Why online training is an effective way to onboard new talent and grow leaders from within.
Most savvy business leaders don’t need too much convincing to believe that offering training opportunities to their employees is a good investment. However, many have remained unconvinced by the idea of online training. Now that world events have made online options more attractive, business leaders are finally willing to give it a try. However, rather than view it as a necessary evil in the age of social distancing, senior managers should view this as the development of valuable HR infrastructure.
Online training is very cost-effective compared to renting out conference space and hiring trainers to teach your employees in batches. It’s also a great way for employees to learn at their own pace without disrupting their workflow.
Professional trainers and educators use online learning for good reasons. Classroom environments are important too, but online learning has numerous benefits. If you prepared your pitch carefully and schedule a meeting at a time that’s convenient for senior management, it shouldn’t be too hard to show them the wisdom behind online training.
When it comes to corporate-wide training initiatives, such as safety training or sexual harassment awareness, online learning has far more scalability than classroom learning. Corporate trainers can prepare modules and make them available to a few dozen or thousands of employees.
An online training module delivers a consistent message and learners can refer back to the class as many times as needed to refresh their knowledge. It’s also easy to modify specific modules and disseminate changes quickly based on feedback from those taking the course.
Users Can Go at Their Own Pace
No two employees learn in the same way. Senior managers will understand the logic behind allowing users to go through online courses at their own pace. Each person has unique skills, attention spans, and experiences. One person might read through each slide multiple times, while another prefers to scan for new information.
Whether in video or Powerpoint format, online learning lets learners set their own pace based on their learning style and retention capacity. Trainers can break topics down into bitesize chunks broken up by review questions. Explain to senior management that access to various formats, such as games, quizzes, and presentation notes, engages employees in ways that appeal to many learning styles.
Accessible from Anywhere
For global companies, many employees may work remotely. Bringing everywhere to a centralized location can be quite expensive and a logistical nightmare. Online training lets employees take the training at home, while traveling, and at distance offices around the globe.
This also benefits employees who are absent during scheduled training sessions who need to review the materials on their own.
With online learning, employees have access to modules whether they are home sick, at their desks, on phones or other devices. This streamlines scheduling and creates a more conducive training experience for learners who prefer a quiet environment. This is especially true for technical or very detailed training modules, such as learning new techniques to enhance job performance.
Measure the Results
Pitch online training in terms that are meaningful to corporate leaders. Return on investment drives business decision-makers in every area, including training. Measuring the benefits of an online format makes it easy for managers to see that it produces positive outcomes. This makes it a no-brainer to get leadership support for online training initiatives.
Using online modules allows trainers to build reports that assess the effectiveness of courses. You can also include the feedback questions online so that you can see where employees struggle or get bored. This makes it easy to tell when segments need to be revamped.
For mandatory training of new software or corporate policies, this also allows you to pull a report that tells you who needs to retake the training and who hasn’t completed it yet. This is much easier than paper quizzes and assessments that have to be tracked separately.
What Should You Measure?
After writing the objective of your course, identify the results gained by participants. Here are typical metrics you can pass along to senior management:
- Time to complete training. It’s a good idea to set deadlines from the time of enrollment to course completion. This is especially important for mandated training sessions where an entire department or the whole company needs to master the material.
- Emergency training scenarios. If you are writing a training class for crisis response situations, you will want to track this course differently than more standard training courses. Moving emergency response training online provides easy access to who has completed the course and passed the knowledge checks.
- Number of qualified employees. Report the number of eligible employees who have passed the certification covered in the online course. This is a simple but powerful metric for senior managers who wish to champion online training.
- Reduction errors. Poorly-trained employees often cause production errors. Online training helps level out the learning curve without disrupting workflow. You can also track the number of errors to show the efficacy of online training.
Not all the benefits of online training can be measured. The following qualitative factors can help you make your case to senior management considering online training:
- Does the proposed class or course have the potential to boost employee morale?
- Will the training contribute to productivity? Higher satisfaction leads to higher motivations, which can boost efficiency.
- Does the material improve communication skills? The better employees communicate, the less more there is for misunderstanding and mistakes.
Online training gives employees the ability to schedule their own workday. This eliminates downtime and empowers learners who prefer to work independently.
Classrooms provide opportunities for learners to interact with each other and the instructor. However, some employees may struggle with new material. Interactive content in online courses keep learners engaged while they set their own pace through the material. For example, if you were training machine operators, slides might not convey the information needed to master a procedure.
Online learning helps instructors create practice simulations and videos to demonstrate tasks. Reward-driven modules provide positive feedback and demonstrate progress to keep learners motivated, just as an instructor would in a classroom course or seminar.
Cost and Time Savings
It takes time to prepare for a classroom course but it takes even longer to perfect an online course. However, once it’s set up, online courses have greater longevity, and are repeatable with fewer instructor hours involved.
In the long run, online courses save time and money, an efficiency that you can quantify for senior managers. Over time, the cost-benefit of taking training to the internet pays for itself.
On the other hand, printing out training materials and hiring instructors becomes expensive very quickly. Often, companies don’t have the facilities to bring large groups of employees together for a seminar or training session. Outside venues and catering can take a chunk out of the budget and pose logistical challenges.
In contrast, online training eliminates all of these costs without jeopardizing quality. If your company values sustainability, emphasize that online courses don’t require physical materials, which reduces waste and saves printing costs. Plus, remote employees can access online modules from anywhere, which saves money on travel and accommodations.
Today’s learners, especially younger employees, often prefer to learn online. Moving corporate training online shows that the company aligns itself with modern technology and learning preferences.