advantages of eLearning in workplace settings
Insights | April 19, 2022

The advantages of eLearning for organisations

6 minute read

The eLearning industry has grown a colossal 900% since 2000 and is showing no signs of slowing. Projected to be worth $325 billion within the next three years, eLearning is leading the way in helping businesses create a culture of learning while retaining and engaging top talent

Remote and hybrid workforces may still be a relatively new way of working, but online learning — first lauded around 1985 — has long since led the learning and development strategies of savvy organisations.

There are myriad benefits employers can anticipate from implementing eLearning in their organisation; from the less-tangible but highly significant reduction in environmental impact, through to higher employee engagement and course completion rates, meaning the case for online workplace learning has never been more evident.

In this article, we’ll be exploring the benefits of eLearning for employers, specifically. We’ll also be taking an objective look at the ways a managed digital transformation can deliver success in your business – and how you might galvanise your learning and development (L&D) teams to spearhead this process supported by the right technology.

 

Exploring the benefits of eLearning to an organisation: why is online learning non-negotiable?

The UK labour market saw an unprecedented number of hard-to-fill vacancies in 2021 — 1.2 million to be precise — a phenomenon better-known as the ‘Great Resignation’ in the USA. Nearly a quarter of UK businesses (23%) surveyed in Digits’ report — ‘Are we trained for work?’ — said they would increase wages as a way to address this issue, but with nearly a third (28%) of workers planning to look for a new job in 2022, organisations need to find more viable ways of retaining talent.

The pandemic has prompted many employees to critically evaluate their working life, with many realising their on-the-job learning and development opportunities are limited at best. Our report findings highlighted that a third of employers never offer their employees voluntary training, and 13% of organisations fail to offer any training at all.

Online learning can help businesses to fill this gap. eLearning can support L&D teams working to cultivate a learning- environment that encourages professional development and proactively provides learning opportunities for workers of all abilities. Businesses can reliably deliver on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives by providing accessible learning resources to all employees, regardless of their geographic location – a growing concern with remote workers.

However, employers can’t expect online learning to be the ‘silver bullet’ that solves the complex challenges of workplace learning and employee retention. A deliberate and decisive shift towards creating a learning culture, coupled with the right technology: this is where the ‘magic’ happens.

 

What is eLearning?

eLearning – also known as electronic or online learning – is the modern way of upskilling and re-skilling your workforce by using digital technologies including learning management systems (LMS) to deliver learning content and training activities.

Online learning has become popular in the wake of lockdowns and social restrictions, but it has been used by forward-thinking organisations for decades. eLearning is also popular in schools and universities, but throughout this article we will specifically be referencing the benefits of eLearning in the workplace.

To provide engaging and memorable eLearning activities, businesses need to ensure they’ve got the right technology to underpin their strategy and support the teams delivering learning content. Before committing, L&D teams should explore the best tech platforms for the organisation; would a learning management system offer better value than a learning experience platform (LXP), for example? When businesses have the right learning platforms and the best people to drive organisational change, the benefits of eLearning can be realised.

 

Advantages of eLearning in the workplace

The advantages of eLearning for employees are a direct reflection of the benefits to organisations. A happy employee will want to stay with your organisation, and the wealth of knowledge and skills they accumulate during their learning and development journey only adds value to both the employee and their employer. Other benefits of eLearning include:

  • eLearning offers exceptional suitability to all learning styles and preferences. From gamified and social learning, through to the Netflix style of learning — employees find online learning one of the most engaging and rewarding ways to develop their professional skills
  • It is both cost- and time-efficient, requiring limited involvement from your L&D team especially when choosing off-the-shelf content
  • Content can be modified and tailored as required, keeping pace with rapidly changing learning needs and evolving information
  • The intrinsic nature of digital learning appeals to a wide audience without excluding learners with limited or budding technical skills, while simultaneously driving higher engagement and completion rates across the board
  • The inherently lower environmental impact of eLearning also supports businesses’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) targets

While many of the benefits of eLearning for employees overlap with those for organisations, eLearning has some distinct advantages for employers.

 

Seven advantages of eLearning in workplace settings

1. eLearning is scalable

One solution for multiple needs. eLearning resources can be tailored to meet the needs of a varied workforce, making it one of the most reliable assets for your organisation. You can start small and work your way up, or you can use every tool at your disposal from the beginning.

eLearning journeys can help you onboard new starters more effectively, enabling them to familiarise themselves with your organisation, its various departments, and their new role at a pace they are comfortable with. Using eLearning for onboarding and inductions can minimise the learning curve for new starters, meaning they can start working on deliverables sooner.

Employers can also use eLearning to deliver management training, which not only supports teams and individuals in performing better in their roles, but encourages them to identify and support the learning needs of their direct reports. This ‘domino effect’ can have far-reaching, positive impacts for the wider business – financially, developmentally, and strategically.

 

2.     eLearning is agile

With one in four workers feeling they are not adequately trained to perform in their roles, organisations are faced with the challenge of finding a way to deliver the highest-quality training in the shortest amount of time, with as little business disruption as possible. eLearning content illustrates its agility in a few ways:

  • Tailored content formats — including video, audio, or text-based mediums — enable L&D teams to deliver valuable content in a way that helps employees consume and retain more information
  • On-demand access allows employees to dip in and out of learning activities at intervals that suit them; this means less ‘downtime’ for organisations, and a higher likelihood of employees completing courses
  • Without the limitations of a physical training room, new learning material can be delivered more rapidly, more often

In an era where time is money, speed of delivery contributes to one of the most tangible benefits of eLearning for organisations.

 

3.     eLearning is targeted

eLearning offers both broad and targeted learning at once. Every eLearning journey can be fully customised to address specific learning needs – for both internal and external stakeholders.

Organisations can effectively deliver optimised content to any stakeholder with minimal input. Familiarising suppliers with processes, for example, can be managed using eLearning materials to provide relevant content at the right time through an extended enterprise LMS. Field agents can be fully trained without ever needing to attend the office — freeing up more of their time to focus on their targets and deliverables. Similarly, deskless workers can access learning material using their mobile or tablet devices — equipping them with the skills and knowledge to fulfil their roles more effectively, and to take on new career opportunities.

Specific departments may need to undergo regulatory training – GDPR is a great example – and this can be managed through eLearning to ensure delivery of the most relevant, timely content while upholding full compliance.

 

4.     eLearning empowers

When organisations deliver on their promise to support their employees’ professional development needs, they can start to attract and retain more top talent. Not only are employees empowered through upskilling, but they feel valued.

Employees who participate in eLearning can consume nearly five times more material and retain up to 60% more information. Workers who retain more knowledge can implement and drive organisational change, and the ‘invisible’ benefit of empowerment lends well to improving brand affinity and cultivating a learning mindset.

 

5.     eLearning cuts costs without compromising quality

The cost of face-to-face training can be comparable with high-quality eLearning programmes, but digital learning activities offer a more outcome-focused approach to training and development.

Once a learning journey is created, it can be replicated across a variety of departments, topics, and learner groups – immediately reducing the cost of ongoing in-person training. eLearning can provide a more practical solution at scale with the added benefit of technological integrations, without increasing the cost.

You are in control of the learning content – whether curated, bespoke, or a combination of the two – so you need never worry about the quality of the learning material, nor a rising cost for higher quality training.

 

6.     eLearning ensures consistency

Distributing content from a central platform provides a single source of truth. This can eliminate mismatched information, creating clarity for managers and employees alike.

Using an LMS to deliver eLearning also gives you full visibility of learner engagement and activity completion rates. You can interpret data in real time and make informed decisions to ensure a consistent learning experience for all.

In-person training has many variables that can affect the delivery of learning content, whereas eLearning provides a repeatable, reliable framework for the delivery of great training material.

 

7.     eLearning platforms offer insights, analytics, and reporting

eLearning is typically delivered through an LMS, which should offer sophisticated reporting and analytics functionality. The right LMS offers pragmatic insights into engagement rates, where learners are spending more or less time, the most popular content, and many other datasets that can steer future learning and development plans.

With a 360-degree view of all learner activity, L&D teams have the information they need to shape strategies and drive professional development across your organisation.

 

eLearning is the ultimate solution for employees and organisations alike

eLearning may seem to be a single component of a successful employee experience, but it is a crucial one. With the right learning journeys formulated for your employees, you can realise your L&D strategy sooner.

Choosing the right eLearning platform can be daunting; as one of the longest-standing names in the industry, Digits is positioned to offer impartial advice on the best elements to look for in your next LMS.

If you’d like to see how Digits can deliver resounding success in your learning and development strategy, request a demo today.

Written By Beverley Da Silva

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