How E-learning is Shaping the Future of Employee Training

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Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, e-learning was growing at a dramatic rate.

But with work from home orders during the pandemic – and the strong preference of most employees to retain some of this flexibility moving forward – e-learning is going to be shaping the future of employee training for decades to come.

This is great news for employers as well as employees. Because e-learning can be cost-effective, flexible, and agile. It can also boost productivity and offer proven increases in the quality of learning outcomes.

If you’re considering adapting your current training to an online learning model, here are a few things it’s good to bear in mind.

The rise of e-learning

It’s worth knowing just how omnipresent online learning is becoming. The e-learning market (valued at around £204 billion in 2020) is expected to reach around £408 billion by 2027. A recent survey found that:

  • Over 40% of Fortune 500 companies already “extensively” use e-learning
  • 59% of training professionals were spending more time on e-learning in recent years

This has all been greatly accelerated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the modern workplace. During the pandemic, over 98% of organisations used some form of e-learning. Since then, few have transitioned wholly away.

The rise of e-learning can also be linked to the rapidly accelerating shift in perceptions away from online training being seen as something that is used to essentially pay lip service to corporate health and safety concerns.

Today, it is a central pillar of the way professional training is delivered by some of the largest and most successful organisations in the world.

The solution to all kinds of business communication challenges

Online learning offers a highly effective alternative to a wide variety of business processes. Organisations around the world are building e-learning into areas that include:

  • New hire training and onboarding – this is the area where most leaders initially see e-learning playing a role in their organisation. Yet it’s far from the only way it can contribute.
  • Product information and training – putting product instructional information in the form of online videos and the like can minimise expenditure in a wide variety of processes.
  • New initiatives and roll-outs – implementing a new process or company-wide standard? Disseminate the information widely and clearly – and even across language and cultural barriers – with an effective online learning solution.
  • Career progression and advancement – e-learning makes enabling access to career advancement materials and training for diverse employees easier than ever before.
  • Mental health, cybersecurity, and other key areas – the recognition of the importance of employee mental health and the vital nature of cybersecurity knowledge are examples of areas where organisations use e-learning to drive results.

The benefits of e-learning

1) Online training provides agility

There are many reasons why so many organisations have found e-learning to be hugely advantageous. The most obvious reason, heavily underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic, is the agility and flexibility this kind of training offers.

The recent historic run of massively disruptive unexpected events like pandemics and economic shocks has shown that organisations that can pivot rapidly to changing environments tend to perform better than those that can’t.

Properly implemented online training has allowed organisations large and small to successfully manage and thrive despite the unexpected.

2) E-learning is cost-effective

Travel. Management. Event or course preparation. Facilities. Many of the costs associated with traditional in-person training activities aren’t required by the online learning process.

There is also a great deal of research that shows the majority of resources committed to career advancement and internal training programs by many organisations are essentially wasted through poor targeting of specific parts of the learning process.

Effective e-learning does require resources to produce. It calls for the attention of several different specialists and a variety of expertise. Yet by comparison with in-person training, it is far more cost-effective.

All in all, it’s been estimated that many organisations could save well over 50% of their training costs by switching to an e-learning model.

3) E-learning gives learners flexibility

Most skilled educators have known for a long time that each learner has their own needs and a schedule that will allow them to achieve the best learning outcomes. By putting the learner in control of when and where they learn, online learning maximises the ability of each student to achieve those outcomes.

This self-paced approach to learning routinely delivers better results. It has even been shown to enable trainees to complete course materials in as much as 40-60% less time.

Moving forward, the availability of e-learning is also going to be a desired work benefit for talented employees looking for job opportunities offering the best work-life balance (something the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us can be achieved through the introduction of more remote and flexible working models).

This will drive future staff retention and recruitment for a huge number of organisations. It’s no good enabling recruitment from a global talent pool by transitioning to a remote working model if you then demand that your team travels to a central office location on the other side of the world for training.

4) Online learning drives engagement and outcomes

E-learning can include a dynamic variety of different modules and material types. Video. Audio. Infographics. Animations. Interactive scenarios. Micro-learning modules.

This variety has been shown to improve learning outcomes for the many different types of learners out there. Whether predominantly a visual or auditory learner, for example, a person can receive information in a way that makes sense for them.

  • Faster course completion – global industry leaders like IBM have reported that employees successfully completed significantly more learning material (as much as five times more) when it was presented to them in an online format as opposed to in-person.
  • Better information retention and engagement – the Research Institute of America also found that e-learning boosted knowledge retention rates by as much as 60%.

Impressive figures like these are driving the massive expansion of e-learning as part of corporate training programs around the world.

5) E-learning enables global talent reach and expansion

Online learning is becoming the go-to choice for delivering training programs most especially for multinational and global corporations.

Because no matter where your learners are, with proper localisation of e-learning materials, they can achieve equal outcomes. This ensures that brand guidelines can be adhered to and standards maintained no matter where in the world you do business.

It also enables easy relocation or re-skilling of employees wherever they happen to be based, including remote workforces. This can all happen simultaneously, despite differences in time zones, because learners can access the materials whenever it is best for them.

Of course, this requires skilled localisation if you want to ensure the clarity and authority – not to mention aims and desired outcomes – of your original course are maintained across language and cultural barriers.

When done correctly, this enables you to recruit from a global talent pool. Safe in the knowledge that you can deliver an onboarding process that’s easily accessible for any new hire no matter where they happen to be based.

Transitioning to online learning is easy

With all of the obvious benefits of e-learning, it’s no surprise that many organisations are considering making it a larger part of their training processes.

A final, less-talked-about benefit of e-learning is that transitioning any or all of your existing materials to this format can be relatively straightforward – as long as you have the right expertise in-house or externally.

Leveraging e-learning’s ability to expand your training and recruitment reach worldwide is equally simple with the right Language Service Provider.

Shape the future of your employee training with e-learning

Successful organisations around the world are incorporating more e-learning into all kinds of business processes. From onboarding to roll-outs of new standards or software to product information “training”, there are many areas where online learning can be highly effective.

This is all driven by the unique benefits of e-learning. Chiefly, the flexibility it offers for organisations and learners, its cost-effective nature, and the better outcomes and incredible reach it provides.

Properly developed and deployed, e-learning solutions are going to allow businesses of all types and scales to achieve better results in all kinds of mission-critical activities in the future.

Need to extend the reach of your e-learning to other regions, languages, and cultures?

Kwintessential helps organisations including the BBC, Facebook, Marks & Spencer and dozens of others cross language barriers successfully.

Let’s talk. Get a free, no-obligation quote or find out more about getting the e-learning localisation you need today.

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