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Benefits of e-Learning

First published: 30 Dec 2020
Author: Dr David Scrimshire
Company: TEC Transnational Ltd
Original article: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/benefits-e-learning-dr-david-scrimshire/

What is the purpose of training and development?

From the point of view of organizations and individual employees, there are several main aims of training in general –

  • Expand the individual’s level of knowledge, confidence, and ability
  • Increase an individual’s skill in one or more areas of expertise
  • Re-energize the individual’s interest and passion from learning new things
  • Enhance an individual’s motivation to perform their job well
  • Boost staff retention and loyalty
  • Meet customer expectations for competence in new standards and quality tools
  • Increase overall productivity and performance – enhance company reputation
  • We are aware that organisations are forced to operate in an uncertain and now complex business climate – exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and its catastrophic effect on the supply chain.

Nevertheless, customers are still requiring suppliers to comply with new standards and have their staff competent in the use of complex analytical tools.

A training provider with a proven track record, certifications and approvals can deliver the necessary training, but questions remain –

  • can this be done remotely?
  • will competency be guaranteed?
  • what are the cost and convenience savings?
  • is there a best way?

Why won’t basic on-line training do the job?

Traditional ‘death-by-PowerPoint’ won’t do the trick whether delivered face-to-face or on-line – but why not? The main reasons are that –

  • there is no guarantee that individual learners will be fully engaged throughout the course – its ‘synchronous learning’ slide-after-slide
  • consequently, there is no way of checking that individual learners will have understood every aspect of the course
  • if they have to sit a written exam at the end of the course and fail then the entire exercise has been a waste of time/money – if they pass then this cannot prove that they now have the skills to use the newly acquired knowledge in the work environment

There are also many practical drawbacks –

  • the course is trainer-led and dependent on her/his charisma and experience
  • the learners must attend the course at the same time
  • there is no individual learner engagement
  • if there are exercises then all learners must work at the same pace
  • there is no individual student test-of-understanding during the course
  • learners cannot re-run courses – they would have to pay for/attend another session
  • Significantly, the cost when delivered on-line tends to be comparable to face-to-face training less the venue expenses!

How does e-Learning deliver success? In contrast, e-Learning is ‘asynchronous learning’ which is a people-centred teaching method. Its basic premise is that learning can occur in different times and places particular to each learner, as opposed to traditional ‘synchronous’ learning which is delivered at a same time-and-place with groups of learners and their instructor.

e-Learning courses –

  • are designed from scratch by subject-experts … using specialist software
  • in-built capability for knowledge/skills checking
  • instant feedback supplied automatically to confirm or correct a learner’s actions
  • set up a learning path, which learners engage with at their own pace
  • use highly structured sessions comprising bite-sized modules …
  • every module provides new information and illustrations
  • knowledge/skills checked with Quizzes, Tests and Exercises
  • immediate feedback and correction to ensure correct understanding
  • exam-fear is eliminated!
  • are accessed on-line – any devices, anywhere and at any time
  • learners don’t have to study at the same time – they take control of their own timetables
  • guarantee that every student is fully engaged all of the time
  • with other forms of on-line training and, of course, face-to-face training, some learners will be engaged others not – none are likely to be engaged all of the time!
  • personally ‘acknowledge’ the progress of every learner as they systematically work through the sessions/modules
  • provide systematic collection of ‘insights’
  • progress of every learner is monitored – how far have they progressed, which elements have they had difficulty with, etc.
  • learners can e-mail individual questions as and when necessary
  • common ‘areas of difficulty’ are identified and acted upon
  • provide a positive experience for all learners –
  • Interactivity
  • Learner engagement
  • Acknowledgement (how am I doing? – how far have I got?)
  • Recognition (course certificates e-mailed directly to each learner on completion)

What are the cost benefits? When compared to face-to-face or conventional on-line training the cost-per-learner is significantly lower, also –

  • learners don’t have to participate at the same time
  • off-the-job time is scheduled for convenience
  • scalability (one student or dozens)
  • e-Learning courses are available in perpetuity – no additional cost!
  • learners can revisit any session/module or even re-do the entire e-Learning course anytime
  • only reasonable internet access needed

In short, the benefits of e-Learning –

BETTER ~ FASTER ~ CHEAPER

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