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The rise of elearning is set to continue in 2015 pt2

11th Feb 2015
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Tony Willson concludes his piece about the key trends for the coming year in elearning.

Improved efficiencies

Learning times are also significantly reduced with elearning. A study by the Brandon-Hall Group reported that elearning typically requires from 40-60% less employee time than when the same material is delivered in a traditional classroom setting. This impacts considerably on down-time in industries such as construction or care, as a person can undertake a course in 30-40 minutes instead of having to attend a classroom for at least half a day. This represents a time saving of at least 80% - a figure that cannot be ignored in terms of profitability.

Improved productivity is obviously a major benefit of elearning. A recent IBM report found that companies who use elearning tools and strategies have the potential to boost productivity by 50%, and a Bersin & Associates study found that organisations with a strong learning culture are 46% more likely to be the leader in their industry. In 2015, this will become more apparent and attractive to businesses as they search for ways to work smarter and increase profitability and to stand out against their competitors

Taking all of the above into account, it is not too surprising that the elearning marketplace is expected to grow at an average of 23% year-on-year, between 2013 and 2017.

Another area of great advantage within the elearning arena is the use of Learning Management Systems which accompany most good elearning platforms. Organisations are always looking for more sophisticated methods of recording and tracking staff training and these will become more important and sophisticated to reduce administration and prove ROI and effectiveness.

The cost of elearning for basic subjects depends upon the amount of courses purchased but it ranges from £3-£4 for bulk buys to £30-£35 for single courses, compared with an average classroom course cost of around £40 per person for a day’s training (not including lost production time).

An additional saving from elearning is a significant reduction in administration time for training departments as, once a course is allocated, there are no signing in sheets, delegate lists, joining instructions or evaluations to deal with, and the LMSs associated with every delivery platform provide a host of information about the course, including such things as how long it took, test results and even which questions the person answered correctly and incorrectly.

Smarter elearning

We will also see further development and use in wearable elearning, through smart watches that will allow interactive virtual coaching sessions via a connected Bluetooth headset.

Reliance on elearning tools will also increase as the percentage of tech-savvy employees in the workplace rises. These individuals have grown up alongside many of the devices now being used in elearning so they are already proficient in their use and will expect to use them at work for a variety of activities. These devices include iPhones and smart phones for mobile learning, Nintendo DS and Sony PlayStation Portable for handheld learning and netbooks, tablets, laptops and e-readers for portable learning.

These and other advancements mean that more and more qualifications are being delivered via elearning such as in social care, the NHS, construction, financial services and IT – they are no longer used just for NVQs and QFCs. The suitability and therefore adoption of elearning by other industries will continue to increase throughout 2015 as technology and operating platforms become more sophisticated.

Another major pull is that elearning has virtually no ‘carbon footprint’ and therefore has minimum impact on the environment. As organisations have to be seen to focus more on their social corporate responsibilities, they can demonstrate that they are taking steps to reduce their environmental impact by using this method of training.

For all of these reasons, I am convinced that elearning is definitely no training fad and is here to stay - and grow.  

Tony Willson is managing director at outsource learning and development management company Helmsman Services

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