This post has been updated on March 4, 2020.
The business world is constantly changing, along with markets and employee dynamics. What was the norm for corporate learning and development nor farther than a decade ago is now obsolete and to some even hilarious – just imagine giving training participants a big manual with two pages of further suggested reading at the back or a CD containing the two hundred PowerPoint slide show.
E-learning is today gaining a lot of terrain in front of the classical, dusty classroom training. With organizations going global it’s very challenging to get people together at the same time in the same place.
6 advantages of online training
Although setting up an e-learning platform does require a too big initial investment, in the long run there are a lot of advantages to going digital.
No more logistics headaches
Anyone who has ever worked on organizing a classical training session knows how complicated it is. Finding the right location available on the right day, working around everyone’s schedules, often rescheduling or altering the lists of participants is no picnic in the park. Sometimes it takes weeks of invites, e-mails and phone calls just to gather enough people for the training session to be worth having.
E-learning makes all this logistic nightmare go away for good. Employees have the opportunity to log in and take the courses at their own convenience. Of course, the technology has to be installed and ready to use on their devices but luckily, with today’s modern tools, IT specialists can tend to that remotely.
Lower training costs
Any responsible company constantly assess its expenses and look for ways to optimize them. Learning and development is essential yet often finds itself the subject of scrutiny when budget cuts are on the table.
It is obvious that implementing an e-learning program has some initial costs. Expenses include purchasing the software needed to create the online courses, hiring specialists to create the content, designing the courses and enabling their delivery. Design costs and maintenance are ongoing expenses so they go beyond the initial costs.
But money is always necessary in order to make more money and e-learning has one of the biggest returns on investment. Not only does it reach a lot more employees than traditional classroom training but it does so without disrupting schedules and adding up to the real estate bills.
Immediate results and feedback
As a corporate trainer, one of the most tedious parts of the job is grading final tests. Apart from the fact that my environmental gene acted up whenever I saw how much paper they ate up, not everybody’s writing is legible and it is really hard to figure out if the answer is right, wrong or partial when you can’t actually read it.
Online quizzes are a quick, easy and painless solution to the problem both for the critters of the forest and for the trainer. Online technologies integrate these quizzes and they provide immediate and very accurate feedback, as once the learner got one of the answers wrong, they can automatically go back to the part of the course that particular piece of information was covered in.
Even in the case of classroom training, going online for testing is advisable as it is faster, more accurate and less invasive (it’s one thing to have an app point out your mistakes and another to have a person cut over something you wrote).
Better information retention
As stated at the start of this article, the business world is constantly changing and so are the generations of employees.
People’s learning preferences have always varied but these days we see a lot of leaning towards visual, interactive and brief courses. Long lectures are no longer a guarantee of large quantities of information retained. It is rather the opposite.
The shorter and more concentrated the unit, the better chances of learners actually remembering and applying it. A recent Microsoft study found that ‘heavy multi-screeners find it difficult to filter out irrelevant stimuli — they’re more easily distracted by multiple streams of media.” This is the reason why concentrated micro learning units prove to be a lot more effective and enjoyed.
Easier access to expertise
Subject matter experts are a rare commodity these days. Yet there is no better way of ensuring your course has the right substance than employing the help of such a person. Bringing one in for a lecture is great but it could also prove to be very costly and logistically difficult.
E-learning allows to involve the right SME during the course design and the available technology also makes it possible for him to actually make an appearance in a video or podcast. This way, the expert opinion can reach a much larger number of learners in a larger time span.
Furthermore, with advancements happening at astounding speeds it’s advisable to be able to update information even after the course has been uploaded. That’s not as easily attained when a paper-based manual is involved.
These are but a few reasons why e-learning is the way to go. It is the future and can bring great benefits to any organization that want to prosper.
Roxana is a learning and development professional with over 10 years experience in corporate training.