Savvy businesses understand the importance of continuing education for employees at all levels. E-learning has been lauded as an exemplary tool for educating business and professional staff because of its adaptability. But is it really good for professional applications?
Clive Shepherd, who is the founding director of The More Than Blended Learning Company recently wrote an intriguing piece on the vital role of e-learning as a tool for businesses today entitled: “E-learning: what is it good for?”
The truth, according to Mr. Shepherd, is that e-learning is ineffective for delivering information, reminding us that we would see it everywhere if that were the case. He also points out that he never recommends that his clients use e-learning as a resource for delivering information.
Statistically speaking, there’s wide support for Shepherd’s assertions. eLearning Industry reporting that corporations are citing e-learning as the second most valuable training method they utilize due to the cost savings of at least 50 percent and instruction time reduction of 60 percent
Through its infographic, HRZone adds another dimension to e-learning worth considering in that it helps businesses boost productivity by up to 50 percent. More importantly, for businesses concerned about employee turnover, 12 percent of HR managers listed a lack of training as the top reasons employees leave businesses.
Shepherd believes there’s a little more to it than that, pointing out that e-learning provides learning opportunities that are “primarily interactive in nature.”
What types of learning interactive learning does this include according to Mr. Shepherd?
Assessments. Mr. Shepherd believes that the more interactive learning materials are, the more effective they will be. While current technology offers little more than multiple choice quizzes, look for future technology to literally transform this process offering new ways to determine mastery of new skills or knowledge levels in certain areas.
Performance Support. This is an area where the focus is on the ability to troubleshoot problems and make informed decisions – even in cases where options aren’t easily presented due to the wide range of variables. Learning in these cases is incidental, though certainly possible, as the focus is purely on problem solving.
Discovery. Employees gain insight regarding important principles through case studies, strategy games, simulations, and scenarios. These challenges vary in complexity and realism, but it is best to make them as applicable to your business and as realistic as possible for a realistic challenge and learning opportunity.
Drill and Practice. While this philosophy of education has been used for millennia in the education process, e-learning opens new doors in business to make this part of the learning process more game-like and enjoyable.
We agree that educating people in a manner that doesn’t feel institutional is sometimes the best way to go when teaching important concepts and practice. We also agree with Mr. Shepherd’s stance on tutorials, in that they can be a challenge when it comes to e-learning. It must be done well in order to be effective, offering “continuous dialogue between the learner and the software.”
Businesses today face plenty of challenges. Whether you’re interested in general employee training, teaching the latest safety techniques, offering cyber security workshops and educational programming, implementing sensitivity training, keeping up certifications, or you’re looking for new ways to engage your employees and get them excited about the business at hand, e-learning offers many opportunities to share your message in a manner that will stick with your employees long after the instruction ends.