If you haven’t jumped on the e-learning bandwagon yet, it’s time to at least investigate the cost savings and convenience it provides.
With e-learning, you can avoid expenses associated with travel, trainers, facilities and course materials. Plus, you’ll never have to update, correct or reprint course materials because the online versions are always up-to-date. And e-learning is far more convenient for trainees who work in different offices throughout the country, and it’s easily accessible for quick refreshers and reminders.
Consider a Blended Approach as You Transition
Countless blog posts and articles debate the “Which is better?” question. The real question is “Which is better for my organization?” It’s possible that a combination of e-learning and classroom training is your best option, at least for now.
Many organizations offer new-associate orientations that overwhelm the participants with information. It’s like drinking from a fire hose, especially if no follow-up resource is available for participants. Many colleges and universities now offer to stream and record lectures, providing students a quick but effective way to review or clarify particularly unclear subject matter.
Low-cost web-based training has been getting a lot of attention. And some organizations now consider web-based training a part of blended learning, which uses more than one method of message delivery. Repetition is the mother of all learning, so even when elements of coursework or subject matter overlap, it can be another effective reason to use both methods of delivery. To increase the effectiveness of any training, it’s important to set up the training platform that works best for your participants and ensures effective alignment with your organization’s goals and objectives.
Specific Benefits of E-Learning
Depending on the material, e-learning can be highly effective, especially with younger people who are accustomed to learning material online. Here are some points to consider, published in recent Forbes articles:
Organizations that use e-learning are also likely to enjoy such benefits as convenience, standardized delivery and the ability for students to progress according to their pace of learning and availability.
Now let’s look at how to implement e-learning in your company or firm.
Tips for Implementing E-Learning
To achieve their goals and objectives, an organization’s leaders must plan effectively. It can seem overwhelming to change your entire training program, especially if you have invested a lot in it and have been using it for a long time. Here are some ways to ease into the e-learning process.
- Define your goals. Knowing what you want the training to accomplish will help determine what type of training you need. For example, your goal might be to teach new sales leaders how to manage a budget or to teach mid-level advisors how to break performance plateaus.
- Set a budget. It’s easy to get enamored with a new training platform that sounds too good to be true. Setting a budget in advance should keep you from overspending.
- Ask around. At industry meetings, in study groups and through social media sites like LinkedIn, find out which training programs have worked well for companies or firms that are structured similar to yours. Word-of-mouth referrals are always superior to trial and error.
- Start small. You don’t want to replace your entire training program with something new and unproven. Try out an online course with either a group of your sales leaders or advisors ¾ or have the whole team try it. Experiment. Once you find something most people seem to like, consider expanding your offerings on that platform.
- Promote the training and follow-up. To maximize the benefit and results of any e-learning curriculum, it cannot be a “set it and forget it” strategy. The organization’s leadership must not only promote this resource but must follow up and assign early usage to instill top-of-mind remembrance of this tool and its benefit.
- Measure your results. Have participants fill out a survey after each training program to gauge their reaction to it. Find out to what extent they were engaged, how valuable they thought it was, how much they will actually use the material in their work and how likely they would be to recommend it to someone else or want to take that type of training again. Also, measure your ROI. After six months or a year, evaluate how much your organization benefited from it, compared with how much you spent on it.
An Easy Way to Try E-Learning
Bite-sized e-learning, sometimes called micro-learning, is highly effective because it enables people to learn the material in a focused way, such as in videos that run for less than 10 minutes each. One study reveals that 94 percent of learning and development professionals say bite-sized online learning modules are the preferred mode of content delivery.
With today’s demand for work/life balance, you want your training to be available 24/7 so you can sharpen sales leaders’ and advisors’ skills on demand.