E-Learning is widely used to train employees in the public sector and in larger organizations, according to a CIPD survey carried out this year, but not so popular in small organizations.
What are the major benefits of e-Learning?
- Reduced costs – employees can access training from their desks/homes or even the beach if they want to which reduces travel costs in either sending employees to external training providers or bringing external providers into the organization. British Telecom delivered e-business training to 23,000 employees in three months, at a cost of £5.9 million, compared to £17.8 million and a five-year time span for classroom training.
- Reduced management time – rather than managers repeating the same in house training over and over again, they can simply direct new employees to the e-Learning platform
- Lower environmental impact – organizations can reduce their carbon footprint by requiring less business-related travel and also by saving paper
- More effective learning – it can be very frustrating when a trainer has to cater to more than one learning pace in a group of learners, the pace can seem too slow for some and too fast for others, but learners can work at their own pace when they have access to their own e-Learning package
How effective is e-Learning?
While it has its benefits, organizations should be aware that it can be more useful in certain areas than others. For example, it may be better for information-based training such as health and safety, data protection, technology, or induction training rather than being used to develop soft or more complex skills.
It is also still important to consider the needs of the individual, as learning styles can vary. Some employees may prefer more social learning, where they can bounce ideas off other attendees, whilst others may prefer physical learning such as on-the-job training. Therefore e-Learning is a tool to deliver a method of training and the method used will impact effectiveness.
CIPD’s 2014 survey found that while e-Learning was favored and considered more effective than external training and formal education courses it was fourth most effective after coaching by line managers, which shows that it cannot be used alone.
So why is e-Learning less popular in small businesses?
It could be the case that the costs involved in setting up or developing an e-Learning platform with which to deliver training are too prohibitive for a small business in the short term, even though it may save them money in the long run.
Is e-Learning a luxury only accessible by larger organizations? Have you found a cost-effective way of embracing the technology?