Is Online or Classroom Training Better for Your RAMP Server/Sellers?

RAMP Server/Seller training in Pennsylvania is mandatory for any and all “alcohol personnel” - which the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) defines alcohol personnel as “any employee of a licensee such as a bartender, waiter whose primary responsibility includes the resale, furnishing or serving of liquor or malt or brewed beverages. It also means any employee, such as a doorperson, whose primary responsibility is to ascertain the age of individuals who are attempting to enter the licensed premises.” We also know that this doesn’t just apply to licensed establishments that serve and/or sell on or off premises, but also to distributors, wholesalers, brewers, etc. So, now that we know all of these employees need training, what’s the best way to train them? Do we stick with the old school method of sending folks to a classroom to sit in front of a trainer (or bringing a trainer into the bar/restaurant/warehouse to train)? Or do we update our strategy a little and do something easier for the employees (and managers), more efficient, and more cost effective? You be the judge - let’s take a look at some of the differences between the two.

Old School: Classroom Training
Many companies (although this number is shrinking year over year) find the old school method of “classroom” training comforting and familiar, but it has its drawbacks and looks like it will soon be outpaced by newer methods. First of all, the expense of traditional training is astronomical. According to Training Magazine’s 2019 Training Industry Report, U.S. Employers spent $23.8 BILLION on training expenditures (i.e., travel, facilities, equipment). That doesn’t even include the cost of the actual training. Not surprisingly, as all types of industries are trying to conserve, this number is DOWN from $29.6 billion in 2018. (Check out our blog “Total Cost of Training & Purchasing Power - Consolidating Your RAMP Training Decisions” for more on conserving.) It’s clear that companies are moving away from traditional training in favor of modern technologically accessible approaches.

Classroom Training Expenditures:
1. Training (trainer, class materials, test, application fees, etc.)
2. Travel (gas, mileage, airfare, rental cars, lodging, meals)
3. Scheduling (managerial duties regarding staff training)
4. Cost of Trainer and/or Test Proctor (the actual Trainer and Exam Monitor)
5. Training Venue (hotel conference rooms, office suites, etc.)
6. Equipment or materials (computers, handouts, workbooks, study aids)
7. Re-training and re-testing (means doing all the above again.)
Note: Even if your business asks employees to pay, make sure you’re suggesting the most cost-effective and convenient method available. It’s the right thing to do!

The Future: Online Training
The use of online training has seen a huge increase lately and is becoming the new normal. The 2019 Training Industry Report states “On average, organizations spent 16 percent of their budget or $445,434 (up from $235,077 last year) on learning tools and technologies.” That’s significant - almost doubling the use of technology for training! If you think about it in terms of the Food and Beverage space in particular, it makes even more sense. Our industry has a young workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the “Leisure and Hospitality” sector’s median worker age is 31. This is below the median for most other industries, which is in the 40’s. We also know that we get a lot of teenagers and twenty-somethings. These kids have grown up with technology as an integral part of life and learning. It makes sense to move training online, where most information is now consumed. According to the Pew Research Center, 95% of teens use their smartphone to get online, with one particular study showing 28% of Americans are “almost constantly going online”. Forbes Magazine also cited recent Pew research, reporting that 55% of adults get their news online, as opposed to more traditional methods (like newspapers and magazines). This combination of online information gathering, and the use of mobile devices is indicative of a powerful social trend that has been growing for the last decade and doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Online Training Advantages
1. Anytime, Anywhere - No travel, venue, equipment, or scheduling costs. No lost wages or extra child-care expenses for employees. This one is big!
2. Accessibility - Training and certificates are available 24/7 on-demand. Wherever there’s an internet connection, employees and managers can get to their training and documentation.
3. Productivity - Folks can train on break, on the train, or at home - minimal (if any) time away from work.
4. Mobile-friendly - Accessible from anyone’s phone, and now the most popular way to gather information.
5. Up-to-Date Compliance - If there’s the slightest change to PLCB rules and regs, cloud-based content is global (it updates everywhere at once), so employees are never receiving outdated, noncompliant training.
6. Recordkeeping - Track and analyze employee training, test scores and expiration dates. This is huge for PLCB rules on recordkeeping (no more boxes of paper stored in the office or basement).

Although we might think of traditional classroom training as “what we’ve always done”, it makes more sense to adapt to the generations that are (and will continue to be) comprising most of our workforce. Classroom training is getting outdated, time-consuming, and expensive. When you have an expert training provider using the latest technology delivery methods, online training is compliant, user-friendly, and cost-effective for your business, and it’s familiar and engaging for your staff. Sounds like a win-win scenario.

If you have any questions at all concerning RAMP Certification or RAMP Server/Seller Training, we’re here to make your life (and your business) worry-free. We’re currently offering a FREE 15-minute telephone consultation with our Compliance Expert, in which you can talk about anything and everything RAMP-related and get solid business advice. No Strings Attached. You can grab this opportunity just by clicking here and reserving a calendar spot, or fill out the form below to have us call you directly. Either way is fine - and it’s up to you! is the largest and most widely used online RAMP Server/Seller training provider in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with over 75,000 people trained. Our team collectively has over 25 years of regulatory compliance training experience and 95% of our users pass the RAMP course on the first attempt. We’re experts in the industry and we’re here to help you and your business succeed.

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