Fast moving sectors like healthcare, IT, security and others change frequently. Workers in roles from network security to engineering to programming to marketing require access to education to keep up with current standards and best practices.
To meet this need, more and more HR departments are turning to eLearning to ensure that the people who work for their company have the training that they need. Research firm Bersin and Associates said that spending on Learning Management System (LMS) in 2013 closed at $2.55 billion worldwide; spending on self-paced eLearning as a whole had reached $35.6 billion by 2011 (the most recent number for which figures are available.) By 2016, companies and individuals are expected to spend $51.6 billion a year on eLearning.
What Is eLearning?
eLearning is a group of learning alternatives that do not depend on the traditional classroom approach. Lessons can be delivered online or in hard copy on DVDs. Most eLearning courses will include a mix of video lectures, written lessons and interactive quizzes. eLearning can be done on-campus during the working day or remotely from an employee's home after hours. Many eLearning programs are available as software as a system (SaaS). This allows learners to access lessons from home or office. Many SaaS options are also mobile-friendly, which is a great perk in the increasing number of offices with bring your own device (BYOD) policies.
Save Your Company's Money
Sending employees to traditional classrooms is expensive, especially when they must travel for specialized training. With eLearning, the people who work for you can study right where they are. Because most eLearning courses are pre-recorded, the price is usually much lower than the cost of hiring an instructor and securing a space to teach in real time. In many cases, training materials can be purchased once and used repeatedly, lowering the cost per employee over time.
Make Learning Convenient and Easy for Your Workers
Pre-recorded eLearning classes can be taken during work hours, in the evenings or on weekends. Students can tune in for a single lecture or grind through several hours of modules at a stretch. When employees learn at their own pace, they are more likely to retain the information from the course.
While some employees may be less than 100% enthusiastic about required classes, such as compliance classes and recertifications, being able to choose the times that they study goes a long way toward worker satisfaction. eLearning courses can save workers time. Syberworks discovered that eLearning led to a 40% reduction in time needed to complete a course. On a 50 hour recertification course, this can result in a savings of 20 working hours. Plus, when employees train on-site, they are available should urgent needs related to their jobs arise.
Education as a Workplace Perk
Money isn't the only motivator in the workplace; it's not even the most important one. Researchers discovered that learning and using your skills are far more meaningful for happiness in the workplace.
Many fields change dramatically over short periods of time. Innovations and discoveries introduce new and better ways of getting things done, especially in fields like marketing, programming and network security.
By offering a range of eLearning options, you can make it easy for employees at your company to continually expand their abilities. This doesn't just help their personal worth as employees; it gives your business a better-trained, more skillful pool of talent.
Establish Consistent Standards Throughout Your Company
Government, healthcare, mining and many other sectors require periodic training for employees. Recertification in safety practices, for instance, is necessary to retain certain licenses. And, having training in-house means that otherwise promising candidates who lack a specific certification or license can be hired and then trained on the job.
When you set up eLearning for the employees at your company, you can ensure not just that everyone is up to standards but that everyone is trained to the same standards. A quality learning management system (LMS) can be used to administer courses, track workers' progress and document completion of classes.
This saves the HR department time because you are not stuck chasing down certifications from everywhere to make sure that they are compliant. When you offer a preferred in-house eLearning option, you know just what everyone is learning and whether it's up to regulatory snuff.
Getting the Most Out of eLearning for Your Company
While eLearning is good for companies, you need to leverage it in just the right way to get a competitive edge. A few tips for best eLearning practices:
- Look at accreditation and reviews of eLearning courses and companies. This is especially important for federally required certifications.
- Price isn't the only consideration. The cheapest eLearning option may be plagued by bugs, poor interface or sub-standard content.
- Seek the eLearning options that will give the people who work for you the most flexibility. When courses can be completed on an employee's own terms, it leads to higher morale and better learning.
- Offer a wide variety of voluntary courses to your employees. They will use them to increase their own skills, making them more valuable to your organization.