Now more than ever, eLearning options are necessary.
And, evidence clearly shows investing in eLearning has potential for returns in heightened skills and productivity.
For 15+ years, almost daily, I instructed technical, hands-on courses. To me, the classroom was more than just transmitting information – it was a human-engaged experience; an opportunity to share and grow together. But, as a seasoned instructor and instructional designer at a Training & Development (T&D) organization, I know it’s important to stay current and share recent, relevant information (in a convenient format).
The eLearning industry has grown 900% since the turn of the century, according to “Top 20 eLearning Statistics…You Need to Know” by eLearningindustry.com. In 2017, 77% of U.S. companies used online learning and the U.S. Government bought $2.59 billion worth of self-paced eLearning. The industry is growing and organizations are investing, but what are the benefits, particularly for the eLearner?
IBM found for every dollar spent on eLearning, they saw an average $30 increase in productivity. According to IBM, it was not so much the convenience of training directly from their desks, but that they were able to apply skills learned immediately. So when our T&D Team began to develop our eLearning, I was challenged to duplicate our practical content, as well as the human connection you get from classroom instruction into a self-paced learning experience.
After considering the student perspective, three eLearning advantages began to stand out.
Convenience – Self-paced rather than a fixed, one-time event.
For some of us, extended time away from work would be a disaster. Rather than hone skills or advance knowledge, we may opt to forego necessary training in the name of deadlines. Learners are more likely to absorb content when it’s broken into manageable chunks, without distractions. Asynchronous learning allows you to set your own schedule, ensuring your needs are met.
Individual learning style/pace – Pause and rewind are your friend.
A traditional classroom setting has a variety of learners. Some hog the teacher’s time asking question after question, others are afraid to participate for fear of looking dumb, while some are totally uninterested. You can’t pause or rewind the teacher and being “that student” brings a certain social stigma. An eLearning course allows a student to dive deeper into topics, review the same thing over and over, and review completed lessons.
Consistent delivery, voice, and message.
eLearning scripting enables the optimal message for every student, every time. I’ve never known a teacher to memorize a script, including myself. We are human, with exceptional days and the occasional off day. Not only does eLearning allow for a consistent message, but collaboration of multiple subject matter experts for a more robust perspective.
Certainly, the classroom isn’t going away. Many still enjoy a traditional classroom setting. eLearning provides an alternative and often more convenient, cost-effective, consistent, and student-focused learning opportunity for both the individual and the companies who choose to invest.