersive Learning

While virtual reality is making a lasting impact in organizations, there are drawbacks to even the most innovative learning technologies.


VR’s time constraints may interfere with accessibility. While in eLearning, you can pause and come back – pausing content in VR is abrupt and can also be disorienting to learners. This means that organizations must be intentional about what kind training content is selected for VR development.

Upfront Investment 

The entry point for organizations seeking custom VR training starts at $50k, but can cost well-over $200k. It all depends on the amount of customization. Many organizations are also weighing the benefits of incorporating immersive learning into their existing training programs with off-the-shelf VR content.

Despite these drawbacks, VR corporate training is highly effective when implemented with the right strategy to combat these challenges. By pairing immersive learning with eLearning, VR has become an even more attractive training solution for organizations. 


Now that we’ve covered all that each modality brings to the table, why not get the best of both worlds? It’s time for complements to trump comparisons. eLearning and immersive learning are two effective educational tools, each contributing unique strengths to the corporate training world. But how exactly can these two modalities work together?

A blended learning model is a great option for organizations that want to use their time and money efficiently. With an emphasis on feedback and learning reinforcement, blended learning combines traditional modalities like eLearning and instructor-led training (ILT) with digital technologies like AR and VR. 

Best Practices

Digital technologies are transforming the future of learning. The opportunity to connect your employees to the skills they need is here now! Let’s take a look at how to incorporate best practices.

The choice between VR and eLearning should be guided by the objectives of your organization’s training needs. eLearning delivers flexible and wide-ranging resources for all learners while VR training provides a new level of engagement and immersive experiences. By assigning action-based skills to VR and information-rich training to eLearning, your organization can determine the right approaches to developing meaningful training programs. 

eLearning is best suited for topics that are rich with information. Whether it’s through microlearning or gamification strategies, eLearning is a powerful tool for energizing your workforce while equipping them with the information they need. 

Immersive learning is best suited for interactive training topics that benefit from hands-on learning. By delivering experiential learning opportunities.

Organizations can utilize eLearning activities in a blended approach by reinforcing key concepts and bringing learners together with collaborative activities. By establishing strong learning objectives with SMEs, you can design engaging training programs that effectively address skill gaps. Record program completion, assess employee performance, and help your workforce hit new milestones by providing learners with essential information that can be reinforced through knowledge checks, quizzes, or interactive modules. 

Want to see for yourself? Book your immersive learning demo today!

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