E-Learning 101: The 15 benefits of online learning

E-learning (or online learning) is changing our entire understanding of education. In the old days, learning was a fairly standardized process. Learners, whether at school or on the job, would sit through training sessions and lectures. Then they’d take a test to demonstrate the knowledge or skills they’d acquired.

By Kasper Spiro on Dec 10th

Post

Conventional training methods are no longer fully adequate for the challenges of our fast-changing, globalized society. Modern learning requires the freedom and flexibility to learn from multiple locations. That means embracing modern learning technologies, such as mobile and online learning platforms and learning management systems. In short, it means embracing online learning. If you’re still not convinced, read our e-learning 101 for the 15 benefits of e-learning in the workplace that will ensure your organization remains competitive.

1. Cheaper and faster

Saving money has often been cited as a key benefit of e-learning for many organizations. That’s hardly surprising considering the vast savings that an effective e-learning system can provide. This is particularly true for larger organizations with thousands of employees needing to be trained, often spread out in multiple locations around the world.

E-learning is usually much cheaper than classroom-style training. L&D and training staff have more time to devote to more strategic tasks instead of organizing face-to-face training events. There’s also no longer any need for companies to provide facilities full of workstations and printed materials for their trainees when all the content can easily be made available to learners’ own devices.

Telecoms company, T-Mobile, by switching to e-learning, and more specifically an Employee-generated Learning approach, were able to increase their learning output by 5 times, with only 25% of the L&D resource.

2. The perfect education solution for the millennial workforce

Millennials are quickly becoming the majority in the workforce. These are highly computer literate young professionals who expect to have easy access to knowledge whenever they need it. Their desire for fast information has already made a huge impact on our culture. Just think of how many times you’ve turned to Google or Wikipedia to find the answer to a nagging question – it’s a very “millennial” thing to do.

E-learning is a perfect match for millennial work culture because it caters to the need for quick, on-demand information. It’s also fully compatible with bring-your-own-device (BYOD) culture because it encourages learners to access training content on their mobile devices. This is why it’s important to use e-learning technology that is “always-on” and fully mobile-compatible.

3. Better education outcome

It’s not just cheaper, e-learning also delivers better learning outcomes. There are multiple reasons for this. First, since e-learning content can be made available to learners on-demand, they’re likely to use it intuitively, whenever they need it on the job. They’ll view educational material as a useful resource rather than an interruption to their normal workflow.

Second, e-learning content is far easier to keep up-to-date. There’s no need to re-design an entire training course or re-write and print a new employee handbook. Now, updates can be made in real-time, so the learning content is always in tune with real working conditions.

Third, e-learning is more engaging. It encourages interaction and proactive engagement with the material. Whereas old-school classroom training was often an interruption in an employee’s workday, e-learning encourages hands-on learning, which is the most effective way of acquiring new skills. Now employees can learn as they go, following interactive online tutorials as they perform tasks in real-time.

4. E-learning makes it easier to track results

Since learning takes place in a digital environment, it’s easier to track key metrics. Modern knowledge sharing platforms track how well learners perform on assignments and tests, but also show which resources learners use most. This data allows L&D to identify trends and make strategic changes whenever necessary. It’s a faster, more responsive way of teaching, and it doesn’t take up lots of time reviewing exams or written assignments.

5. Reach more employees

In the old days, a trainer could only reach as many people as could fit in the classroom at a time. Now, training material can be quickly published online, instantly reaching an infinite number of learners, anywhere in the world. Learners themselves are no longer bound to the classroom but can access the content anytime. For large, widespread organizations, this is a lifesaver. Considering the increasing need for fast training, and the lack of budget for extensive training activities, there’s really no better education solution than a well-organized e-learning system.

One of the core benefits of e-learning for Electrolux was being able to offer tailor-made training programs for over 10,000 store employees.

6. Adaptable and flexible in the face of change

E-learning is the best way to keep your organization agile and ready to face unpredictable, short-term challenges. The market is continually in motion and your business can only succeed if your people keep pace with the changes. Learning is a never-ending process. The larger your company, the less likely it is that your L&D team can entirely fulfill its learning needs, let alone do so quickly enough. E-learning makes it easier and faster to maintain an up-to-date knowledge base, especially when employees themselves are responsible for contributing. In its strategic role as a visionary and trendwatcher, L&D can direct employees to create the right kinds of content.

7. E-learning makes it easier to access information

Today’s employees demand hassle-free access to the information they need. Our culture is used to instant access to knowledge via Google, Wikipedia, YouTube or other channels. Why should employees settle for slow, outdated learning channels at work? With e-learning, they don’t have to. E-learning gives employees the convenient, user-friendly experience they expect. That means a smarter workforce that’s better equipped to do its job.

Now that they don’t have to waste time searching for knowledge or spend hours off the work floor taking a classroom training course, they’re free to focus on their tasks and the company’s core business.

8. Personalized learning process

Conventional training is a one-size-fits-all solution. Employees all go through the same training course and take the same exam. All are expected to arrive at the same conclusions. However, not all learners are alike. Furthermore, not all employees need the same information for the same purposes. A fantastic benefit of online training is that it gives employees the freedom to access the information that’s truly relevant to them. They can also access the same information as many times as they need, whenever they need it. Some employees may need to repeat the same steps more often than others before they’ve internalized the information. With e-learning, this is never a problem, because the information is always just a click away.

9. E-learning makes you a more attractive employer

It’s tough enough to recruit good talent these days, let alone retain it. E-learning gives your brightest stars a chance to shine because it encourages them to share their knowledge and help others within your company benefit from online learning. In return, these star employees will feel recognized and rewarded, which means they’ll be more engaged with their jobs and more likely to feel personally invested in the company.

10. Learn at your own pace

Conventional education relied on strict schedules and timetables. This made it difficult for many people to access education, due to conflicting work schedules, family events or other obligations. One reason why online learning is so popular is it gives people much greater freedom to plan their education around the rest of their activities.

With online learning, you can access your educational materials any time, so you can schedule your education in a way that suits you best. You can also study at your own pace more easily, or view the same content as many times as you need.

11. Better for the planet

Did you know that online learning can even lower a company’s impact on the environment? This is increasingly relevant as more companies and individuals are becoming concerned with lessening their carbon footprint. E-learning reduces the need for printed materials, so it saves paper and prevents the use of environmentally harmful printer inks and dyes. More significantly, it also reduces carbon dioxide emissions in cases where learners no longer have to drive or fly to separate facilities to attend in-person training sessions. It can also save energy by eliminating the need for large-scale learning facilities, such as classrooms and auditoriums.

12. Customizable learning content

Many cloud-based e-learning platforms offer customizable features for trainers and trainees alike. Instead of being stuck with lots of one-size-fits-all settings, you’re free to adapt content to your own learning style and even customize it to your company branding.

13. A feedback culture

Many modern online learning tools are designed to include intuitive features that instantly provide feedback to learners. Now, when a learner responds to a test question, they can receive feedback immediately. This helps them internalize the information at the moment they need it most, instead of having to wait a week or more to find out their test scores.

And feedback goes both ways, by incorporating a rating system into your e-learning course, such as a net promoter score (NPS) survey. This helps you identify how your learners respond to your e-learning content, and determine whether you need to make improvements to change direction. All courses in Easygenerator offer an NPS survey by default.

14. Lower learning threshold

With online learning, learners no longer have to worry about the intimidation or pressure of public speaking. They access learning content in the comfort of their own home, so they can learn in a stress-free, low-threshold environment.

Sometimes it can be hard to ask a question or contribute to the discussion when a course is dominated by a handful of students. This is far less likely to occur in an online learning setting. Online learning is generally designed to make sure every student has equal access to the same content, and everyone can contribute to the discussion. It also gives learners guaranteed access to their instructors, who are always just a mouse click away.

15. Greater concentration

The classroom setting is actually filled with distractions. Even the teacher’s body language or speaking style can distract learners from the actual content. Online learning cuts down on these interferences and places the focus clearly on content.

Ready to start creating courses?

Start my free trial Book a demo

About the author

Kasper Spiro is the CEO of Easygenerator and a recognized thought leader in the world of e-learning. With over 30 years of experience, he is a frequently asked keynote speaker and well-renowned blogger within the e-learning community.

It’s easy to get started
Start my free trial

Or let us help you get started. Book a personal onboarding program together with dedicated success managers to ensure your team gets the most out of Easygenerator.

Book a demo