Why should organizations move to online learning?

Hadi Attaran

Hadi Attaran

Product Manager

The necessity of e-learning for corporates

In the past, companies and organizations sought out individuals with high qualifications like education, knowledge, experience, soft skills, hard skills, etc. Many later discovered they could not afford those highly skilled and experienced employees competing with other employers based on their limited financial resources. Moreover, it was not uncommon for expensive employees to become less efficient and qualified with time or even quit the role.

The shortage of skilled employees and the high demand for them in conjunction with other factors gradually lead companies to recruit staff with the expected expertise. This policy revealed another obstacle- the cost and possibility of learning and education. Corporates found it difficult and expensive, or even impossible in some cases, to find qualified instructors for their required training or to manage an event for a large number of their employees.

Technological development and novel learning trends have helped companies escape death. At this time, the glorious era of e-learning began to shine, as discussed in the history of e-learning article1. Another exclusive and astonishing benefit that e-learning facilitated was providing the ability to evaluate the productivity and efficiency of the learning and development strategies while at the same time always being able to keep track of the participators’ performance.
Things went smoothly until the emergence of COVID-19, which enforced digitalization on many levels in our daily routines. The crisis also affects businesses and strategies; learning and development policies are not an exception. It is crystal clear that corporate education and training will never return to the face-to-face model. Sure, there will be exceptions where training will be necessary in-person (think physical equipment, medical labs, etc.) – but any education and training that can be done online will be done online, always, from this point forward. The reasons are simple: companies have realized they can do it faster, more effectively, and less expensively online, while their employees also generally prefer this option2.

Figure 1. Employees Learning Preference 3

Cost of upskilling and reskilling in corporates

The expense and time of bringing together groups of employees for in-person training are exorbitant in comparison to high-quality online versions. Air travel, hotels, windowless conference rooms and convention centers, the risk liability of group training events, and, frankly, the poor quality and unmeasurable outcomes of in-person corporate training have always been complaints. These complaints are greatly amplified now, given the online alternative4.
IBM conducted relevant research and pointed out that while the half-life of skills is decreasing, the time to develop skills has increased.  In 2014, companies estimated it took employees three days to develop the necessary new skills. Today they estimate it takes employees 36 days, ten times as long5. Moreover, 74% of employees feel they aren’t reaching their full potential at work due to a lack of development opportunities, and 89% of employees want training available anywhere and anytime they need to do their job6.

The (real) costs of new employees

Based on the LinkedIn survey, 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development7. This fact is critical when considering the headache and hidden costs of onboarding a new employee. In other words, bringing on a new employee drains so many resources8 , including:
  • onboarding paperwork and administrative time
    • benefits enrollment
    • tax forms
    • employee handbooks
    • NDAs
    • arbitration agreements
  • early turnover of new hires
    • If you invest weeks of time and effort into onboarding only to see an employee quit six months later, you’ve essentially wasted all of those resources. If this happens multiple times per year, the financial impact can be devastating.
  • deferred productivity for new employees
    • Another hidden cost of onboarding comes from the reduced productivity typical of ramp-up periods, when new hires are still learning their role and getting acclimated to the work environment.
  • provisioning during onboarding
    • Every new employee will need to get set up with a certain array of “stuff.” That stuff could include anything from a laptop and headset to software credentials, key fobs, ergonomic chairs, monitors, parking permits, and branded clothing. All of this stuff costs money.

Why a paradigm shift is necessary for businesses

In this article, we presented the benefits of e-learning for companies.  We saw how difficult it was to find professionals and qualified employees, and doing so costs companies more than they anticipated. E-learning smoothed the path for learning and development strategies in corporates and saved them significant money. The flexibility to choose a professional instructor from all around the world and the ability to offset some costs such as travel expenses or required additional facilities are enticing from a financial perspective.

The flexibility is not desired only by corporates; their employees also seek it. They want on-demand learning and the ability to participate at their own pace at any time and from anywhere. This concept intensified even after the pandemic, and it is almost impossible to return to the pre-covid era.

The above-mentioned points shed light on the importance of implementing e-learning technologies in businesses and corporates. They have this chance to upskill or reskill their employees in the fastest and easiest way by implementing e-learning and using various learning types or emergent trends to sustain their employees’ learning. Want to have a deeper look at the future of e-learning? Stay tuned for the next article.

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