E-learning: The Best Option for 2018?

By Matt Corker

Here’s the truth: your employees want training. One of the biggest reasons for turnover in the workplace is a lack of training and development. Employees are 42 per cent more likely to stay at a job when they’ve received the appropriate training.

In-person, instructor-led corporate training has been regarded as the holy grail in the corporate world; after “mentoring and coaching from a supervisor,” instructor led training has been considered the most effective and sought after development opportunity in one’s career. This in-person training can come in the form of an in-house workshop, seminar, or attending an external conference or course.

According to the 2017 Training Industry Report, training costs rose 32.5 per cent from 2016 to $90.6 billion. While the increased expense may look good to the untrained eye – this increase was mainly due to increased spending on travel, accommodations, rented AV equipment, room rental costs, and other resources outside of training staff and direct training costs. In other words, companies spent most of their budgets on putting the training on rather than on the training itself.

Problem: in-person training doesn’t scale with your business.
The more staff you have, in more locations around the world, the more expensive in-person training becomes.

Enter the obvious solution: e-learning.
It provides a consistent training experience that is accessible from anywhere.

It is ready to be started when the learner is ready – accounting for vacations, parental leaves, promotions, or big project deadlines that tend to kibosh corporate training calendars.

It removes the externality costs of training – goodbye flight and hotel expenses! Learners get to learn where they are.

It is also more environmentally friendly – decreasing paper print outs and carbon emissions from air and car travel.

Problem: only 10% of people taking online courses actually finish the course.
This is because online courses often lack accountability and community – so it is easy to become a passive and bored learner. In most online programs, you aren’t required to engage in the program or content. You merely need to click through and take a test at the end.

Enter blended learning.
In 2018, our hope is that more companies adopt a blended learning approach in their training programs – combining e-learning with live experiences. This leverages the consistency and benefits of e-learning, and the accountability and engagement created by live conversations.

This could involve using online content – be it a specific training program or open-sourced video or podcasts – and coupling it with live, instructor-led sessions.

These sessions, however, don’t need to be held “in-person.” With reliable video conferencing platforms now being the norm, instructors can host live conversations easily via platforms like Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts. So, in essence, all training can be experienced online – yet the engagement and effectiveness are much higher than only training using one format on its own.

Furthermore, e-learning is often most desirable for introverted learners as they like to take the time to reflect and digest what is being presented before sharing their views. These learners have traditionally been perceived as “disengaged” in live sessions as they aren’t the first to share or contribute. Blended learning caters more to different learning styles – allowing all participants a chance to discover, reflect, and question the material being talked about live before the live session occurs.

In a world with enough distractions and too many reasons to quit, blended learning is the best option for learners to stay engaged and most importantly: cross the finish line! Because perhaps what we need most right now is to finish what we start, every time.

Matt Corker is the man everyone wants to lead their team. He is a people consultant at The Corker Company and creator of the Manager Start Line, an online people management training program. Matt is a member of CPHR BC & Yukon.

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