E-learning for Training

You are a widely expanding corporation and your job as a Training & Development Specialist is to ensure the training content and material is disseminated when and where needed. With two new offices in two new cities, your travel demands have increased and so have your needs to hire new trainers. Your in-class or live training sessions include break-out rooms, one-on-one interaction sessions, knowledge sharing “cafes” and shadowing opportunities between experts and novice employees. You were easily able to monitor and gauge progress of all employees. In fact, you were no less than a “personal trainer”! You knew exactly where and how to analyze and fill skill gaps. You were efficient in developing “learner-centered” learning programs that were popular and well-appreciated by all departments. No wonder, the business experienced an outstanding ROI and exponential growth! In this knowledge-based economy, staying current and up to date with business innovations is the only route to competition. Managing one office was a mega feat. Your time was invested between improving current programs, developing new programs, training the trainers and monitoring trainer and training performance. With the opening of two new offices in distant cities, you are now beginning to feel the noose. You feel stretched and apprehensive on how to extend such quality controlled trainings sessions to these new locations. Before you create new job openings for more trainers, we request you to read through this article and make an informed decision. As an effective leader in your Training & Development department, you do realize the importance of delegation. Delegating chores for replication and quality maintenance to other human resources is not a feasible option here. Consider delegating and automating your chores to a learning management system. Better yet, convert all trainings into e-learning content and use a centralized system to disperse trainings across all offices. It’s the norm in most organizations. In this article, we explain how and why e-learning is here to stay to satisfy all your training and development needs. In fact, with a successful e-learning management system in place, you can attract more learners across the globe from vendor organizations. Admittedly, the costs of setting up an e-learning infrastructure is high, but it not only pays off in the long-run, but also yields an advanced knowledge-based learning organization.

The first factor to consider before converting live trainings into e-learning, is the appropriate changes needed for a successful online learning content. Second, with a widely distributed and diverse participants, what e-learning delivery strategies would you use? How would you analyze your learners? Being flexible is the key to your success. Assess the new requirements of this new situation with inquiries. What is the goal of the training? Different locations of the same organization may have different goals. Revise goals to recognize distinctions. Determine if the increased size of learners means increased types of learner. Take into account the job descriptions of the expanding work force. This may require changes in the training content. If so, the situation may require adjustments to the content to make sure that the training works for everyone. When will the training take place? This is something you don’t need to worry about. Converting live classroom training into e-learning eliminates this step. You do need to consider the e-learning delivery strategies like blended learning, synchronous learning or asynchronous learning. Prepare your training contingency plans by involving key role-players and managers of all departments.

Why would you go through the trouble of training into e-learning cross-over? Consider real market examples that show several benefits for e-learning for training:

Automated Management

E-learning is essentially a rapid learning tool that ensures employees can quickly learn new skills, update old skills, and absorb extensive information on new products, markets, and the competition. E-learning is a revolutionary way to empower a workforce with the skills and knowledge it needs to keep up with the dynamic market. The built-in features and functionalities in learning management systems enable trainers to analyze individual learner performance, their morale towards performance, their gaps in skills, their professional aspirations as well as expectations of an organization. Generating analytical reports based on a variety of queries automates the learning and development monitoring and gauging process. Collaborative and notification tools further reduce training manager workload of updating course material as well as learners. The establishment of advanced communities of practice and knowledge management is possible in an e-learning environment. E-learning when administered effectively, can lead to learning organizations.

Cost benefits

  • Accommodation costs for trainers who travel to training venue.
  • Travelling costs associated for trainers who travel to training venue.
  • The cost of the training venue.
  • The high trainer fees.

Productivity benefits

  • E-learning requires lesser training or contact time as compared to traditional training without compromising the benefits.
  • The time away for work, spent on trainings is reduced.
  • E-learning meets the needs of a geographically dispersed workforce.
  • Course content and delivery as well as all associated updates are more consistent.
  • Rapid e-learning development tools allow instructional designers to modify content to suit different learning styles.
  • More cost effective in the long-run.

Training Scenarios Suitable for E-Learning

  • Certification driven markets – Employees need to be accredited to certain industry standards to be able to perform their job. e. g. certification of Cisco and Microsoft Certified Engineers.
  • Regulation driven markets – where large numbers of learners need to be kept up to date on regulations e. g. Westpac
  • Training intensive markets – where trainings are mandatory to operations management or a trainings need to be administered regularly.
  • Multinational organizations – Geographically distributed offices in which employees need to be trained consistently. Traditional trainings are logistically difficult in these situations.
  • Customized trainings – E-learning can be customized according to the organization to yield quality and improved productivity.

Conclusion

Organizations are increasingly utilizing e-learning and learning management systems as a trainings strategy. This has been initiated by converting existing live trainings into e-learning content. E-learning has proven to be a low-risk knowledge development initiative deployed extensively across the organization intranet. Companies like Motorola and Cisco have invested significantly to produce e-learning environments for vendor companies, proving the worth of e-learning for trainings. Studies have repeatedly suggested better learning outcomes associated with e-learning in the work place. Although the initial cost for developing an e-learning infrastructure is high, organizations can expect substantial ROI’s when e-learning is effectively placed. This cost will reduce in the upcoming years as more e-learning trainings are developed and available for re-use with slight modifications.