eLearning employs technology to facilitate, enhance and expand educational content, access, and tracking (the “e” stands for electronic). Originally developed as a computer-based content delivery system for schools, eLearning is now embraced by all types of organizations, from large businesses to start-ups, government, non-profits, and trade associations. The top industries using eLearning include Healthcare, Technology, Retail and eCommerce, Education, and Construction.
Today, eLearning means much more than just delivering information. Available on a variety of digital devices, from desktop computers to smart phones and other handheld devices, eLearning is interactive, which significantly increases the amount of information people can learn and retain.
eLearning happens in a variety of ways, and a variety of terms are associated with it. Here is a brief glossary of definitions and examples:
eLearning has expanded rapidly because it is flexible, fast and delivers exceptional results.
Here are a few benefits:
1. eLearning improves ease and flexibility for users and content creators.
Content can be delivered to teams and individuals on-demand to their preferred devices, anytime, anywhere. The more self-paced, interactive access increases proficiency and allows learners to revisit information, re-take tests, and track their progress.
For content creators, subject matter experts and managers, eLearning means that curriculum can be easily updated, from tweaking verbiage to adding new information and visuals. This means your courses stay current!
2. eLearning speeds up productivity.
eLearning uses 40% to 60% less employee time compared to Instructor-Led Training, which often takes people away from their jobs for hours or days and can require travel costs.
3. People learn and retain more information through eLearning.
Memory retention dramatically improves with eLearning due to its ease of use, visual nature, and interactive experience. Plus, studies show that eLearning participants learn up to five times more material than traditional instruction, without increasing the time spent in training.
4. Tracking, analytics and dashboards ensures your organization meets your goals.
eLearning provides valuable metrics that management can use to test and improve training effectiveness. Also, eLearners and their managers can track individual progress and performance, which improves compliance.
Nearly any subject is appropriate for eLearning, including:
The up-front cost of off-the-shelf eLearning programs may seem attractive, but often costs more in the long run. Customizing eLearning brings several valuable benefits that improve overall effectiveness:
To appropriately scope an eLearning project, you need to answer several questions:
Building eLearning isn’t easy. To be done well, eLearning requires an exceptional array of skills and tools, which is why many companies hire specialty agencies or consultants to assist in building their eLearning programs.
Here are a few of the assets needed to successfully design eLearning programs:
Here are six best practices for eLearning:
If you have a series of Learning and Development programs, consider developing, delivering, and tracking those courses on a Learning Management System (LMS), accessible through a high-profile spot on your intranet.
To make sure people can easily find the courses they want and to promote an environment of continuous learning, place links to your LMS from relevant areas. For example, HR should have links to Orientation and OnBoarding eLearning programs.
eLearning can be very cost effective compared to face-to-face programs, despite the seemingly higher initial investment. An eLearning program means you no longer have to rely on and pay for travel, real-world training locations, on-site facilitation, and printing training materials.
Plus, with eLearning, your people spend less time in training and more time at work. They learn more material faster, and the information has better staying power, which means less re-training. You can easily update information. And you have automatic and accurate monitoring and reporting tools.
A simple ROI formula is determined by the investment made (or cost incurred) over the value returned. In other words:
ROI = Gains/Costs
To determine the Costs, consider:
To determine the Gains, consider:
In addition to the above simple ROI formula, consider Kirkpatrick’s model of evaluation:
Level 1: Reaction is measured by getting feedback from learners.
Level 2: Learning is measured through course assessments.
Level 3: Behavioral changes can be measured through improvements in efficiency, manager feedback, or compliance monitoring results.
Level 4: Business impact is measured through productivity gains and quality measures.