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12 Advantages of E-Learning

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12 Advantages of E-Learning

12 Advantages of E-Learning

A post from our Training and Coaching blog

Article author: Ashley Andrews
      Written by Ashley Andrews
I overheard an interesting conversation in Starbucks the other day. A smart-looking young woman was telling her friend about the training problems she was having with her business. I guess it was a recent start-up, because she said: "If I could just get enough staff trained up, we could really start to grow... but the cost of classroom training courses is ridiculous!"

Busy with my own reading, and enjoying my coffee, I listened to how their discussion played out. And I was shocked that this reasonably eloquent business owner didn't once mention e-learning. Did she even know about online learning? Did she have something against it? Was there some technical reason she couldn't use it?

So I started thinking of all the reasons she should give e-learning a whirl. And I was really tempted to butt into her conversation and help her out.

But then the woman and her friend left Starbucks. And I was left with my laundry list of the advantages of learning online, spared the embarrassment of being that busybody who gives unsolicited advice in coffee shops. So I wrote this article instead!

If you have a limited training budget, or you're exploring your training options, this is for you. Here are 12 big advantages of e-learning.

Advantage 1: Online courses cost less than classroom learning

This was my Starbucks friend's problem. An afternoon of classroom training can easily cost thousands, even for a small team. That's prohibitive for lots of companies.
E-learning courses cost much less, opening doors for companies big and small.

But that's not the only way e-learning can save you money!

Advantage 2: It can save you on travel and venue hire

Yep, the trainer and materials aren't the only cost of traditional classroom learning. You need to provide a venue ... and get there, too. And that costs money.

E-learning courses, on the other hand, can be taken in the workplace, at home, or even on the bus if you have an Internet-connected tablet. So, there's another saving for you.

Advantage 3: It's WAY more flexible

Speaking of training on the bus, that's another great advantage of e-learning: you can do it anywhere and anytime. And you can split it across many digestible sessions – you don't have to do a full course in one long sitting.

This means you can fit it into your schedule, instead of having to fit around a trainer's timetable. You can learn at work, home, or (yes) with friends.

Advantage 4: It doesn't need to eat into your working hours

This flexibility has another advantage, too. Classroom learning usually takes place within office hours, so you need to miss work to do it. But when your learning is online, you can choose the times that suit you..

So, training can happen at the optimal time for you.

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Advantage 5: It's self-paced, which is good for retention

Have you ever been in a training course where the trainer said: "Right, we've got a lot to get through today so we're going to have to go quickly!" ...And then they went so quick that much of it went in one ear and out the other?

Well, that doesn't happen with e-learning. Because you decide how fast the course goes, when to move on ... and when to go back to something you didn't quite understand.

You are in control, so you can learn and retain information more effectively.

Advantage 6: It can be really entertaining

Modern e-learning content can be pretty cool. It can incorporate images, video, and lots of interaction with quizzes and case studies. This diversity and richness of content won't just help you to stay engaged and interested. It could actually entertain you too, so you enjoy learning.

And as many studies show, learning is more effective when it's fun.

Advantage 7: It's accessible to more people

Almost anyone can go online with a tablet or computer. Children can. Elderly people can. People with disabilities can. So if you can use a tablet or computer, you can do e-learning.

What this means is that e-learning has opened up training opportunities for lots more people, who might not be able to take part in classroom learning.
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Advantage 8: It allows you to customize training courses

With traditional classroom courses, you usually buy a number of delegate places and have a trainer teach them. Online learning is similar – you can buy a course that can be delivered to a fixed number of your staff.

But with online learning, you can often also create your own custom course, which is tailored to your needs. Not only is this no more expensive up-front, you can deliver it as many times as you want – so the cost can be much lower overall.

It's just another example of e-learning's flexibility!

Advantage 9: Online works!

According to a recent study, 90% of students think e-learning is the same or better than traditional learning.

And even more tellingly, the same study shows that a huge 98% of all business plan to use online learning in the future. That includes both small businesses and large corporations, many of whom have already made e-learning integral to what they do.

Advantage 10: Online is better for the environment

Does your organization have an environmental policy, or goals for reducing waste? Well, good news – e-learning can help!

A study by the Open University found e-learning uses 90% less energy and produces 85% less CO2 than classroom learning. That's a big difference!

Advantage 11: Delivery is faster

I've already mentioned how e-learning is more flexible, fitting your busy schedule. But it can also reduce the amount of time spent training, because delivery is faster.
Learning online is a much faster way to train because:
  • There's no travel time to factor in
  •  Learners can skip sections they already understand
  •  Learners can revisit what they need to, and enhance their learning
  •  Learners set their own pace, meaning more capable staff will complete courses quickly
  •  There's no room or equipment to set up or put away, so training starts and ends faster

Advantage 12: There's no limit on class sizes

With traditional learning, class sizes are limited by the size of the venue and the cost per delegate. E-learning changes that, because:
  • Learners don't all need to do the course at the same time
  •  If you own the course, you can deliver it to as many learners as you want, as many times as you want.
E-learning therefore has the scope to train bigger classes, giving much better value.

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So if you haven't considered e-learning yet...

There you have it. 12 utterly compelling advantages of e-learning – even if I do say so myself! I hope the lady from Starbucks happens upon them.  And I hope you consider them too, because online learning is a fantastic option for any business, whether your training budget is big or small.

Whichever direction you go in, good luck with your next learning initiative. And I hope this article has helped you in some way to clarify what's best for you.

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