5 Reasons to Implement E-Learning

Productive womanFrom a business perspective, there are arguably five (5) main drivers for implementing e-learning (learning technologies):

1. Build staff productivity

The business decision to employ anyone is all about productivity. What an employee costs an employer must be a fraction of the profit he or she contributes to the business.

To be productive requires staff to have a sense of urgency; to be driven to problem-solve and exceed customer expectations. Much of this is an internal motivation which, arguably, e-learning cannot address.

What e-learning can do is provide the ‘just-in-time’ performance support required for staff to work more efficiently and effectively which, in turn, drives productivity.

E-Learning options – mobile productivity apps for staff in the field, social networks that help people find the expertise they need, knowledge refreshers delivered via webinar, and procedural “how to” videos.

2. Build efficiencies in staff development

No longer can most organisations afford staff to attend 3 day classroom training programs. Not only is it costly to run such programs, but many organisations can’t afford staff to be away from clients and other business activities for that length of time. In these instances, the challenge is to achieve similar learning outcomes using blended learning. Done right, blended learning can in-fact improve learning transfer back into the workplace because the learning can be chunked and sequenced over a longer period of time and embedded into workflow.

E-Learning options

  • Before the classroom: Webinar pre-brief, foundation content delivered via video, pre-work completed in the workplace with manager as coach.
  • Classroom: Reduced from 3 days to 1 day. Use the classroom time to develop meta-perspectives and to practice.
  • After the classroom: Webinar ‘check in’, workplace mentoring, online and mobile performance support tools (job aids, procedural videos etc).


3. Manage risk

Like it or not, demand for managing corporate risk and demonstrating evidence of staff competency will grow, and Learning Management Systems (LMS) will continue to play a vital role in providing the evidence to demonstrate that staff have been exposed to and have passed an assessment on critical content.

Our greatest challenge is to ensure the quality of e-learning courses – to be an advocate of good instructional design, visual design and assessment.

4. Attract and maintain staff

The recruitment cycle begins with strategies to attract staff. Employers with a reputation for innovative staff development and support are high on the prority list of employee candidates. Spend a moment searching “Staff Retention” in Google, and you will see learning and development, mentoring, coaching and development planning as proven methods to engage, motivate and retain staff. Ask yourself:

  • What do employee candidates know about the effectiveness of your staff development programs and tools?
  • How is your Induction program perceived by new employees?
  • How does your learning and development strategy score during staff exit interviews?

Organisations who have embraced technology to develop skills and support staff performance are likely to be perceived as innovative and supportive – an employer who cares about and prioritises the development of their people.

Remember, staff talk amongst themselves, within industries and amongst friends. E-Learning done well is an obvious point of differentiation. And, if you’re doing e-learning well, then why not let employee candidates know. Be sure to showcase your staff development at graduate open days, and brief your recruitment agencies on the success of your learning technology strategy.

5.  Revenue stream

Some training companies and not-for-profit organisations look to develop e-learning as a revenue stream. They see an opportunity, such as a generic training requirement (e.g. safety induction) and continuing professional education (CPE) requirement. Or, they want to respond to growing client interest in e-learning.

In my experience, it is difficult to develop a viable revenue stream in e-learning – a theme for another blog post (see 5 Challenges Developing E-Learning as a revenue Stream). Be sure to do your homework. Analyse the market and work out your value proposition. Get at least one client prepared to buy your e-learning before you start development, and do your sums carefully. There is a lot of mediocre e-learning out there, and ‘mediocre’ is not the expectation of a paying audience. Be sure you know what you are compromising when deciding upon the ‘sweet spot’ between cost, quality and time. See my blog post Why E-Learning Projects Fail for more information.

I’d love to read your thoughts. Please feel free to comment.

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