Cheaper online

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In this day and age nobody can argue with the fact that staff training is imperative, as it promotes productivity within the workplace. This is largely due to the fact that the employee feels empowered and motivated after training. It also ensures that employees are up-to-date with the latest advances in your business and creates a sense of loyalty to the company that trained them.

Speaking to Achiever on the topic of the cost of electronic learning, online training expert, Kirsty Chadwick, founder of The Training Room Online, says E-learning can cover many business areas, from HR policy and legal requirements, to compliance subjects such as health and safety, and even performance support essentials such as customer service.

“E-learning has been around since the 1960s. It wasn’t always as informative and effective as it is today - it has evolved from its inception as a fairly boring system of presenting information, into a vibrant and accessible tool. It’s difficult to say when exactly e-learning was first used as a training method in business however, it was somewhere after the invention of email in the 90s.

“Types of e-learning include: online courses and campaigns, live online training/virtual classrooms, blended learning, learning via mobile devices and smartphones, social media for learning, video and podcasts,” says Chadwick, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the field of education, and has spoken internationally on incorporating technology into training.

According to her, E-learning can be used on its own or as part of a blend. This can be a fusion of face-to-face and e-learning or the effective combination of different types of e-learning. A business owner consider e-learning will be advised on the right solution for his or her industry and environment and on what they wish to achieve.

“In the tertiary education space more prospective students are turning to online options. Online degree programmes follow much the same routines as traditional learning, with a few twists. There are lectures, but they won't be in person. There are assignments, but you won't hand them to your instructor. There may be a set time that ‘class’ begins, but you don't have to be there then. In most situations, you are free to ‘go to class’ when it fits your schedule,” she told Achiever.

Responding to the major challenges for learners who choose e-learning, Chadwick, who is passionate about developing people, says some companies may require training to be completed after-hours, and this could mean that learners don’t have access to computers, but it’s fairly easily sidestepped because mobile learning is readily available and accessible.

“The initial start-up cost of e-learning may be slightly more than a traditional training course, but there’s cost-savings in the long run. E-learning significantly reduces the cost of training because there is no trainer, accommodation or travel necessary. Online learning classes tend to be 50% shorter in duration and allows for access to material after the fact, meaning that the learner can access what they have learned about whenever they have time to do so. Unlike traditional training programmes, which may require the deployment of trainers, e-learning allows employees access to course material no matter where they are based geographically.

“Mobile learning is a way to give the learner more control over how their learning is structured - the always-available nature of this form of learning empowers students to take their own initiative and plan learning activities according to their personal goals and needs. No two learners are the same, so no two learners are likely to absorb and process information identically. Thanks to mobile learning, organisations are now able to deliver targeted information on-demand,” says Chadwick.

Karin Schimke

The benefits of online
While saving money is the one advantage, there are many other benefits for to both learners and employers of e-learning over the traditional chalk-and-talk method.

  • Standardised Learning: With instructor-led training, even with the same instructor, no two lessons are ever identical. It is crucial in a corporate environment that all staff get the same training, because they are all being held to the same performance standards. E-learning delivers consistent training from one student to the next, irrespective of when the learning actually takes place.
  • Not bound by geography: E-learning allows access to all employees, no-matter how geographically dispersed they are.
  • Interactivity promotes learning: Various e-learning multimedia platforms encourage the learner to invest in what is unravelling before them - they get involved in the whole process of learning, which also promotes the retention of information.
  • Just-in-time learning: Instructors are able to instantly update content, which means that everything the student is learning will be completely relevant to them.
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Issue 58