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The idea of digital or electronic learning (eLearning) is a simple, yet powerful one. Using different forms of technology, whether it’s a computer program, smartphone app, or virtual reality (VR) simulation, eLearning is changing the way people learn and consume educational content of all kinds. And one of the areas in business where this transformation is becoming most evident is in the realm of Corporate Training.
Whether you’re experienced with using eLearning in corporate training or just beginning your journey of discovery, this article will help you better understand the basics of eLearning and why it’s becoming such a critical lynchpin in many corporate training programs.
The definition of eLearning is fairly broad, covering any kind of digital or electronic technology that provides access to educational resources outside of the traditional classroom setting. In most cases, this means some form of an online course, training, or certification. That being said, eLearning encompasses an increasingly broad cross-section of modes, methods, and delivery channels that facilitate increased access and scalability of educational and training programs.
That’s not to say that eLearning can’t take place in a physical classroom, because in many cases it does. A college professor, for instance, might live stream a lecture on the internet to students in other countries and have interactive discussions with virtual students via live video streaming. On the flip side, instructors might use eLearning technology with students inside a physical classroom to augment their learning efforts. Students conducting in-person training for a trade like welding, for instance, might wear VR goggles and simulate how they’ll perform a task to build proficiency before they attempt further training in the real world.
eLearning content is typically deployed via a Learning Management System (LMS). An LMS is a website that tracks the progress of each learner and allows administrators or managers to see their progress and scores. However, eLearning can spread across multiple platforms, either with or without an LMS. Examples include websites, mobile apps, social media-type networks, and VR headsets. Aside from whatever technology enables eLearning, the actual instruction itself can take a variety of forms. Online courses with assessments, click-through software simulations, or complex multi-user role-playing exercises are just a few ways that eLearning is conducted in today’s world.
What’s more, companies are beginning to embrace and invest more resources in eLearning for corporate employee training. According to recent data, the corporate eLearning market will exceed $200 billion by 2024, with online courses raking in upwards of $46 billion in 2019. That’s because corporations are using eLearning to standardize and conduct training over a dispersed geographic area.
Content can be translated, customized, and localized so that a person in India on their Android smartphone can learn just as effectively as someone in New York on their MacBook. Add the fact that many employees can access training content around the clock at their own convenience, and it’s easy to see why corporate training is increasingly turning towards eLearning.
The benefits of eLearning for corporate training and education go far deeper than being able to disseminate course content across multiple geographic areas, without the necessary presence of a physical teacher or instructor. Here are some of the other key areas that make eLearning such an attractive and beneficial option for many companies and corporations.
Although eLearning courses and training programs do take substantial resources to develop and implement upfront, it’s an investment that reduces long-term costs substantially, and even helps generate a return. Corporations save money on things like instructor travel and booking physical venues, and 42% of companies say that eLearning has actually increased revenue for their organizations.
The more highly trained employees are, the more efficient and productive they are in their jobs. Moreover, most eLearning courses provide employees with training resources and content that they can reference at any time in the future. In fact, organizations say that every dollar invested in eLearning results in $30 of additional productivity.
eLearning also reduces the overall time it takes to conduct corporate training. Recent data shows that eLearning reduces how much time employees spend on training by anywhere from 40 to 60 percent, as many eLearning courses and modules are self-driven and self-paced. This allows employees to breeze through the content they’ve already mastered and enable them to focus more time on the areas in which they need the most work.
eLearning in corporate training can increase employee engagement as much as 18 percent, both in the process of training and after they move on to their permanent roles. When training, employees receive immediate feedback rather than having to wait for an instructor to review an assessment. Moreover, eLearning content is designed to be highly interactive, and gamified in many cases, which serves to keep learners attention. Face-to-face training increases employee retention rates by about 8-10 percent, while eLearning increases retention rates from anywhere between 25 and 60 percent.
When designed and implemented properly, eLearning increases the amount of knowledge and skills employees actually retain post-training. Much of that is due to the multimedia nature of eLearning courses and content. Whether employees learn best by reading, watching videos, or engaging with interactive content, eLearning can present materials in multiple formats and allow learners to absorb and retain information better than traditional classroom pedagogies.
Another key benefit of eLearning in employee training is the accessibility factor. Course content and materials can be made available 24/7, giving learners the opportunity to work through training in settings where they feel most comfortable and focused. Instructors and management can also readily access progress and results via their LMS, giving them better visibility into the training process. A learning tool that’s available at all times, without the need for staff and instructors, is another huge cost-saving benefit.
eLearning allows organizations to share one cohesive message with their entire workforce. Instructors in classroom settings are known to follow their own agendas, which means learners may not hear all the content they need. And, employees often add their own personal bias when they mentor new hires or colleagues. As a result, they may not teach others how to follow corporate policies as they are intended. eLearning audiences all receive the exact same message. This ensures consistency of performance throughout the organization.
One major advantage of eLearning is that all virtual classroom participants, activities, and results can be tracked, visualized, and analyzed by instructors, managers, and executives. Aside from gaining visibility into learners’ progress, companies can more easily quantify the ROI of their eLearning investment. When conducting eLearning, it’s fairly straightforward to pull data you need from the LMS for tracking and analytics purposes. Metrics like course completion rates, forum engagement, assessment grades, and meantime for course completion can all be gathered and analyzed to gain better insights into both course and learner performance.
At the end of the day, research has shown eLearning participants learn over five times as much in a given time period than those who spend the same amount of time in-classroom training. The benefits above are just scratching the surface of how eLearning is changing the game for corporate training.
If you are interested in learning more about eLearning and how these benefits can help your company, download our white paper or Online Learning Case Study Highlights Brochure today. If you are ready to talk with someone about your eLearning needs, feel free to book a call with our team!