In a rapidly changing training world, learning trend reviews reference terminology which would have been incomprehensible to learning and development professionals not so long ago.
With terms such as E-Learning, Mobile Learning, Online Learning, Gamification and Virtual Learning, peppering our training conversations, the training culture has changed dramatically.
While some changes are taking slightly longer to catch on; namely gamification and virtual training, online programmes are starting to become de rigour for many businesses.
For those of you yet to delve into this world, what is online training?
Essentially, it is learning which is delivered via internet-based programmes. Programmes are typically hosted via in-house learning management systems (LMS) or via the LMS of an external training company.
The Good Stuff
So, what are the features of online training that make it such an attractive way of delivering programmes?
Below we have rated, what we believe, to be the top five benefits of online training:
1) Time efficiency
Online programmes allow learners to dip in and out of courses at will and via a host of different devices.
For staff working in fast paced working cultures, this allows the training to be completed at a time that suits which prevents the trade offs between work and training that might otherwise have happened.
For companies working across time zones, geographical locations, or who have a mobile staff base, it can often be extremely difficult to agree a time and venue for face to face training that suits everyone.
As such, online training removes the logistical challenges which tormented the learning and development teams of times past.
3) Cost Effective
The majority of companies now operate within strict cost-conscious cultures. Purchases typically have to be fought for and justified and, when things get tough, it’s usually the training budget which is first to be cut.
The cost saving of online training programmes is therefore one of the most significant benefits. By cutting out face to face training, costs such as trainer travel time, trainer travel fees, learner travel time, learner travel fees and lost productivity of attending delegates are all removed. A typical feature of online training is also that additional training is also done via the device. As such, this ensures there is no need for the expensive exercise of printing and binding workbooks and handout.
When it comes to face to face training, it is often necessary to engage a number of trainers to deliver programmes which affects the consistency of training messages. Online training clearly avoids this by delivering the same training consistently to all those undertaking it.
5) Ease of Localisation
In many cases, although international offices may want consistency within particular offices, there is also a need to localise programmes to accommodate the international make up and cultural diversity of their teams.
What might work for a team in one culture may not work for a team in another due to cultural learning differences. Online programmes allow organisations to localise core training materials by amending factors such as images, colours used, formatting of dates or other numerical information and the content of supplementary exercises. Although the work to accommodate the needs of different cultures has upfront time demands, it is made all the easier by an existing core programme which needs only to be adapted – not recreated.
The value of online training is clearly obvious. Does it completely remove the value of face to face training? Face to face training has a unique value of its own. However, it certainly alters the way in which face to face trainers are engaged, This is something that we will be focusing on in our next blog.