I guess it was a recent start-up, because she said:
“If I could just get enough staff trained up, we could really start to grow... but the cost of classroom training courses is ridiculous!”
Busy with my own reading, and enjoying my coffee, I listened to how their discussion played out. And I was shocked that this reasonably eloquent business owner didn’t once mention e-learning.
Did she know about e-learning? Did she have something against it? Was there some technical reason she couldn’t use it?
In my head, I started thinking of all the reasons she should give e-learning a whirl. And I was really tempted to butt into her conversation and help her out.
But then the woman and her friend left Starbucks. And I was left with my laundry list of the advantages of e-learning, spared the embarrassment of being that busybody who gives unsolicited advice in coffee shops.
So I wrote this article instead!
If you have a limited training budget, or you’re exploring your training options, this is for you. Here are 12 big advantages of e-learning.
1. Courses cost less than classroom learningThis was my Starbucks friend’s problem. An afternoon of classroom training can easily cost thousands, even for a small team. That’s prohibitive for lots of companies.
E-learning courses cost much less, opening doors for companies big and small.
But that’s not the only way e-learning can save you money!
2. It can save you on travel and venue hireYep, the trainer and materials aren’t the only cost of traditional classroom learning. You need to provide a venue and get there, too. And that costs money.
E-learning courses, on the other hand, can be taken in the workplace, at home, or even on the bus if you have an Internet-connected tablet. So, there’s another saving for you.
3. It’s much more flexibleSpeaking of training on the bus, that’s another great advantage of e-learning: you can do it anywhere and anytime. And you can split it across many digestible sessions – you don’t have to do a full course in one long sitting.
This means you can fit it into your business’s schedule, instead of having to fit an external trainer’s timetable. For example, staff while commuting on the train, or while working at home.
4. It doesn’t have to eat into your team’s work hoursThis flexibility has another advantage for your business, too. Classroom learning usually takes place within 9 to 5 hours, and your team has to miss work to do it. But when staff can learn flexibly, they don’t all need to go missing from work at the same time.
So, training can happen at the optimal for your business.
5. It’s self-paced, which is good for retentionHave you ever been in a training course where the trainer said:
“Right, we’ve got a lot to get through today so we’re going to have to go quick!”
...And then they went so quick that most of it went in one ear and out the other?
Well, that doesn’t have to happen with e-learning. Because the learner decides how fast the course goes, when to move on, and when to go back to something they didn’t quite understand.
Learners are in control, so they can learn and retain information more effectively.
6. It can be really entertainingModern e-learning software is really advanced and really cool. It can incorporate images, video, interactive games and so much more. In the future, e-learning is likely to incorporate virtual reality
This diversity and richness of content won’t just help your staff to stay engaged and interested. It could actually entertain them too, so that they enjoy learning.
And as many studies show, learning is more effective when it’s fun.
7. It’s accessible to more leanersAlmost anyone can use a tablet computer. Toddlers can. Elderly people can. People with disabilities can.
And if you can use a tablet, you can do e-learning.
What that means is that e-learning has opened up training opportunities for lots more people, who might not be able to take part in classroom learning.
So, if you want to support diversity and inclusion in your workplace, e-learning can be a really effective tool.
8. It allows you to make custom training coursesWith traditional classroom courses, you usually buy a number of delegate places and have a trainer teach them. E-learning is similar – you can buy a course that can be delivered to x-number of your staff.
But with e-learning, you could also create your own custom course, which is tailored to your organisation and your work systems.
Although this is probably more expensive up-front, you can deliver it as many times as you want – so the cost might be lower overall.
It’s just another example of e-learning’s flexibility!
9. It works!According to a December 2017 study, 90% of students think e-learning is the same or better than traditional learning.
And even more tellingly, the same study shows that a huge 98% of all business plan to use e-learning by 2020. That includes both small businesses and large corporations, most of whom have already made e-learning integral to what they do.
10. It’s better for the environmentDoes your organisation have an environment policy, or goals for reducing waste? Well, good news – e-learning can help!
A study by the Open University found e-learning uses 90% less energy and produces 85% less CO2 than classroom learning. That’s a big difference!
11. Delivery is fasterWe already talked about how e-learning is more flexible, fitting your business’s busy schedule. But it can also reduce the amount of time spent training, because delivery is faster.
E-learning is a much faster way to train because:
- There’s no travel time to factor in.
- Learners can skip sections they already understand.
- Learners set their own pace, meaning more capable staff will complete courses quickly.
- There’s no room or equipment to set up or put away, so training starts and ends faster.
12. There’s no limit on class sizesWith traditional learning, class sizes are limited by the size of the venue and the cost per delegate. E-learning changes that, because:
- Learners don’t all need to do the course at the same time
- If you own the course, you can deliver it to as many learners as you want, as many times as you want
E-learning therefore has the scope to train bigger teams, with better value.
If you haven’t considered e-learning yet...So, there you have it.12 utterly compelling advantages of e-learning – even if I do say so myself.
I hope the lady from Starbucks happens upon them. And I hope you consider them too, because e-learning is a fantastic option for any business, whether your training budget is big or small.
Whichever direction you go in, good luck with your next learning initiative. And if you have any of your own interesting experiences or insights on e-learning, I hope you’ll share them in the comments below.