E-learning has definite benefits over traditional classroom training. While the most obvious are the flexibility and the cost savings from not having to travel or spend excess time away from work, there are also others that might not be so obvious. For example:
- It's less expensive to produce -- Using Trainersoft's authoring software to produce your own asynchronous training programs, e-training is virtually free once you reach the break-even point. Synchronous programs will have continued costs associated with the instructor managing the class, but will still be lower than traditional courses.
- It's self-paced -- Most e-learning programs can be taken when needed. The "books" that you set up using Trainersoft create a module-based design allowing the learner to go through smaller chunks of training that can be used and absorbed for a while before moving on.
- It moves faster -- According to an article by Jennifer Salopek in "Training and Development Magazine," e-learning courses progress up to 50 percent faster than traditional courses. This is partly because the individualized approach allows learners to skip material they already know and understand and move onto the issues they need training on.
- It provides a consistent message -- E-learning eliminates the problems associated with different instructors teaching slightly different material on the same subject. For company-based training, this is often critical.
- It can work from any location and any time - -E-learners can go through training sessions from anywhere, usually at anytime. This Just-In-Time (JIT) benefit can make learning possible for people who never would have been able to work it into their schedules prior to the development of e-learning. (If you manage a corporate learning program, however, be careful about requesting that workers learn on their own time from home.)
- It can be updated easily and quickly -- Online e-learning sessions are especially easy to keep up-to-date because the updated materials are simply uploaded to a server. CD-ROM-based programs may be slightly more expensive to update and distribute, but still come out cheaper than reprinting manuals and retraining instructors.
- It can lead to increased retention and a stronger grasp on the subject -- This is because of the many elements that are combined in e-learning to reinforce the message, such as video, audio, quizzes, interaction, etc. There is also the ability to revisit or replay sections of the training that might not have been clear the first time around. Try that in a crowded auditorium!
- It can be easily managed for large groups of students -- Trainersoft Manager allows corporate training directors, HR managers and others to keep track of the course offerings, schedule or assign training for employees and track their progress and results. Managers can review a student's scores and identify any areas that need additional training.
There are many advantages to e-learning, and even the potential disadvantages (i.e. boring text-based courses, technophobia, loneliness) can be alleviated with a properly designed course. Let's move on now to how to plan a good course.