Making The Business Case For eLearning

Making The Business Case For eLearning
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Summary: The business case for eLearning should cover aspects the naysayers are likely to raise and convince decision makers to give your eLearning a grand entrance in your organization. What are those aspects? Let us see!

How To Build A Business Case For eLearning

With an idea of how eLearning-ready your organization is, the next step is to build a business case for eLearning and get stakeholders and decision makers to buy your idea. The entire process begins with an eLearning champion from within the organization who promotes their views on why eLearning must be introduced in the organization.

3 Case Studies

No two companies are alike – and, therefore, their needs and their reasons to follow a particular type of training methodology will vary. Let us consider the following 3 companies. Each of these companies belongs to a different industry, with different training woes; even the eLearning champions belong to different departments, with different levels of seniority.

Company #1. 

The organization is a global leader in electronics OEM with 200,000 employees. Compliance training is mandatory in this organization. The biggest challenge this organization faced was to conduct training on a large scale, to its large workforce that was globally dispersed – very quickly.

The eLearning champion in this organization was the Senior Director - Technical Training. The champion educated the legal staff on the advantages of eLearning. The legal department saw sense in moving to eLearning as it could eliminate their biggest challenge. The organization implemented eLearning in 2008.

Company #2. 

The organization is a global supplier of precision instruments, with 12,000 employees. Sales training is given a lot of importance in this organization. The main challenge this organization faced was providing effective and efficient training to its sales force.

The eLearning champion for this organization was the Head of Sales. He took over the sponsoring of eLearning activities on behalf of the Group Management Committee, an apex decision-making body. The decision makers realized that this modernistic approach to learning could be the efficient and effective system they needed to train their workforce. The organization implemented eLearning in 2006.

Company #3. 

The organization is one of the world's leading suppliers of cement and aggregates, with 90,000 employees. Technical process training is a huge part of training in this organization. The organization’s current training program was costly.

The eLearning champion for this organization was the Manager – Learning Systems and Processes, who personally shared her ideas with Head of HR and the entire HR community. The decision makers saw eLearning as a cost-effect training solution. The organization implemented eLearning in 2004.

Lessons Learned

From these 3 case studies we can conclude that:

  1. The problems faced by organizations can differ, and therefore the reasons to move to eLearning will also differ.
  2. The champions for eLearning can come from anywhere in the organization.
  3. The idea of eLearning can be offered to decision makers in different ways.
  4. The decision makers in each organization differ.
  5. Competitive advantage, leveraging technology, and a desire to satisfy customers are some reasons for organizations to consider eLearning.

But the biggest lessons we learn from these 3 companies is that:

  • Businesses see enormous economic benefits and a way to maximize their profits with eLearning.
  • When deciding whether to invest in eLearning, organizations are careful to balance the benefits of eLearning with costs – with a desire to increase benefits at lesser costs.

What Makes A Good Business Case For eLearning

A good business case should therefore justify the proposed eLearning investment with a well-structured report on the costs and the returns. The more compelling your business case for eLearning, the greater the likelihood of your proposal being approved. Therefore, as well as investing a lot of time in creating the case study, information must be gathered from the right sources.

Over the last year, training budgets have gone down, so unless your eLearning business case is well defined, stakeholders and decision makers are likely to push back on your proposal. Remember; the decision makers are not going to be concerned or maybe even understand training problems - just the financial implications of a changed system.

A good business case for eLearning will describe in detail:

1. The Current Training Status And Shortcomings. 

The cost of training as it is structured now, shortcomings - such as non-uniformity throughout the organization, little inductee training, lost productivity due to classroom training, lack of cohesive compliance training, high employee churn, lack of customer satisfaction, and quality control issues due to inconsistent training.

2. The Advantages Of The Proposed System. 

List how the present shortcomings can be eliminated by the proposed system. Stress the long-term benefits of a flexible and organization-wide uniformity, and increased productivity with training done outside company hours - possibly on the employees’ own devices.

3. The Cost Of Getting There. 

It is wise to cost more than one alternative scenario and present the information for each one in turn, with your recommendations. A budget for each scenario should be worked out with a vendor. Particular attention should be given to the training costs, as these are almost always underestimated at this stage. Also, have a contingency fund for unexpected outlays. Allowances for lost productivity during the training and implementation phase should also be included. Remember, it is always better to deliver on budget than to have to return for additional spending.

4. The Savings That Will Accrue. 

There are benefits that are easy to quantify (increased productivity and better quality control), but there are long-term advantages are not easy to assess; however, these should be listed as well.

For more on this aspect, read the eBook - eLearning: Getting your Organization READY.

After working with many organizations worldwide, we have compiled this useful guide on eLearning implementation. It is aimed at those who are just starting out, to give them good foundation on what they need to know before initiating eLearning.

eBook Release: CommLab India
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