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The pros (and cons) of e-learning at the workplace
There aren’t enough hours in the day for an average office worker to complete everything on the to-do list. Between the stand-up meetings, weekly updates, conference calls and emails, there is barely enough time for some actual work to be done. Now imagine piling on a series of corporate training programmes, each session lasting an hour or two outside the office — it’s tough to be a good time manager these days.
That is part of the reason why e-learning has become such a popular tool when it comes to corporate training. With the rapid scale of globalisation and the advent of technologies like video conferencing, the e-learning market is estimated to grow to US$200 billion by 2024, according to a report by Global Markets Insights. A separate Reuters report even pegs the market value at US$398 billion by 2026.
Here are a few advantages of incorporating e-learning into your training programme.
It’s convenient and flexible
The most obvious benefit of e-learning is the fact that multiple employees can participate in the training at the same time despite different geographics and time zones. They can also receive the same training — and the same quality of training — from a single source. Furthermore, since training materials are oftentimes made available online, trainees can easily train up at their own pace and time, catering to different learning styles and abilities.
While e-learning platforms don’t come cheap, they are certainly well worth the investment. For one, since the entire training programme sits online, all the trainees need are computers and active internet connections — no more worries about travel expenses, physical training materials and event venues. E-learning materials, too, can be used repeatedly, which means that the same course can be stretched across multiple trainees.
The results are measurable
A training programme is only as useful as the results it produces. The great thing about e-learning is that you can quickly and easily pull up the necessary data, such as completion rates, forum engagement, the overall grades, as well as the average time it took for the trainees to complete a particular course.
It puts the ‘fun’ back into learning
Just because it is a corporate training programme doesn’t mean that it can’t also be fun and engaging. Aside from presentation notes and videos, many e-learning programmes also incorporate a gaming element, whereby trainees engage in friendly competitions to see who can get higher scores or complete certain modules faster. Forbes even cited examples of companies using AR and VR technologies in their corporate e-learning programmes. An added bonus is that interactions can also help build a positive team culture and a sense of camaraderie, especially through features like forum discussions.
After waxing lyrical about the benefits of e-learning, there are some potential pitfalls that employers have to consider.
Lack of control
Truth be told, the benefits of e-learning is predicated on the fact that trainees have self discipline. Since they can set their own time and target, the problem comes when they fall behind fellow trainees and start blazing through the questions without actually absorbing the lessons.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution
Speaking of learning at your own pace and time, e-learning can be an isolating experience, since it essentially removes the human interface in learning. Furthermore, for less tech-savvy trainees, e-learning might be a daunting experience no matter how user-friendly the platform is.