The following is a capstone project completed at the end of a 100% online course. If you think online training courses are poor quality, think again. Read more in detail below.

This article is for two specific people.

1. Students that are interested in learning exactly how to design Net Zero Energy homes and want to see what other students have accomplished in this class. If you want to read more about the class or sign up, click here to read how you can learn how to design zero energy homes.

2. Professionals that are interested in utilizing online training tools to increase the quality of training, verify learning, and decreasing training costs, and want to see what other experts and associations have done.  If you’re an expert like Marc, or would like to learn how Marc created his online training course, I have a few resources for you. First, download Marc’s course syllabus to see how he outlined his course. Second, download our online education playbook. Third, sign up for our technical trainer boot camp and learn how to build your own course in 4 weeks or less.




The above home is a Net Zero Energy Home design and energy model that was completed in Marc Rosenbaum’s Net Zero Energy Home Course in NESEA’s BE Master Series.

The Myth – Online Training Courses Are Poor Quality

There’s a long time myth that online training courses are lower quality than face to face training. We have found this to be untrue, and we have the proof that we’re going to share with you.

In fact, what we’re going to show you is that in many instances that quality of online training makes possible, what is 100% impossible with traditional face to face training.

Now, I’m not saying the face-to-face training is poor quality and is not longer needed. There are specific applications when it is the best, and amazing trainers can do a great job. The purpose of this article is to show that the assumption that face-to-face training is always, hands down better than online training is incorrect.

When is online just better than face to face training?

  1. For professional training when the students are motivated and self-selecting to learn a new skill. Also, professionals tends to have less time to travel and don’t have 2 to 3 weeks to take off from work, or spend 1 to 2 nights in a class for 6 months learning a subject.
  2. Need to learn the material quickly and verify that they’ve learned it
  3. The topic is extremely technical and it requires hard skills. Topics that hands-on, by definition cannot be done online, and soft skills training where direct face-to-face role playing are also impossible.

Here’s the proof – Students Capstone Projects

Let’s review what these are, at the end of a 6 week course students submit full energy models and home designs for a net zero energy home. The instructor Marc, reviews all of of them and provides feedback if the designs or models need to be tweaked at all. The students can domonstrately show that they leave the class with a skill that they developed in the course. They want into the class not knowing how to design these homes, and they walk out of it with a fully designed home, an energy model to prove it’s net zero status and all of the tools, strategies, and knowledge they need complete this work over and over again.

1. Bakker and Lewis Architects










Now let’s get to why it’s better for the instructor and students

Why is online teaching better for the instructor?

  1. Can actually manage 50 students. Marc had to cover a lot of information in order for the students to complete their capstone projects. If the class was even a 5 day face to face train, there is no way that Marc could have managed 50 students and verified that all of them learned the concepts. The class would need to be capped at ~15 students, and it still would have been difficult to manage of them. Online learning and software makes it easier to train more professionals and verify learning by reducing the transaction cost of constant quizzing.
  2. Can identify stragglers and address their specific needs. In face to face trainings, it typical that a large minority, between 20% and 30% and not understanding any given topic. Due to the structure of class, and the social pressure of being around peers, and the amount of resources it takes to provide and grade quizzes, many students that are struggling with a concept will not let the instructor know and make sure they are learning the material. The anonymity of an online class make it very easy for the instructor to identify and help students that are struggling with concepts. 
  3. Can Verify Learning. In face to face trainings, giving out 3, 4, or even 5 quizzes to verify learning around important subjects is impossible. While the quizzes could be given out, they could not be graded effectively by the instructor in the short amount of time needed in face to face environment. This quizzing is very easy in an online course and allows the instructor to verify that students are learning the most critical information.

Why Online Courses Are Better for Students

  1. They can watch the material at their own pace. Lrge issues with face to face is that it’s extremely expensive time. The result is that a lot of information is tried to pack into a small amount of time. However, cramming a lot of material into a small amount of time actually makes it more difficult to learn the material, verify the material, and create a capstone project.
  2. Plenty of time to digest material
  3. Can ask the instructor to clarify a point 10 TIMES (if needed!) if they don’t understand a point, without fear of social rejection
  4. Still get direct access to an instructor
  5. Short quizzes, weekly homework assignments and captsone projects verify that you’re learning the material NOT drinking from a firehouse.

If you’re an expert like Marc, or would like to learn how Marc created the course, I have a few resources for you. First, download Marc’s course syllabus to see how he outlined his course. Second, download our online education playbook. Third, sign up for our technical trainer boot camp and you’ll build your own course in 4 weeks or less with our expert guidance.