With the unique insights we’ve been fortunate enough to identify in the six years since WP Courseware’s launch, we’ve witnessed first hand many of the advantages of eLearning in education and how it compares to traditional offline learning environments.
There are some very obvious advantages of eLearning as compared to in-person instruction, such as portability and flexibility. It’s no secret that giving a student who wants to gain or improve a particular skill set the option to do so anywhere and any time helps to increase the odds that the student will follow through on that promise to themselves.
But there are some not-so-obvious advantages as well, and many of these are the driving force behind close to 70% of major corporations offering online professional training to their employees.
We’re frequently contacted by training professional who offer a combination of both online and in-person training. However, we also receive questions from professional trainers who are really on the fence about whether to migrate their in-house training to an online learning management system or to keep going with a more traditional approach.
That being said, in this article we wanted to outline five of the major advantages of eLearning in education across any type of content or vertical.
Cost and Time Savings
This is really a no-brainer, but offering courses online through an effective learning management system reduces a number of expensive overhead items associated with offline training.
For larger organizations, some of these costs are incredibly significant. They might include travel expenses associated with bringing employees to a centralized training facility, salaries of training personnel, and the physical costs of the space and technologies on-site.
Migrating to an online training curriculum can significantly reduce these costs and at the end of the day, ensures that an organization maintains their commitment to improving the skills of their workforce regardless of the economic climate or downturns in revenue.
Scalability of Resources
Again, due to the high cost of educating employees or other students, there’s really a limited reach which is inherent in traditional learning environments. Instructors simply cannot effectively teach tens of thousands of students per year in a classroom or corporate training retreat.
Through the use of eLearning, the instructor’s or trainer’s reach is nearly infinite. There are, of course, some requirements for “hands on” interaction with students to ensure a high learning retention rate. However, these requirements are nominal compared to the obvious benefits.
Better Results and Metrics
Offline training environments are very cumbersome for tracking the effectiveness of any instructional program. We tend to think of college professors working late into the night to grade paper exams, but this extends to almost any form of traditional learning environment.
Through the use of an effective learning management system and a well-designed online course curriculum, tracking student progress, evaluating results, and then taking action based on those results is quite simple. The true end result of any training program should be to improve a skill set or deliver knowledge of a concept. With eLearning, these results can be measured and improved.
Improved Training and Learning Frequency
A number of our WP Courseware users have shared with us that the shift to eLearning was necessary in order to be able to offer training more frequently in a fast-moving and dynamic environment. In some cases they simple were not able to keep their students or workforce up-to-date in a traditional training environment due to cost or scheduling restraints.
Moving to an online training model allows educators and organizations to deliver more content more often. One needs to look no further than professions which require annual continuing education units (or CEUs), such as attorneys or certified public accountants. Within those professions, when an individual is required to leave the workplace to attend regular training, billable hours are lost and revenues suffer. Allowing professionals to accrue ongoing training online either in the workplace or from home helps mitigate these issues.
Natural Adoption With a Younger Generation of Learners
As the baby boomer generation begins to leave the workplace and, to a lesser degree, the halls of higher ed institutions, younger employees and students are beginning to fill those spaces. And this younger generation is simply more comfortable engaging online, whether it’s in social relationships or gaining knowledge.
This has been talked about less within current eLearning circles, but it’s a trend we will notice more and more over time. As learners who have grown up always having access to the internet enter higher education and the workforce, online curriculum will likely be a more effective way for them to learn in some cases than in traditional learning environments. Companies and organizations who have positioned themselves to offer curriculum online could very well have an advantage over those which haven’t prepared to make the transition.