The Advantages of E-learning and Online Training
August 5, 2016
With budgets being stretched further each year, and ROI being at the forefront of most training investments, you're likely to have to fight for any sort of spend. So it pays to be prepared.
If you’re in charge of commissioning any type of organisational training, chances are your spend is scrutinised. With budgets being stretched further each year, and ROI being at the forefront of most training investments, you’re likely to have to fight for any sort of spend. Investing in e-learning gives you an advantage.
We’ve put together some of the biggest advantages of e-learning, to help bolster your business case, and secure that budget. After all, there’s plenty of benefits of e-learning, you just need to prove it.
Top 6 advantages of e-learning
1. It saves everyone time, including learners
It’s no secret that we’re all busy. My ever-growing list of unread e-mails is testament to that. So, getting learners to commit time to face-to-face training, when they can see their work piling up, is enough to make learners feel a little disengaged (or at the very least, distracted). After all, quality working time is quickly becoming a workplace commodity.
Because online training is generally shorter than classroom training (for starters, you don’t have the awkward intros, or the multitude of coffee breaks), you can deliver training that provides the same learning outcomes, without the added time investment.
With e-learning in place, organisations don’t have to spend time briefing trainers, sourcing venues and liaising with caterers. This of course has added cost benefits too, for example at Sky the reduction in manual processes and administration has already saved an estimated £25,000 per annum. This is based on 8.75 hours every day that is now available for L&D to spend their energy on more productive activities than booking classrooms or sending joining instructions.
2. E-learning costs less than classroom training
When you compare the cost of e-learning against face-to-face training, the difference is staggering. Online training’s core cost is production, an initial investment, whereas classroom training has a range of repeat costs including:
- Travel costs for trainers and learners – especially if you have a lot of home workers, this cost can add up quick
- Catering costs
- Paperwork and admin
- Trainer costs, if this is done externally
These are all costs that can easily be removed from your training budget if you adopt e-learning.
And, if you build in an authoring tool like Articulate Storyline, you can easily adapt and modify content as it changes, without having to re-print workbooks and paperwork. Keeping your CFO happy, and learners even happier. It also helps with rolling out critical messaging quickly, and ensures consistency across your training.
“BT have dramatically reduced their induction costs after working with Learning Pool, with savings of £90,000, and CBRE have realised cost savings of at least £4.5 million worldwide compared to their previous classroom approach.”
3. Online training delivers at the point of need
Think about the way your face-to-face training is delivered at the moment. Maybe you do an onboarding day with new starters at the end of each month, or perhaps you roll out new product training over a series of months, in your retail stores. The challenge here is that you are providing training that is not contextualised for the learner; it’s not relevant to them at that point in time.
E-learning on the other hand can deliver entirely at the point of need. Think about a sales person who just needs a quick product refresher before a meeting. With multi-device training they can easily use their smartphone to check, leaving them to feel more prepared. Or what about your new hires? Wouldn’t it be nice to induct them prior to their start date, giving them a glimpse into your company culture and values?
This type of just-in-time training cannot be delivered through classroom training; e-learning is capable of reaching learners in places you never thought possible.
4. Learners are already using online learning
Rather than provide learners with a perfunctory classroom training, why not tap into the way your learners are already training themselves, at home? Every day, people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.
Think about it. When you want to learn how to fix your leaky tap (or upskill in almost anything), you Google it, watch a YouTube video and voilà, that dripping tap is fixed. Your learners are doing this too; they are already learning online.
By adopting online training, you’re providing learners with an easy-to-use outlet to learn, which they are already acquainted with. Get ‘em online and watch the shift in pass rates and engagement rates.
5. E-learning caters for the ‘always-on’ learner
According to a recent study by Microsoft, humans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish, thanks to smartphones.
Your learners are becoming more connected and technically savvy. Their attention spans are short, they now expect immediate gratification and are always turned on. So where does that leave the 4 week wait for their classroom training?
E-learning provides learners with an opportunity to take control of their own learning, with a wider adoption of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and multi-device training, providing instant training access to learners when they want (or need) it shows the true potential of online training. Leaving more traditional training methods, such as classroom training, in the past.
6. It keeps learners engaged
Delivery methods of organisational classroom training have remained little changed. There’s only so much you can do in a room with a flip board and projector…
But as we mentioned earlier, learners have short attention spans, which doesn’t favour the all-day classroom training scenario. The advantage of e-learning is that you don’t have to deliver all that training at once, potentially overloading your learners.
E-learning allows you to break training down into bite-size, digestible chunks (think short 20 minute bursts, rather than 2 hour face-to-face sessions), giving your learners time to soak up the training, and come back the next day for another short session, increasing engagement with training programmes.
The bottom line
Obviously, there are some scenarios where e-learning just isn’t going to replace classroom training, and that’s where a blended approach comes into play. You may be able to digitise parts of your training, but keep some vital human touch points throughout the programme.
Ultimately, the benefits of e-learning are different for each business, but it can be an extremely beneficial tool to deliver short volumes of information to learners. It also gives organisations much greater visibility into the engagement and retention of the learning they deliver.
We’ve helped many global organisations adopt e-learning, and make positive changes to their business through online training.
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