The Face of Training Today: Why eLearning has become the method of choice
NOTE: This is part 3 of a 3-part series regarding best practices in training topics and options for corporate success. Part I focuses on making the business case for training. Part 2 covers the types of training and selecting the right training for the right audience. Part 3 discusses the business reasons why eLearning has emerged as the training method of choice.
ELearning solutions have been around for a while and continue to improve. With all of the features and functionality available to quickly deliver cost-effective and relevant training solutions, it is the face of today’s training and essential to businesses in just about every industry. ELearning solutions have the added benefit of high adoption rates with employees. Training programs are more engaging with multiple ways to learn within the course – videos, online chatting about the concepts being taught, and the ability to pause the program and practice the key learning objectives.
The two main objectives of any business are to increase revenue and decrease cost. A comprehensive and well-planned eLearning strategy can contribute to both objectives. Besides the cost-savings benefits — no travel costs, no lost time associated with traveling, no lost time waiting for meetings to begin and lower training production costs — there is the ability to leverage the investment in developing the programs online with reuse opportunities. These economies of scale, coupled with ease of use, high employee adoption and enhanced employee learning, are key contributors to the success of the online learning industry. ELearning makes quality training affordable for all businesses, and for smaller businesses without big training budgets, this can be a huge plus by allowing businesses to provide the best training solutions at lower cost and less disruption to the business.
Besides the benefits mentioned above, training managers report these additional advantages to eLearning:
- Reduced need for in-house training staff or external instructors and “experts”
- Repurposable and consistent learning — all training participants get the same presentation, and once online, others can access as needed
- Immediate access to the course so the learner can take the course when she or he is ready at any time or in any location, and the company can schedule employee training during slack periods in the workday
- Reduced costs for materials — the online platform includes all of the content required to successfully learn the concept without printing out presentation slides, quizzes, and other instructional materials
- Ability to use a learning management system (LMS) to customize the company’s training solutions. Where in the past LMS systems were out of the price range for many companies, this is no longer the case. LMS products allow companies to create courses quickly with a variety of tools, choose what is displayed to whom, and control access to courses as well as track participant usage, course starts, and completion rates. The flexibility of LMS tools today can be a game-changer.
For training participants, another benefit to online learning is that the training allows the participant to work at his or her own pace and test out the theories with less embarrassment if the concepts are not understood. No one likes to fail or slow the class down in front of his or her peers. ELearning allows more chances for “do-overs” while the employee learns the material at a pace comfortable for him or her.
Key eLearning statistics for 2014
The statistics for the eLearning industry for this year paint a rosy picture of the popularity of this training medium.
- According to a report released by IBM, companies who utilize eLearning have the potential to boost productivity by up to 50 percent. That means that for every $1 that company spends, it is estimated that the company receives up to $30 worth of productivity.
- The Research Institute of America reports that eLearning has the power to increase information retention rates by up to 60 percent, making eLearning more effective in knowledge retention.
- According to training company Skillsoft, 93 percent of CEOs plan to increase or maintain their training budget, and 85 percent already have a mobile training strategy, or will soon implement one.
- Consulting firm Bersin reports that companies with strong “learning cultures” are 46 percent more likely to be market leaders and innovators in their markets.
- According to training company Kineo, 84.2 percent of enterprises use eLearning today for employee training and development.
From a best practice perspective, investing in focused employee development and training programs can reap big dividends for employers, including cost savings, enhanced productivity, greater employee satisfaction, better customer service, higher retention rates and improved company image. The keys to training success include a robust assessment of training needs and targeting the right participants; determining the best training methodologies for the types of training required; and selecting the best platform(s) to optimize training results. An eLearning solution coupled with a strong learning management system (LMS) can accelerate the success of your employee training and development program.