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Since Covid-19 people are now more familiar with some of the benefits of online learning. The global pandemic has forced organizations, their employees, and customers, to move to online learning. Some of the benefits, however, are much more obvious than others. While most writers on the topic list 5 or 6 of the obvious benefits of online learning there are many more. Here we give you 27 benefits of online learning. Many I am sure you won’t have thought of. Benefits that will likely compel you, or your boss, to increase your investment in online training.
One of the major benefits of online learning is that it provides more flexibility for the learner. You can work and fit your work schedule (and your hobbies) around your coursework. Even more so if you are taking an online (especially an on-demand) course. Here you don’t have to log in at a specific time for a live session. But you can study and interact with your instructor and your classmates at your own pace. An example is this course that teaches you about accessibility in online environments.
You can reach a lot of geographically disbursed people in a short space of time, with minimal extra effort. A good example is this on-demand course on fact-checking. Nowadays, misinformation is rampant and tends to “go viral”. Imagine an international organization that needs to upskill its stakeholders on this issue. The benefits of elearning include not holding many sessions of online webinars or video calls in a variety of different time zones. And you can add a follow-up live virtual discussion after the on-demand course. You could even make the discussion local to help people apply what they’ve learned in their own context.
Another of the significant benefits of online learning is that delivery costs are low. As are the logistical requirements. You don’t have to book training rooms, travel or accommodation. Or arrange lunches, or arrange and qualify instructors. You don’t have to print materials or maintain computer labs. Once you build an on-demand course, you can offer it to anyone, at any time.
For an individual taking an online course cost savings can also be one of the benefits. For example, you’ll likely have lower accommodation and transportation costs. You also don’t have to spend valuable time travelling to training too.
In a live virtual event (such as a live webinar) the learner can feel a sense of connectedness with the rest of the class. Even though they may be hundreds or thousands of miles away! An online course can include interaction between participants, to share and discuss concepts.
For on-demand learning, such as an elearning course, the learner can at any time return and repeat the course. Even many years later. All at a moment’s notice. This helps increase retention and is one of the benefits of online learning to those receiving the instruction. Moreover, an organization or educator might also push out reminder lessons or refreshers. Such as, once-a-year tasks can have a reminder email/nudge with a micro-lesson attached to it. Or if there are updates to the program, you might get a notification about the new content. Also, if you are doing a procedure for the first time, there might be a suggestion that you complete a refresher first.
One of the benefits of elearning is that it can produce better results than in-person learning. For example, a study by the US Department of Education found that “on average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction”. Similarly, a University study analyzing online training in the corporate and business sector concluded that
A 2013 study (Online College Students, 2013 Study by The Learning House & Aslanian Market Research) showed that people completing an online program of study greatly increased their chances of finding a new job. Also, 45% of people had a salary increase. While 36% gained a promotion after completing online learning courses. For organizations offering online learning to a non-employee audience, this is important. Especially if you are pursuing a certification approach. People are motivated to take your course because it will enhance their career prospects.
Another of the benefits of elearning is that you don’t have to commute to a class or workshop. Not only do you save money (gas, bus fare, etc)., but you also reduce your carbon footprint!
As an online course is easy to update, you can have access to the latest content on your subject or topic. You aren’t waiting for a manual, or textbook to be rewritten and re-printed to get the most up to date information. Also, organizations updating materials find it easier and more convenient. As well as less expensive.
One of the benefits of elearning is that courses are often completed in a shorter time. Those taking an elearning course can quickly move through material that they are knowledgable about. All without waiting for the instructor or others in the class to complete it. Then you can focus your time on the new or more complex topics. A Brandon Hall study found that online learning requires 40-60 percent less employee time than in-person training. For example, one of our clients noted that they had two distinct groups that took their courses. One was a very experienced group focused on the exam prep part of their curriculum. They would prefer to skim through the content. The others were “new” to the industry group and wanted in-depth instruction. Online learning, supports both groups in a way that works for them.
Online learning is more standardized and provides consistent content and information. It’s not based on how the instructor is feeling that day, or on what the instructors’ favourite topics are. Everyone can receive the same consistent training, every time.
Unlike face-face training one of the benefits of online learning is that its available 24/7. Allowing access to a global audience and increasingly to remote workers.
A 2012 study (ILX Digital Learning For Business) of Human Resource executives found that online learning had a direct impact on boosting employee morale, satisfaction, and longevity.
Another of the benefits of elearning is that it can result in behaviour change. Especially in complex situations, where there are ingrained habits. Using instructional design techniques in online learning can form new habits. This is one of the benefits of online learning and why many mission-driven organizations create online modules.
One of the benefits of online learning associated with a product is that it increases its usage. This helps create more loyal customers and users who will continue to use your product. And be much less likely to switch to a competitor. For example, Canva offers a great platform for D-I-Y designers. But it also offers great support for the tool and design overall. They offer onboarding including templates, tutorials, and even an instructional text search option. They also offer a Design School course, including social media marketing and branding.
The Research Institute of America reported that online learning increases retention rates by 25 – 60 percent. Whereas traditional in-person training only increased retention rates by 8 – 10 percent. These increases are due to the greater control over the learning process. Learners being able to revisit the material as needed.
By asking a few questions of the person taking the course it is easy to create a personalized learning experience. Based on your responses you can take one of several course paths. And receive an experience tailored to you. Here’s a good example of addressing problems people have with delegation. Try it out. By asking you a few questions you receive tailored feedback. Then take a scenario to work through based on the area you chose as being a challenge.
Through online learning, data can be tracked in real-time through each stage. This can be used to improve the learning and measure the business impacts of the learning. Or to identify areas for more personal learning or coaching and development. As well, learners can receive real-time feedback and results as the course progresses. If you use online learning to help educate your customers on your products there are extra benefits. By analyzing the data where your customers run into problems, you can prioritize the topics to produce first and order what should follow later.
During in-person training, people can sometimes feel intimidated. Online learning removes the fear and anxiety associated with asking a question. Or to respond to a question you are asked. It helps reduce any embarrassment of failure in front of a group. An online course should show the student the result of their actions and provide feedback along the way. Allowing the student to go back and try again if necessary.
Another of the benefits of online learning is how fast it can be delivered. Compared to in-person training it is far quicker to deliver an elearning course to many thousands of people. This time-to-scale means that you can develop an online learning solution and deploy it quickly. COVID-19 is a case study in the rapid deployment of instruction, particularly in healthcare.
The ability to easily translate training into different languages is one of the benefits of online learning. As is the ability to include specific local content for different cultures. Or to include local guidelines or regulations.
An IBM study reported that for every $1 a company invests in the benefits of elearning, it gains $30 worth of productivity. Because employees save time through online learning and resume work applying the new skills faster.
In the software industry, online learning often forms part of the customer success program. Online learning is used for educating customers on their products. This can include onboarding, tutorials, online help, etc. Organizations interested in their customers’ success see these as major benefits of online learning.
Another of the benefits of online learning is that you can use video assets created for the course to support other activities. For example, a savvy designer will use video and other assets and re-purpose them for marketing and sales activities.
Due to its scalability, another of the most important benefits of online learning is it can be used to generate revenue. An elearning course, for example, can be a product in itself that you can sell. Or you can create a suite of products, all generating revenue. You have several revenue models to consider. Including a one-time purchase, a membership model, or a time-based subscription. Spark + Co. specializes in working with our customers to deliver revenue-generating instructional products.
Another of the benefits of online learning is that for the same revenue generated, net profit is much higher. For example, there are a lot of associations that support industries that have regulatory requirements. Converting to on-demand elearning increases their profit margins by reducing the cost of delivery. Moreover, the investment you make in creating online courses is “front-end loaded”. The more you sell, the bigger your margins. As COVID-19 has made online learning more mainstream Spark + Co., are helping the Vancouver Island Construction Association with such a strategy. What seemed impossible before, is now an everyday reality.
Since Covid-19 people have become more familiar with the benefits of online learning. But, most people are still scratching at the surface of the benefits. As you now know, the benefits of online learning can be significant. As well as providing improved learning in a reduced time, it can reduce support costs associated with your products. And it can boost your brand or cement your market leadership. Not only that but it can generate top-line revenue for businesses and social enterprises. And while also providing greater flexibility and convenience to the learner. Now you are armed with not 5 or 6, but 27 benefits of online learning. We think together they make a compelling case to enhance your strategy for online learning. Contact us for more information or to discuss how you can incorporate the benefits of elearning into your organization.
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