ELearning vs Traditional Learning: Why A Blended Learning Approach Is Ultimately Best For Corporate Training
It’s no surprise that more and more companies are finally moving towards eLearning over more traditional learning courses, due to the increased mobility of the workforce and realization of the many cost saving benefits it offers.
Take Cisco Systems' for example: staff routinely watch videos on the Internet to learn about new products and services, as its part of their monthly training regime.
And Cisco is not alone. Companies are opting for eLearning over more traditional learning methods to save on training costs and because there’s simply a greater acceptance of Web-based training, and better interoperability of systems within businesses.
However, it seems many companies still have yet to be convinced of its benefits.
But bottom line, when it’s done well, eLearning delivers great results by reducing costs and increasing performance. Whilst the classroom environment is great and certainly adds to staff knowledge and performance, it’s generally a one-time session for a single group of people who assemble together for it. Compare this to eLearning which is designed for a far larger number, regardless of their location. And most important of all, it includes ongoing conversations after session have finished in networked communities. Let’s not forget that because of its nature, the content for eLearning can be updated easily and quickly and cost far less in terms of money than many classroom methods. And don’t forget that the time required to re-train and update the trainers themselves is significantly reduced with eLearning.
However, there is some caution about the value of eLearning and the virtual world. Let me put it simply: eLearning works when you know WHEN and WHY to use it. Bottom line, it helps an organization meet its goals.
5 Blended Learning Benefits for Corporate Training
- Improved training costs and ROI
Producing learning content is time consuming whether it’s online or not. With eLearning, each time the course is accessed a company’s ROI improves because it shares any fixed production costs by the number and frequency of uses. Companies save through decreased travel, reduced material, and hopefully enjoy improved (and more efficient) staff performance. Apparently, Ernst & Young cut its training costs by 35% while improving consistency and scalability with eLearning: they condensed about 2,900 hours of classroom training into 700 hours of web-based learning, 200 hours of distance learning and 500 hours of classroom instruction, a cut of 53%. I also spotted a very interesting press release from this global leader in professional services which highlights its commitment to developing eLearning platforms for its 100,000+ staff worldwide to access quickly and use extensive learning resources for professional development and advising clients.
Many companies have their preferred training providers that they use frequently to support staff L&D. But there’s no guarantee that the courses they present are the same across all the sessions they deliver especially if the trainer travels to different branches of the same company. ELearning allows you a greater guarantee for a standardized process and consistency in the delivery of content; in short, everyone can be on the same page with what they are learning.
- Real-time access
Been there, done that: live training is great but the HR Manager needs time to confirm all the participants’ availability and there are inevitably bound to be drop-outs because pressing work commitments may take priority. Live learning events require participants to align their schedules to the training calendar. ELearning removes all this this because the course can be accessed anytime, anywhere. This can also happen without Internet access! It can be done on a tablet or smartphone.
- Greater retention
ELearning’s combination of multimedia and instructional design delivers a very rich learning experience that is, most importantly, repeatable. Add some good practice activities, feedback from the trainer and comments from other participants, and there you have it: a learning environment that’s going to help staff more likely to retain the course content and so repeat it to deliver some great results.
- More control to learners
ELearning often gives more control to the learners in a way that classroom learning doesn’t. Learners can go at their own pace, not at the pace of the slowest or fastest member of a group in the class environment. And from my own experience, time in classrooms can sometimes be spent on issues raised, understandably, by other delegates that aren’t relevant to the other participants.
So in summation, I think the CIPD’s viewpoint on eLearning is probably the one of the most logical, astute ways to look at how to treat ELearning.
It says, “(eLearning) encompasses a huge range of formal and informal learning techniques yet it should be seen as one element in an organizational learning strategy and, where possible, its use should be linked with face-to-face learning methods such as coaching and mentoring. The e-learning approach should not mean automating all an organization’s learning processes. Rather, it is a powerful new element in a wider strategy requiring support for learners in the context in which they learn. Recent developments in e-learning have been nurtured by a ‘people-centric web’, and by newer emergent technologies, that facilitate and stimulate collaborative conversations, knowledge-sharing, individualism and interpersonal networking – all of which should be at the heart of sophisticated HR and L&D strategies. Where used effectively and in conjunction with other development methods, e-learning can help to support high levels of individual, team and organizational performance as one key strand of the organizational learning strategy.”
Where do YOU see eLearning’s effectiveness? What suggestions would YOU make to those who are considering it?
Please share your comments with me and other visitors.