If you’re looking for a cost-effective and flexible way to way to provide your staff with learning and development opportunities, e-learning courses could be the solution. If you don’t have the budget for expensive classroom-based training courses, or if your workplace doesn’t have the flexibility for full days of training, e-learning courses online are a great way to provide staff with opportunities to build their skills.
From Microsoft office courses to personal development, there are so many different e-learning courses available. Here’s everything you need to know about the benefits of e-learning.
What is e-learning?
E-learning is a form of self-paced, online training that participants can complete at any time. Many companies develop their own internal e-learning packages, particular when it comes to onboarding new staff members. However, there are also vast amounts of online e-learning courses already designed and ready for your people to complete.
Participants use online software to access courses and work their way through them at their own pace. In the past, e-learning was considered a little boring, and often it wasn’t much more than clicking through a slideshow of information. Today, however, e-learning courses are designed and developed to be engaging, interactive and much more effective.
Most e-learning courses don’t take too long to complete, however, this depends on the type of course. Many larger e-learning courses are broken up into smaller segments, giving participants more freedom for how they work their way through the content.
The benefits of E-learning
There are significant benefits to e-learning, both for employers and staff members. Let’s take a look at the reasons e-learning is such a popular development tool for businesses.
Businesses are always looking for ways to increase productivity in the workplace. While training your staff and ensuring they have strong capabilities is important, it often comes at a short-term productivity cost. It’s difficult to send multiple staff members off to do classroom-based training for half a day or a full day because it impacts daily operations.
E-learning solves this problem because it’s completely self-paced and flexible. Courses don’t take hours and hours to complete, so you can schedule people in to complete their training at a time that suits the business and employee. You can even stagger these training times to suit staffing needs because e-learning doesn’t require everyone to participate at the same time.
There are several ways that you can purchase e-learning modules for your employees. One option is to contact a training organisation that can give you access to an entire library of online courses. This opens up a world of possibilities, and it’s also extremely cost-effective because staff can use the training modules as often as they want.
Alternatively, you can pay for the courses you need, which is still much cheaper than organisation classroom-based training. You also avoid the hidden costs, such as the time spent by staff travelling to and from a training centre, venue hire and lost productivity.
Complete e-learning sessions faster
As we mentioned, e-learning courses online are usually much shorter than facilitated training sessions. So, if time is a concern for you and your staff members, e-learning is worth considering. Every course varies in length, but many short courses can be completed in 20 minutes. Longer courses may take an hour to complete. Plus, people can complete them from the comfort of their desk or ordinary workspace. No travel and no wasted time.
Better retention of information
While e-learning is faster, it can also encourage a higher level of information retention. In longer training sessions, people’s attention tends to drift. This results in missing key information, or not really retaining the content matter as well as they could. Contrary to this, e-learning only requires people to pay attention for a short amount of time. Plus, with interactive elements, participants stay engaged for longer and tend to retain more information.
Everybody has a preferred learning style, of course, so you need to ensure e-learning is the right style for your people.
Study when working remotely
With so many people working remotely, either from home or in more isolated co-working spaces, learning and development become challenging. However, with e-learning, it doesn’t matter where someone is – they can always access the modules they need. As long as you have access to the learning software and an internet connection, you can log in and study online. This is a huge bonus for companies who are still adapting to hybrid workplaces or working from home arrangements.
Less stress about other work
When employees are sent off for long training sessions, they inevitably start to worry about their work piling up. Half a day away from their desk can create a lot of stress because they’re not getting through the work they need to. Again, e-learning is a winner here, because it can reduce that stress for employees.
They can remain at their desk and complete a course that might take an hour. They don’t lose a lot of time, and can still manage their workload. It’s a far better option than heading off for a day of training and returning the next day with a huge pile of tasks to complete.
A huge range of course options
Variety is the spice of life, and that’s certainly true when it comes to training. Everybody has different learning needs, different roles and even different career goals. Because there are so many e-learning courses available online, you can deliver training opportunities that your staff really value. Whether it’s something to help them do their job more competently or a course that helps them with career advancement, e-learning definitely provides plenty of options.
Develop your own E-learning packages
While this isn’t unique to e-learning, the ability to develop your own internal modules is a massive win for most businesses. You can do this with facilitated training too, however, you also need qualified and competent trainers on hand to deliver the courses. That’s an extra expense that many businesses simply can’t afford.
By working closely with a training organisation, you can learn how to build internal e-learning packages that can benefit everyone from new staff to seasoned veterans looking for a change.
Build a learning culture
Finally, e-learning helps to promote a culture of learning within a company. Many businesses just don’t have the resources or relaxed schedules to send staff on traditional training courses regularly. E-learning, however, is much quicker, much more flexible and so much easier to schedule. It means training can occur more often, and this adds to the culture of a workplace.
Tips for successful E-learning
If you’d like to try e-learning in your company, there are a few things you can do to maximise the benefits.
Give your staff the time and space to learn
One issue that sometimes arises with e-learning is that it gets pushed to the side in favour of daily tasks. To really give your employees the full benefit, make sure you give them space. If this means blocking out time in a daily schedule, do it. If someone’s urgent tasks need to be handed off to someone else in order to accommodate an e-learning course, make it happen.
Provide E-learning packages relevant to individuals
With any type of training, relevancy is crucial. If people are instructed to do mandatory e-learning that doesn’t really relate to the job either now or in the future, it’s hard to keep them engaged. Because there are so many e-learning courses out there, take the time to assess everyone’s training needs and preferences, and provide online courses that are meaningful.
Ensure content is engaging and interactive
Finally, always ensure the courses are engaging. There’s nothing worse than clicking through screens and just reading words that will never sink in. Include interactive features such as audio, video, quizzes and more to keep people involved.
E-learning is a great way to boost capability, increase productivity and also show your employees that you’re investing in their future. It’s great for employee engagement, and it doesn’t have to break the budget. For cost-effective and flexible training solutions, it’s time to consider e-learning.