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The Untapped Potential For E-Learning At Work

While e-Learning has skyrocketed in popularity over the past 5 years, companies are still not using this training format to its full potential. The Association for Talent Development’s 2014 State of the Industry report indicated that more than two-thirds of organizations’ formal learning hours still involve an instructor. Only twenty-five percent of training hours used were completed through an online course, and many of the online courses were still instructor-led. Only 16 percent of firms surveyed are currently using a self-paced online program. Adding technology platforms to your HR training plan provides a greater range of subjects at a reduced cost per learning hour. These benefits leave lots of room for growth in the e-Learning space.

Here’s a few ways using e-Learning will benefit your HR training programs:

On-Demand Sessions

The convenience of on-demand learning sessions make them a popular choice for training. Teams can easily fit the training into their schedule during downtimes, and quickly access the material when they have a time sensitive question. In addition, the younger workforce has come to expect a wide offering of e-learning courses in the office. In Bersin by Deloitte’s report titled Predictions for 2015: Redesigning the Organization for a Rapidly Changing World, Bersin observed that “TED talks and YouTube have now set a standard for easy-to-find, easy-to-use video; Millennials will likely look for similar systems in your own company”. Providing a digital library of easy to find training sessions is identified as a best practice.

Customized Topics

Another key benefit for using e-Learning in your firm’s HR training plan is the ability to provide your teams with access to a wide variety of customized topics. Instructor-led courses are typically constrained by time and budget concerns, so the training topics need to appeal to the widest audience possible. Utilizing e-Learning gives you the flexibility to evaluate training subjects team-by-team to offer the most targeted content. e-Learning also makes it accessible for teams to learn about other skillsets used in the firm. For example, a project manager could take a course on basic accounting to understand why the accounting department requires such precision in their paperwork. Using e-Learning provides greater access to courses that would not normally be available.

Scalable Model

The reduced cost per training hour of e-Learning systems is also due to the ability to reach more people through a single session. Using e-Learning platforms take away the barriers of location and time zone. Instead of reaching thirty people in your local conference room, the training could reach thousands of team members around the globe. Over time, these individual courses grow into a rich library of firm-specific training content that is a valuable asset to your teams. Even instructor-led courses can be recorded and shared as future e-learning content. The ability to build a searchable database of training content is a huge advantage to using e-Learning systems.

Pooled Knowledge From Internal Teams

A growing trend in e-Learning is the concept of social learning, or peer-to-peer training sessions. Social learning gained popularity as a more efficient way to facilitate mentoring within your teams and across the firm. The concept is that anyone is able to share training sessions, and that team members can request specific training in areas they need to improve. These resources are especially valuable in industries where the technology is rapidly shifting. Making sure your teams have access to the latest training and certifications is imperative, and letting each team share this knowledge internally helps the HR team stay ahead of the curve. Providing open access for internal teams to share knowledge is an invaluable benefit of e-Learning systems.

With only a quarter of surveyed firms using online platforms in their HR learning plans, there’s a huge opportunity for improvement in this category. The added benefits of on-demand sessions, customized topics and pooled internal resources make e-Learning an attractive addition to your firm, and the reduced cost per learning hour makes one wonder why the transition hasn’t happened faster. The younger workforce has come to expect this type of technology, and that may be the push your company needs to invest in systems to keep their workforce competitive.