Over the years, e-learning has become a necessary tool in modern businesses. Many industries, such as retail, financial services, or telecommunications, have successfully implemented it throughout history.
However, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an even greater focus on e-learning and its capability to transfer knowledge to various audiences anywhere and anytime.
The reasons for the transition to e-learning are straightforward: it is cheaper than traditional forms of learning, more flexible, and brings companies many other benefits.
With 90% of companies offering some form of e-learning and 68% of employees saying they prefer to learn at work, chances are that you’ve already implemented an e-learning platform in your company.
However, if you’re still unsure about switching to digital learning, this article will explain the concept and the potential benefits of implementing it in your business.
What Is E-learning?
Electronic learning refers to all forms of learning where we use digital media to teach something.
The media can be used for various purposes — for presenting or distributing learning materials or for teachers and course participants to communicate with each other.
Brief History of E-learning
From the mail stenography courses at the end of the XIX century and machines such as an automated teacher in 1928 and Glider in 1954, e-learning is continuously evolving.
One of the first examples of modern online learning was in 1968 at the University of Alberta, when the Department of Medicine taught a series of classes to over 20,000 learners via the IBM network.
Video courses were a prevalent form of e-learning for a while, used in company training from the beginning.
But, the real breakthrough happened with the development of the first computers and the internet, especially Web 2.0, which enabled interactive digital learning.
Types of E-learning
There are several types of e-learning:
- Computer-based learning
Based on the concept of self-study, learners use educational software on CDs or DVDs when and where they want. There usually isn’t any personal contact with teachers or other learners. If communication between them exists, it happens on a strict schedule.
- Web-based learning
In web-based learning, the learning resources are available online or on a company’s intranet. Teachers and students communicate directly through email, chats, conference calls, or news feeds.
- Virtual classrooms
Virtual classrooms are a form of web-based training based on live virtual courses. Teachers and learners communicate via chat or videoconference; they can present and share documents.
- Blended learning
This type of e-learning combines self-study with in-person consultations. This allows learners to deepen and test their knowledge and interact with the group. In addition, they receive personal feedback from their teachers.
- Mobile learning
Educational mobile apps often use microlearning — short lessons or tests to pass on knowledge, each taking only a few minutes. They often take the form of educational games, and the learners choose what and when they want to learn independently.
How Can E-learning Benefit Your Business?
Now that we’ve defined e-learning and explained its most common types, we can move on to analyzing all the benefits it may bring to your business compared to traditional forms of learning.
One of the main advantages of e-learning is its flexibility and convenience of use.
Your employees have different learning habits and needs that are hard to address in a traditional classroom. E-learning lets your employees create the optimal learning environment. They can learn wherever they want — on their commute, at home, or in the office.
Moreover, they can choose to learn whenever it suits them and do so at their own pace — in longer stints or shorter chunks.
With e-learning, your employees won’t need to waste extended time traveling to various locations. More often than not, all they need is a mobile device and a reliable internet connection, so they are less likely to skip their training sessions.
Imagine your employees need to learn Spanish in a short time frame as you expand your market. Considering all mentioned above, is it even possible to achieve this goal the other way?
E-learning is much more cost-efficient than traditional classroom education. Apart from saving significant amounts of organizational and employee time, it lets your business save on money and other resources.
For example, with online training, you don’t have to pay for hiring trainers, renting classrooms, learning materials, travel costs, or catering. You can even cut printing costs and save on energy sources by sending your employees digital learning resources instead of producing physical copies.
Traditional learning can pose an obstacle or cause stress for your employees. E-learning removes all the barriers, creating a more accessible and inclusive learning environment for everyone.
With modern technology, you can present information in a format that is easily accessible to your employees and tailored to fit their needs, providing your employees with a disability or sensory impairment equal access to training.
E-learning gives more choices regarding the courses and the skills your employees will advance.
When looking for traditional learning options, you are often limited to courses offered in your local community. With e-learning, your employees can join a broader range of online classes remotely without traveling to inconvenient locations at inconvenient times.
This way, your team can quickly gain the necessary skills to get ahead within your industry.
Higher Employee Satisfaction
One of the most common reasons employees leaves work is because they lack professional development and growth opportunities.
When a company invests time and money in its employees, they will be more engaged and motivated with their job and more likely to have a sense of general satisfaction and well-being.
By investing in employee training, you are investing in improving employee engagement and satisfaction, preventing churn, and creating a more content and fulfilled workforce.
Finally, a dedicated e-learning approach will help you improve your company’s performance and productivity.
If you’re considering implementing e-learning to enhance your employees’ engagement and workplace satisfaction, grow your business, and save on your resources — you have every reason to be optimistic. With e-learning, you can achieve all these goals and, at the same time, improve your bottom line.