As technology becomes more readily available, an increasing number of businesses are turning to e-learning as a cost-effective means to train employees and push the critical skills required to remain competitive. The e-learning industry is growing at an astounding rate. A Value Notes report suggests that the e-learning offshoring industry will grow from $341 million in 2008 to $603 million by 2012. “The advent of the smartphone and the abundance of e-learning vendors have contributed to this rise in e-learning,” explained Sunil Jagani, CTO and Founder of AllianceTek, Inc., an IT Solutions company based in Malvern, PA, “but the main motivators exist in the increased perception of e-learning as a cost-effective, value-added business advantage.”
In 2010, Jagani's company introduced e3 to the marketplace, an e-learning platform designed as an alternative to the traditional ways we educate, collaborate, and communicate. To date, AllianceTek's e3 e-learning platform has been used by companies across the United States, including Johns Hopkins, VISA, MedicalLogix, ms-leaders, Penn Medical, and others.
If you’re thinking about adopting e-learning technology as a part of your training, the following may help you in your decision-making process:
1. E- Learning Saves Money
The cost savings associated with e-learning are obvious. E-learning eliminates the need for classrooms, instructors, and travel expenses. Since e-learning is digital, there are materials costs for books, papers, and binders. E-learning detracts less from day-to-day job tasks since employees can spend more time at work. The cost savings vary, of course, but Dow Chemical, for example, reduced their average spending of $95 per learner to only $11, allowing them to save $34 million annually (Shepherd 2002).
2. E- Learning Saves Time
“In the e-learning virtual classroom environment, time is compressed,” Jagani observed. “That’s because online courses eliminate the time it takes for employees to travel to classes and the welcomes, introductions, breaks and socializing, time spent setting up, and time spent winding down.” These things add up, and, according to a Brandon Hall and Rosenberg study completed in 2001, account for 25 percent to 60 percent of all class time. What’s more, e-learning allows employees to spend less time away from work and the flexibility to train at their own convenience, which means students decide how to make the most of any downtime in their schedules.
3. E- Learning is Inclusive
Employees using e-learning do not have to be in the office, or even in the same country. E-learning enables anyone with an Internet connection and access to a desktop computer, laptop, or even a mobile device to participate. In fact, this new technology is even providing residents of the most remote villages of Africa with unprecedented access to online courses from mobile phones. And because many e-learning platforms have multiple language support, the barrier for non-native speakers, once a notable challenge, no longer exists.
4. E- Learning Improves Learning
“Sometimes businesses are skeptical that employees can learn better from a computer than an instructor,” noted Jagani, “but time and again, studies have demonstrated that e-learning may be a more effective educational tool than a traditional classroom setting.” Whatever the case, the fact remains that people learn better through experience and immediate feedback. A rich combination of audio-visual multimedia and instructional design has been demonstrated to improve retention and recall. Consider, too, the technological platform. As more and more people adopt and use technology in their everyday lives, learning through a technological medium becomes second nature. Best of all, students learn in their own time, at a pace that's comfortable for them, and have the freedom to fail without embarrassment. This relieves employees of the stress and worry that comes with formal class training environments.
5. E- Learning Pushes New Skills and Critical Improvements
Job requirements and essential daily skills are changing faster than ever for many competitive companies and employees must find a way to keep up. But with demands on their time ever increasing, it’s not always possible to add required classroom instruction. E-learning gives employees a chance to adopt new skills faster, at their own time, and without interfering with their existing daily tasks.
While e-learning is commonplace with thousands of employees at Fortune 500 companies, a cost-benefit analysis shows that e-learning is a valuable investment for small and medium-sized businesses as well. E-learning platforms are also targeting specialized skills that have smaller audiences than past e-learning courses. Expect these trends to continue as e-learning gradually replaces classroom training in more and more industries.