by Ryan O’Connell, Director of GLAD Solutions
Everyone learns in different ways. That’s a fact. The success of learning methods can significantly differ from person to person, but all the way up from school to the workplace, we’ve largely learnt in similar ways. Delivering training programmes at work can be time intensive and costly, not to mention that the material might be difficult to explain. Being able to rely on e-learning modules to cover tricky concepts in an engaging, cost-effective way allows learners to take everything in at their own pace.
There’s an important role for e-learning to play in helping employees participate in additional learning opportunities and essentially, get better at their jobs.
So, what do learners want? Learners are asking for personalised, mobile and self-paced learning programmes. There can be a big difference between the type of training that’s delivered and the preferences of employees. Face-to-face training and presentation formats have their place, but to apply them in all circumstances, no matter the programme content, is not always going to achieve the results you need.
By having an elearning programme in place for suitable content, your organisation will be in sync with a digitised society and complement the ascendancy of smartphone usage. Digital learning content makes it easier for employees to learn and accessed when they want it.
It’s possible to drastically reduce the time employees need away from the workplace, travel time and content delivery time when using e-learning programmes. With face-to-face delivery, there’s always going to be a limit to how quickly content can be covered; employees can’t skip parts they’re already familiar with, such as aspects of management training and ice-breakers and wrap-ups can take up precious time. Employees don’t have to follow the pace of their peers when using an e-learning programme, they can learn at their own pace. Flexible learning mirrors employee’s desire for more flexibility in the workplace.
If you’re having trouble trying to deliver difficult concepts in an engaging way then e-learning can help to freshen up your content and approach. It’s essential that compliance training is delivered in an effective, engaging way. By using compliance training elearning to do this is an astute example of how organisations can re-package content and improve an employee’s knowledge retention and their ability to apply what they’ve learnt. Being able to measure results allows content to be tweaked, so in the long-term employees can learn more effectively and become productive members of a workforce more quickly.
Taking away the costs of hiring someone to deliver engaging content, travel and accommodation costs and renting out a space can enable an organisation to be more cost-effective and divert money to other areas. It can also have a beneficial impact environmentally. Having e-learning programmes for specific content can reduce learning and development costs in the long-term. With effective e-learning, the overall profitability of an organisation can increase, because of the immediate benefits of good content delivery to employees and the application of new knowledge.
With face-to-face learning styles, it’s difficult to measure if information is being retained by employees and if they are actively learning. With e-learning and learning management systems, it’s possible to analyse and measure the success of training programmes and make consistent changes to content. This is especially important when important concepts like compliance training need to be grasped by employees. There can be inconsistencies with the delivery of face-to-face programmes, but e-learning allows a uniform approach. Tracking progress and having a reporting suite makes it easier to demonstrate the effectiveness and value of elearning.
When face-to-face programmes and elearning are combined in a blended learning format, the results can be extremely positive. Some topics are best when they’re covered by engaging trainers that can work closely with employees, but other content is more effective when it can be self-paced and repackaged in a bite-sized, easily digestible elearning setup. Programmes such as health and safety training can be made more manageable and interactive. Gamification allows traditional topics to be given a new lease of life and turned into a more engaging activity. Face-to-face and elearning can combine to give your organisation an informative, fun and results-driven approach to training programmes.
E-learning is an important way of delivering knowledge and ensuring that employees retain what they’ve learnt and can apply it properly. Used in conjunction with other methods, elearning has a key role to play in the way training programmes are delivered and a productive, profitable organisation.
Ryan O’Connell is the Director of GLAD Solutions, offering expertise, consultancy and solutions in the learning technologies market. Ryan and his team specialise in elearning development and Learning Management System (LMS) and Talent Management System (TMS) implementations and consultancy.