Distance Education Learning
It's budget time, how much will it cost me?
Is e-learning the solution for companies who want to train or retrain their employees during the financial crisis. If yes then the recipe for success might be to find a good e-learning provider, acquire an easy to use learning management system, steal the learning content and then pray. I'm being fascicious I know. However, I'm only mirroring what is probably being muted in every major company in North America and Europe at this point in time. It's budget time and from now until Christmas managers will be attempting to forecast their revenue and expenditure streams for 2010. One of the revenue streams, Oops, I mean capital investment streams, oh ok expense streams, will be employee training, The dilemma for these managers and their counterparts in the training and development department is what percentage of the training budget should be allocated to traditional stand up seminars and how much money should be allocated to e-learning solutions, e-learning content development, e-learning providers, or invest in e-learning tools. Perhaps, e-learning is not the whole answer, perhaps certain employees will need to have access to multimedia learning on specific workstations in a purpose built training room. Quite a dilema and one that many of you face at this time of year. In a previous life I was Head of Training and Development North America for Swiss Bank Corporation. I had the same dilema and quite simple I had to prove to my bosses and the budget committee that the bank would see a decent return on their investment in training.
Who is involved in e-learning UK?
Actually it's not that simple but perhaps the information below on what's currently going on in the UK and what are the advantages and disadvantages of e-learning learning will help your budget presentations.
So what is the e-learning news from the UK at the present time? Who is using e-learning solutions for their training needs. For a start over 80 colleges and universities are using some form of distance education learning much of it as blended learning integrated with traditional methods of learning. In addition 44 FTSE top 100 companies and 29 government departments are using e-learning. No wonder therefore there has been a plethora of some 92 e-learning providers as well as some 33 e-learning consultants. An interesting fact is that even though the UK is coming to the end of an economic crisis companies are already gearing up for life after the crisis and investing in training. So what are the drivers for e-learning strategies?
Locations for e-learning
The beauty of e-learning is that it can be accessed wherever there is an internet connection to:
- the home
- the desk top
- a learning center on site
- the laptop
Research conducted by KPMG consultants in the UK found that UK companies that implimented an integrated e-learning solution had improved their top line revenue by 0.5%. A phenominal acheivement. They managed this through reduction in time to market in conjuction with improved productivity of sales forces.
$7.5 million per annum top for FTSE 250 companies
IBM saved $200 million per annum putting 70% savings on line
BT trained 40,000 employees on internet protocol
Today's drivers for e-learning
One of the chief drivers of course is that training becomes more accessable to the learner. Thus training in theory becomes more efficient in terms of cost ($per employee) and in terms of retention. With e-learning technology it is not necessary to send employees away to expensive hotels for several days on seminars or on training courses. Employees can now learn in their own time at their own pace and repeat the learning until they have retained the information. Direct training costs are reduced dramatically, as well as indirect training costs such as travel, hotel, transport and food. Training can be delivered quicker and more efficiently by exploiting the company's intranet and internet facilities, be it at the employees desk or in a custom made learning center. A company that has developed company wide e-learning delivery systems can deliver a much wider range of content on demand (driven by the user) more efficiently than for example a traditional classroom training center. Finally, a compelling driver for any management team is that e-learning training if designed by professional instructional designers, can improve top line revenues. Content is king and within industry segements competition is high. Highly trained employees should have an edge over the competition and therefore have a positive affect on top line revenues.
How e-Learning transforms businesses
By blending traditional instructor led courses with internet enabled, learner centric education, businesses are able to combine on-line learning with knowledge management and internal communications. This tailored mix of technology and strategic change management improves the efficiency of learning by reducing more than 8 hours of classroom learning time to 3 to 4 hours of learning time with e-learning. Training can be accessed without travel by both instructor and learner and training time is shorter, more targeted and of course immediate. By developing a sophisticated learning management system e-learning can be tailored to the learner by topics of need or priority. Specific behavioral or technical feedback can be delivered through testing and database management on the basis of optimunm customer responses.
Studies have shown that interactive learning can result in an enhanced retention rate of between 30% and 90%. Why is this? Learners are more likely to remeber training which is targeted to immediate needs and to retain information which is put to immediate use. Interactive e-learning presents a diversity of ways for the learner to learn, such as sound, text, video and animation. Feedback is targeted to the learners performance and therefore the learner is able to target their learning needs. If designed well, e-learning delivers a harmonious message which is conducive to helping the learner learn. Recent research by Xerox Corporation has indicated that within 30 days there is a loss of retention if the learning is not applied in the workplace. Just in time e-learning addresses this very issue and prevents retention loss.
Retention - experts have proven that:
we retain 20% of what we see
we retain 30% of what we hear
we retain 50% of what is seen or heard
we retain 80% of what we see, hear or do simultaneously