How and Why we Learn
Learning never ends…
Even before the advent of Corona Virus and the associated changes to all our lives, companies large and small were re-evaluating how they approached staff training and continuing professional development.
Increasingly they were moving to an eLearning solution, and for good reason. If done right, it can produce great results, decreasing costs and improving performance.
Also, unlike a traditional one-time classroom session, the eLearning course is scalable, available for others in the company on-demand.
Recently, I had a conversation with a potential client new to eLearning and it occurred to me that they didn’t fully understand the opportunities generated by eLearning. So I thought it might be worthwhile spending a little time identifying eLearning’s USPs.
E-learning cost effective and repeatable quality
Reduced training costs, creating learning content can be expensive and time consuming whether it’s online or not. With eLearning, each time the course is successfully completed your return on investment improves.
Think about it… the greater the number of times your course is accessed you are dividing the fixed production costs by number of users. In addition to this you are also racking up savings through decreased travel, reduced material, and hopefully improved (and more efficient) performance.
Reduced material and operating costs, no locations to book, freeing up valuable (and often over-booked meeting rooms. No course notes or slides to print. No trainers to schedule and no diaries of learners to consult and co-ordinate.
Increased productivity, remember eLearning is not bound by geography (something to consider when more and more colleagues are likely to be working more flexibly or WFH…) or time. You can control necessary staff development’s impact on production by training people during down times.
Don’t forget in the current economic climate, you’re going to be asking people to do more with less. So eLearning is a great way to give them the tools and skills needed to enhance their performance.
Repeatable quality, you may have a great facilitator, but that’s no guarantee that the courses are presented the same across sessions. eLearning allows you to create a standardised process and consistent delivery of content. It can also reduce delivery time.
E-learning Supports the Learner’s Development
As already mentioned, traditional live learning events require that those who participate align their schedules to the training calendar, eLearning does away with this because the course can be accessed on-demand.
Freedom to fail, no one likes to fail in a classroom full of other people. eLearning does away with that, allowing the learner to “fail without fear”. This in turn encourages exploration and testing of ideas. With the right feedback you create a great learning environment. Worst case, you can always start over. Something you can’t always do in class.
Improved retention, using a combination of multimedia and good instructional design can produce a very rich learning experience that is repeatable. Throw in some good practice activities (scenarios and interactive exercises) with feedback and you have a learning environment that’s going to help your learners retain the course content, which will improve performance.
Personalised learning, consider for a moment cars driving along a motorway. You are likely to see 15 to 20 different models and makes very quickly, they all do the same thing, yet we have our personal favourites and opinions. Learning is the same, we all react badly when we feel we are being viewed as a number rather than an individual and being subjected to “one size fits all”. Learners want control, and eLearning allows you to offer control to the learners in a way that classroom learning doesn’t.
E-learning encourages a culture of learning and community.
On-demand resources, if you take a traditional class and need a refresher, you better hope that you can find the notes you took… That’s not the case with eLearning, you continue to have access to the content and resources to review what you learned.
Knowledge management not simple knowledge transfer. eLearning is commonly viewed as authored courses, but eLearning can incorporate all sorts of online technologies. You can design in a variety of tools, that allow collaboration and conversation. This can help you to capture organisational knowledge that becomes available for future learners.
The foundation of a learning community is built on sharing what you know with others. Depending on how the course is structured, you can encourage sharing of resources and insight gained from the course.
Becoming an employer of choice. People want opportunities to grow and progress and a portfolio of eLearning courses can be an excellent recruiting tool. Employees can explore other opportunities in the organisation. During breaks or downtime, they can take fifteen minutes learning to better manage meetings or improve working with peers.
A recent Open University study found that “producing and providing distance learning courses consumes an average of 90% less energy and produces 85% fewer CO2 emissions per student than conventional face-to-face courses.”