Steve Jobs: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
Are you in a dilemma about how eLearning be beneficial over classroom training in your organization? If eLearning is introduced, will it be effective? Like many ask, does eLearning reduce the training budget without compromising on the quality of training?
Well, according to the ASTD 2012 state of the industry report, G500 organizations have a strong and steady use of technology-based learning. Organizations save about 50% to 70% on training, when they replace instructor led training with eLearning, due to reduced or eliminated travel costs and more targeted training (IOMA 2002). IBM, after launching online management training, was able to deliver five times of training at one third the cost (Getting Up to Speed on E-Learning, Tom Werner, Brandon-Hall.com Publishers, 2001). It is also proven that eLearning increases the knowledge retention by 25% to 60% among learners (Corporate eLearning Exploring a New Frontier, WR Hambrecht).
In the flood of words written in favor of eLearning, you may still be facing the same dilemma. Let us make it more clear by comparing eLearning and classroom training for induction and compliance training.
An effective and timely induction is very important in influencing the employee perception about the organization. According to the Journal of Managerial Philosophy, the intentions of the employee to remain or quit the organization, depend on effective induction. Recent survey states that failure to retain employees is costing them up to 1 billion euros annually. So it is very important for the firms to give effective and timely induction to their new hires. For the induction training to be effective, organizations spend huge amounts in classroom trainings. But what really happens here?
Firstly, recruitment occurs all-round the year. However, the induction for the new hires starts only after reaching critical number. As a result, new employees may not undergo induction training, as soon as they join. Secondly, after a certain period of time when the induction training takes place, some of the key managers, who are required to deliver the key messages to the new hires, may not be available. Thirdly, if the organization is operating in different geographical regions, it is difficult to pass the single unified work culture among its global employees. Moreover, multiple budgets have to be allocated for training at multiple locations.
With the use of technology most of the above issues can be solved.
- Elearning courses can be accessed any time and anywhere. When the employee accepts to join the organization, he is given a user name and password and can start his induction without any delay. Some organizations are going a step ahead and going for pre-induction training programs i.e. to support recruitment and pre-joining phase of new joiners.
- Key managers can record their messages, which can be embedded as the videos in the eLearning course. This reduces a lot of time and travel expenses incurred.
- Effectiveness of the training depends on many factors but the main factor is employee satisfaction. Elearning courses give an environment that supports learning. Instructional design strategies and a wide variety of interactivities, videos, graphics and animation developed using rapid authoring tools like Lectora, Flash and Articulate make content memorable and engaging, for the learners. Thus when your training is effective, the employee retention rate can also be high.
- The effectiveness of training is multiplied, when the content is translated into region-specific languages and localized harmoniously, to fit into the culture of the target audience. So if your organization is working in multiple locations, once you design the course in certain language the course can be effectively translated to the respective local languages. It can also be localized in terms of culture, as the culture varies a lot from place to place. (To know more about cross-cultural training please (click here).
Your organization may be at risk when your employees are not aware of the rules and regulations they need to comply with. Failure to comply, may land your organization in legal situations, which may result in paying huge penalties.
Compliance training usually attracts huge budget allocation, as it is critical, mandatory and periodical. Reducing the cost without compromising on the effectiveness is a need for any organization.
Let us see some major problems companies face when the training is imparted in the traditional classroom setting:
Firstly, companies are required to produce the proof or records regarding the completion of training to the regulatory authorities. For this it has to maintain adequate records regarding training sessions including attendance, logs, assessments and materials distributed, which requires a complex set of activities and proves to be a costly affair. Secondly, companies need to conduct training periodically preferable every year. Thirdly, if there are any updates or changes in laws and policies conveying it to the geographically dispersed employees is not only time taking process, but also an additional expense.
What eLearning can do?
ELearning can be convenient and cost effective tool for the organizations as under:
- When training is rolled out on LMS, it can track the employee completion rates, and can generate certificates and reports which are accepted by most of the regulatory authorities.
- Once the course is designed, it can be used repeatedly. This reduces the annual refresher training cost by huge margins.
- Any changes or updates in laws and policies can be reached to its global employees within a short time period and at low cost.
ELearning is not about technology, but it is about using technology for learning and development. In many cases eLearning wins over classroom the training, not only in cost and time but also in effectiveness. Please do share your thoughts!