With the prevalence of cybersecurity training in today’s business world, a new approach to this vital method to control inside threats and cyber-negligence is on the rise. This approach is known as at-your-own-pace cybersecurity training.

Today, we’ll look at the advantages of at-your-own-pace cybersecurity training that your organization can benefit from. By the time you’re finished reading, you’ll be in a better position to decide whether to implement this novel style of training.

What is at-your-own-pace cybersecurity training?

At-your-own-pace training is differentiated from live online or in-person training scenarios in several ways. First, the materials are provided up front — students choose their own pace of study and only move on to the next section after they’re sure they know the current material.

Second, at-your-own-pace training usually doesn’t include a live teacher. Instead, it relies on a series of exercises and quizzes that students are expected to take themselves. For this reason, students using this method need to feel confident enough in their ability to understand the material that they won’t have to ask for a teacher’s assistance.

Third, at-your-own-pace training does not have a fixed time limit. The student can work on the material for 10 minutes one day, two hours the next, and 45 minutes the next, and take the quizzes only after they’re sure they have fully absorbed the concepts.

Advantages of at-your-own-pace training

The advantages to at-your-own-pace cybersecurity training can be grouped into two categories: organization advantages and employee advantages. This broad swath of advantages will convince even the most indecisive traditional cybersecurity training aficionados to consider switching.

Organization advantages

Cybersecurity training, despite its essential nature, can be considered an encumbrance on organizations. It takes up organization resources that could be reinvested into the organization. Below are a few of the ways that at-your-own-pace training can help to remedy this unpretty fact and potentially free up resources.

More affordable training costs

Simply put, cybersecurity training is costly for organizations. There are many considerations that organizations must make when designing a traditional, organization-paced cybersecurity training program. First, qualified instructor(s) must be hired to teach the class, and unless the organization can source this instructor from within its own ranks, hiring will amount to an extra head on the organization payroll.

Another cost is the classroom and all necessary training tools (such as PCs) to deliver this training to its employees. This can be a challenge for both small and large organizations — small organizations may not have the resources for a training room and large organizations may not have enough room to train all of their employees efficiently. If large organizations have to split up their training classes, this will increase the cost to the organization by either having to hire an instructor to teach these extra classes or by the internally-hired instructor to devote more of their day to this instruction. As you can see, the costs associated with traditional cybersecurity training can be considerable.

Another organization cost cut with at-your-own-pace training is course creation. Instead of the instructor having to create the training curriculum which further drives the cost up, there are many low-cost (and even free) courses available online. This can reduce upfront planning of the training to simply enrolling organization employees in the online course so they can take it at their own pace.

Human resources

The very nature of at-your-own-pace training is one that demands very little on the human resources end of an organization. With traditional classroom-based cybersecurity training, there needs to be a course instructor. Many organizations opt to give this responsibility to a member of their IT or information security team. This takes up time and resources that could otherwise be applied to the would-be instructor’s official job duties.

Ease of administration

Another advantage of at-your-own-pace training is how easy it is to train organization employees. Traditional cybersecurity training requires there to be a scheduled training class, generally a few times a year. The beauty of at-your-own-pace training is that you can enroll an organization employee in cybersecurity training without having fit them in to a course that may be scheduled too far in advance of their onboarding date. This gives organizations the freedom to provide cybersecurity training in a way that better fits their needs.

Employee advantages

At-your-own-pace cybersecurity training’s advantages trickle down to the employee level. While most employees do not pay much attention to the cost of training, they will appreciate the advantages this approach gives them.

Flexibility

Traditional cybersecurity training is generally conducted either during the employee’s workday (sometimes on their lunch break) or during their free time. However you slice it, this costs the employee. The employee would have to either reduce the time they have to work on their normal workday responsibilities or use some of their precious spare time to accommodate the training course.

While at-your-own-pace cybersecurity training will take some of the employee’s time, employees get the decision-making power to say when they will train. People often have busy schedules, which makes time that much more valuable. Allowing employees to schedule when they will take their cybersecurity training course will be welcomed with open arms by most employees.

Another point of flexibility this approach offers is the flexibility of where the training takes place. At-your-own-pace cybersecurity training is conducted remotely, which means that employees can take their training course anywhere that has a reliable Internet connection. This freedom of choice of where the course will be taken give this approach a convenience value that is hard to quantify but easy to appreciate.

Better retention

Student needs are better addressed with at-your-own-pace training. The most important way that student needs are better addressed is the increased learning retention associated with the at-your-own-pace approach. A recently published study in the Journal of Memory and Language demonstrated that this approach significantly improves the learning retention of the course material. Since the effectiveness of cybersecurity training directly affects the information security environment of organizations, it is imperative that learning retention is as complete as possible.

Second, not all people learn at the same pace. Allowing employees to set the time they take to learn the material will make the training more effective. Since organizations rely on cybersecurity training as one of their most important methods of teaching these skills to employees, the effectiveness of the training should be given more importance than the traditional training approach affords. After all, ineffective training is of no value to the organization.

Another benefit is that at-your-own-pace training gives students more freedom to customize the training material based upon the necessity of the information taught. Not all positions in an organization are the same and not every position has the same exposure within the cybersecurity sphere. Instead of teaching all employees the same information or painstakingly creating a training course for each different position in the organization, training courses can be easily modified to suit each individual. There’s no point in overloading employees with information that will not apply to them.

Improves learning ownership

The very nature of at-your-own-pace training is that it firmly places the onus of learning on the learner. Those partaking in this method of training need to have more internal motivation to learn the material, including an increased demand on time management, than the traditional classroom student. This leads to greater ownership of the material learned, which will lead to a better likelihood that the knowledge learned will become knowledge applied.

Conclusion

Cybersecurity training is a very necessary part of doing business today. However, not all approaches to cybersecurity training are the same. At-your-own-pace cybersecurity training gives organizations the reduced cost and employees the increased flexibility that they are looking for, even if they don’t know it yet. Consider moving your organization to the at-your-own-pace cybersecurity training method and reap the advantages that it has to offer.

 

Sources

  1. Self-paced learning through on-demand content: What are the benefits?, New Horizons
  2. Ten commandments for effective security training, CSO