Why E-learning Is Essential – The 5 Efficiencies of E-learning
April 5, 2022
By Chris Scadden
Head of Training
E-learning is a must-have learning tool for everyone. Here are five compelling reasons for why everyone should have access to e-learning.
1. Time Efficient
Well-designed e-learning is quicker than traditional instructor-led training (ILT). Content is focused on specific objectives that can be covered in about five minutes. Gone are the days when a single module would take more than an hour. We live in a time of short, on-demand, focused content – five minutes at a time to fit in a coffee break or between other activities. If it’s a big topic, then fine, there can be enough modules to cover them all, but each one should be short in duration. The content is designed to build up the topic a block at a time, introducing features in a logical manner.
This leads to another time efficiency: focused objectives; quite a lot of time in ILT is spent with a degree of preamble by the instructor. There’s always going to be some repetition, gaps, further explanation, group chat that is not relevant, crossover into other topics, deviation from objectives, and so on. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – a good instructor builds up rapport with their students – but with well-designed e-learning content the explanation is very precise and the gaps and repetition are removed. It stays on track for the topic, does not deviate, and can be delivered much more quickly than ILT.
E-learning is always there, waiting to be utilized, and the student may not need to know the content until they are ready for it. This is just-in-time learning. Imagine that you have to carry out a particular process next month – say changing the wheels on your car from summer to winter tires. You can wait until the moment that you need the content and take it then.
E-learning can be taken any time by the learner – whenever they want at a time of their choosing that suits them best. At a time when most of us lead busy lives, having to take time out of our busy schedules to attend traditional instructor-led classes can be very inconvenient. With e-learning, students can consume content in a way that fits around work or personal commitments. It can also be taken wherever is best suited. The ideal learning environment in a classroom can vary from student to student: is it too warm or too cold? Is the chair not comfortable? Are there any particular needs? With e-learning each student can consume in the environment of their choice.
E-learning can be rolled out quickly. It is the ultimate in scalability and consistency. You have a need to train one person, a team or department, or the entire company quickly? E-learning can do it. Everyone can get the same content, meaning you have consistency. You want the same on-boarding training delivered to all your new hires? E-learning!
2. Cost Efficient
ILT is expensive. Sending students away on a training class means paying for their travel, accommodation, and expenses. 50% of the training budget is often used just for these expenses. If you factor in that you might have a lot of students to train, then ILT just does not scale as well as e-learning; the costs just go up. Even if you don’t send students away for training and host it yourself, there are still the costs for having your own facilities and investment in a classroom.
Even if ILT is required, then e-learning can still be used as part of the overall training delivery. E-learning can reduce the time and cost of ILT by covering essential topics that can be completed by the student as prerequisites to attending the ILT.
Utilizing e-learning can save at least 50% on overall training costs.
3. Knowledge Efficient
Well-designed content will be retained more. E-learning should not be a one-way broadcast but should fully involve the student, with plenty of interaction. Infinera e-learning requires students to click on menus and configure and provision as necessary, so they are not left to take in learning passively. Remember that e-learning is always there on demand, so students can retake previous training to reinforce their knowledge.
Testing is a vital element of the e-learning environment. Content is designed with focused objectives, and students should demonstrate their understanding of the objectives with a test. A good test will cover all the objectives.
4. Team Efficient
With scalable, repeatable e-learning available to everyone, then the benefit of staff retention will be realized. Trained staff are happier staff and are more likely to stay in their roles and seek growth with their current employer, because another team efficiency from e-learning revolves around succession planning. When someone does leave their role, then having on-demand e-learning helps ramp up the team member stepping up into their new position. When new hires join the team then they can integrate quickly by using e-learning as part of their onboarding plans.
What better way to build a culture of cross-functional teamwork that by subject matter experts (SME) collaborating with the e-learning development team? The e-learning development team members are not the experts – they simply take the information from the SME and design the e-learning with their input. It creates a culture where we help each other learn and produce quality, worthwhile content to benefit learners across the business, which contributes to the earlier point about having better trained and motivated staff with increased job satisfaction.
5. Data Efficient
Data is crucial for any business and e-learning brings data – a lot of it! A wide range of reports are available, which is useful for managers who can see what courses have been undertaken by their team and what exams have been passed, certifications achieved and so on. If a manager has built objectives or goals for their team that include completing e-learning or passing tests or certifications, then the data from the e-learning system will show this.
Data is needed to show that your employees are up to date with the latest legislative requirements or from a health and safety perspective to show they are safe to work in their environment. You can use the analytics to prove that team members are qualified to work on certain projects or away on sites.
The business may have certain ethics, cultural values, or mission statements that they align their business with. E-learning that supports these principles will have reports available to show employees have received their training and have understood, it which will make the business more likely to succeed on achieving their stated principles and values.