Updated Aug 13, 2020. Original article published Sept 19, 2017
The business world is changing faster than ever. That means the shelf life of employee skills is getting shorter. Smart businesses know that corporate training and development can help them maintain a competitive advantage in this evolving environment. That’s why so many organizations are embracing e-learning.
Forget long face-to-face sessions that pull employees away from work for hours or days at a time. Even before social distancing became the norm, the disadvantages of that approach were becoming obvious. E-learning, especially mobile-enabled learning, can help businesses coordinate employee development in a cost effective way. Integrating online video with accessible learning management systems is now the approach of choice for most corporate training. Plus, employees actually want to engage with online learning.
e-Learning And Corporate Training
Traditional in-person corporate training methods simply aren’t fast enough to keep up with the way we do business. Asking employees to take hours, days, or weeks away from their work to engage in face-to-face learning simply isn’t feasible for many businesses. It takes too long and employees end up stressed and distracted by the work that isn’t getting done in their absence. Because technology and the business environment as a whole are evolving rapidly, one or two in-person training sessions a year just isn’t enough to match the pace of change.
That’s one of the reasons that businesses are pouring more of their training budget into online and mobile training solutions. The budget for online learning has been growing over the past three years, according to the latest LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report. Most businesses use a mix of externally created and internally created content. That means they may license a course or purchase a Learning Management System with built-in capabilities, then customize their own videos or text to represent their brand and internal processes.
From onboarding to ongoing training and upskilling, e-learning makes training more accessible and less time consuming. It allows employees to work at their own pace, study when and where they want, and engage with videos, texts, in-lesson quizzes and other responsive content. Online video and eLearning streamlines and simplifies the training process, not to mention making it more effective, efficient, and enjoyable.
Here are five reasons to supplement (or replace) your existing training methods with online video and eLearning tools.
1. e-Learning Increases Flexibility
People learn at different rates. Allowing employees to complete training online gives them space to grasp the information at their own pace. They’re not held back by a colleague who wants to take more time on a subject. On the other hand, they don’t have to feel self-conscious about taking some extra time to learn something.
And they can take that time because online training is asynchronous. Flexibility can make a huge difference to many employees. Gone are the mandatory lectures, sleepy early morning meetings, and restrictive schedules. With video training sessions, course content, and even quizzes available on-demand, employees can engage when it fits their schedule. They can watch a video lecture while they make dinner, read a chapter while riding the bus to work, or take a quiz in between client meetings.
Mobile-enabled learning is even more flexible. You can deliver the same training videos and learning experience directly to employee mobile devices. With the average US adult spending 3.54 hours a day using a smartphone, mobile-accessible corporate training just makes sense.
2. Online Learning Covers More In Less Time
In the past, time constraints sometimes forced trainers to speed through important topics. Online learning removes time constraints, allowing deeper dives into essential topics. It also enables just-in-time learning, enabling employees to quickly learn new skills when they need them. For example, employees can watch a three-minute training video on sales tactics before an important meeting, or brush up on essential compliance topics before reviewing a report.
This microcourse style of content delivery was almost impossible with traditional corporate training. At best, employees might have been able to flip through an employee handbook or search through old emails to find relevant information. With an online learning management system they can find the lesson they need, watch an interactive video, and immediately check their understanding with on-screen questions.
3. e-Learning Improves ROI
The upfront cost of an online video tutorial or LMS will save you time and money as your training program ages. Instead of hiring a trainer to come in once or twice a year, you can buy the course or learning platform once. Any additional investment goes into creating new and updated lessons, rather than reteaching the core elements that stay relatively constant.
At the same time, you gain back productivity. Employees can train without being pulled away from their projects, tasks, and clients. There’s also a savings in space rental, travel, accommodation, and other costs necessary to host in-person training.
4. Online Learning Improves Consistency
If your team is small, it’s easy to put everyone in the same room and give them the same training. What happens when you have multiple locations? What happens if your business is national or even global? You could pay an instructor to travel to each location and give the same training, which quickly gets expensive. Or, you could hire a different instructor for each location. In that case, you can’t be certain that every employee gets the same training. The third option is to provide the same online training module to every employee in every location. This gets rid of any surprises and makes sure your trainees are all learning the same information. There’s really no better way to ensure training consistency.
5. e-Learning Increases Information Retention
Perhaps the most convincing argument for combining eLearning tools and online video tutorials with your existing training practices is that eLearning often delivers better results. Partly, this is because well-designed online learning includes a mix of tools and technologies not always available in traditional training sessions. Partly, online training meets employee expectations.
This online-learning style mirrors the academic experience of many millennials and post-millenials. In 2017, more than one third of college students took at least some of their courses online. That doesn’t include all of the Khan Academy, Udemy, EdX, Masterclass…and other elearning courses they might access to engage in personal development.
Many learners prefer online learning because it’s interactive. Several studies have shown that students in classes with a traditional “stand and deliver” lectures are 1.5 times more likely to fail than students in classes with a more active learning style. “It’s almost unethical to be lecturing if you have this data,” says Eric Mazur told Science Magazine. Mazur is a physicist at Harvard University who has fought against stale lecturing techniques for decades. With online learning tools at your disposal, there’s no reason to subject employees to boring, time-intensive lectures that may not be effective.
Hybrid Learning Models
With all the benefits of online corporate training you might think it’s time to get rid of face-to-face training entirely. Not so fast. Traditional training still has its place. It’s perfect for hands-on training that can’t be replicated in a computer simulation. If applied thoughtfully, it can also help employees build relationships and strengthen teams.
The best solution may be to combine e-learning and traditional instruction into a hybrid learning model. Choose e-learning for courses that need to be easily replicated, for just-in-time learning, and for courses that would be time-consuming in person. Augment those with in-person sessions for hands-on training, team building, and more personalized topics.
The Future Of Corporate Training
Current events and the demands of social distancing have made e-learning a necessity, but it’s been around for years. Fortunately, learning management systems are becoming more user-friendly, more mobile accessible, and more cost effective than ever. If your organization hasn’t already embraced e-learning, now is the time. See this shift for what it is, an investment in the future.
The backbone of any high-quality online corporate training program is instructional videos. Whether you’re recording mini-lectures, crafting step-by-step tutorials, or creating custom animations to aid employee understanding, the video experts at IdeaRocket can help.