Unlike traditional classroom-based (or meeting room based) training, eLearning can happen when it is convenient for the user. Not only is this more convenient, but it can also be more productive. Sitting in a training room when your mind is on your day to day tasks you have had to leave unfinished can mean you are unproductive and less focussed on the training at hand.
eLearning offers your workforce a chance to schedule their own training at a time when they are able to pay full attention and be ready to learn. Some staff may opt to complete it all in one sitting during key working hours, whereas others might choose to complete it away from the office where they can find a space to focus on the course content away from the daily work space.
As well as giving your staff force the option to complete the training at a time and place of their choosing, eLearning also offers people the flexibility to learn in manageable chunks. Micro-learning is becoming increasingly popular as employers realise that people learn better us small chunks. Breaking down content into manageable chunks has been something we might well have done for our own school and university learning (remember GCSE Bite-size?), so why should it be any different for our professional development?
access to resources
No matter how many notes we take and take-away sheets we gather on our way out of the training room with good intentions, do we ever actually refer to them? Probably not. Compare this to watching a useful video online. Next time we find ourselves stuck on a similar problem, do we go back to this video? We probably would. The difference here is that the video is easily accessible, a quick google and it pops up again. We might even have saved the link. The video has not really changed, so all we need is to refresh our minds, and we can access it from where-ever we choose. With Google and countless mobile apps available at our fingertips, we are a lazy society. We want to be able to check the answer in an instant, from where-ever we are. Searching through notes which are in a folder or drawer in the office is just not in keeping with our fast-paced life-styles, so we probably won’t bother. eLearning courses often allow you to access resources online after course completion, helping you in the long term.
In a group training environment, it is often too easy to sit quietly and not partake in any actual learning. If the training is compulsory and the staff are not convinced it is relevant to them, they might as well not be there. With eLearning, there is nowhere to hide. It is you taking the course and no-one else. If you don’t take part in the activities, you simply won’t pass the course. The same goes for those who area sitting silently struggling to keep up with the pace of the training. We have known for decades that different people learn in different ways and at different paces. So, it makes little sense to drag everyone through the course material at the same rate when they would learn much more by working through the content at their own pace.
easier for YOU
Today’s learning management systems mean reporting and assessing people’s progress is made simple for learning and development managers. It is much easier for you to see where individuals are with their development, and even communicate with them through your LMS. Bringing some clarity to staff progress also means the return on investment is much more apparent.
There are, no doubt, classroom-based training experiences that are less expensive than some online training experiences. However, on the whole, online training is much more cost-effective. Think scalability, think repeatability and think internal content creation. Why pay for a trainer to deliver a course to 10 people in a room, when you can train 100 people online for a fraction of the cost? According to a report by Judith B. Strother (Florida Institute of Technology), Ernest and Young “reduced training costs by 35 percent while improving consistency and scalability” by using a blend of classroom-based (20%) and web-based (80%) training. With the big names leading the way, why would you not follow?
Like Ernest and Young, there will be times when you might choose to provide face to face training for your team, for a number of reasons, but eLearning should not be overlooked as a serious player in professional development. At its most basic, eLearning is a fast-growing solution which companies are using more and more. Stop being a dinosaur and start making the most of technology.