eLearning: Teaching Skills Workers Need, When They Need It
The eLearning industry is exploding. The Internet e-learning model for training and reskilling workers has only been around for twenty years. But the first example of eLearning traces back to 1840 when Issac Pitman taught his students shorthand via correspondence. When the MAC was introduced in the 1980s, eLearning reached desktops in homes and schools. Exponential growth in the last 5 years has transformed the way companies train, retrain, and reskill workers. Today, the E-learning industry is estimated to be nearly $38 billion dollars in the U.S. and is expected to reach $275 Billion globally by 2022. Many Companies are doing away with out-of-date, powerpoint voice-overs and are turning to outside expertise for insight on topics that matter like emotional intelligence, leadership development, sexual harassment training and even “active shooter” training.
Scott McKenzie, Channel Sales Director at EJ4, shared that “We want to be mobile for the Millennials and for the modern worker which includes many baby boomers.” In 2017, 67% of companies offering online learning did so on smartphones. These changes are helping companies attract and retain high-level employees.
Convenience isn’t the only reason eLearning growth is skyrocketing. Research says that e-learning increases retention rates between 25%-60%. This is a huge boost for organizations because the resources that they are pouring into training employees results in faster performance improvement …and the added benefit of employees sticking around longer.
“We are moving away from the classroom into the virtual space. Learning has to be real, applicable and usable.”
What happened to cause such change? Scott says, “We are moving away from the classroom into the virtual space. Learning has to be real, applicable and usable.” One reason that eLearning works is that research says that the average person has roughly 24 minutes per week to dedicate to learning
Another reason is young people recognize that learning is important and ongoing – more than ever. There is a shift in business and e-learning is on the frontlines of leveraging technology to make learning accessible right at the time workers need it. Scott added, “Young people want trainings that are easy to take and that will be impactful. This is a generation that grew up on how-to videos on YouTube.”
This exponential growth has led to a plethora of learning management system (LMS) providers. Unfortunately, all buyers aren’t created equal. Before signing an agreement, management and HR should think about using learning providers that can both demonstrate how their platform can help maximize the bottom lines and improve both the performance and retention of employees.
Scott warns listeners to beware the tendency to focus only on content. “You can’t just announce the LMS is open for business. In reality, intrigue and interest fade away within a few weeks.” Alternatively, it’s important for each organization to take the content and make it part of each employee’s development and career succession plan. Some companies even view and discuss the content at staff meetings. Others create reward systems to encourage and incentivize employees to participate.
As big as the demand is, Scott but is troubled by 3 types of eLearning buyers. The first type is the Apathetic Buyer. These buyers are looking for the least expensive option with little awareness of what is really out there. The second type he calls the inertia group, or “content agnostics.” They are loyal to one brand and aren’t interested in seeing what else is out there in the market. The final type is the ignorant. Ultimately, they don’t know what they don’t know. That troubles Scott because they tend to make wrong choices which makes the whole industry look bad. “There are 600 content providers, but only like ten that are worth their salt,” Scott suggests.
When selecting an eLearning provider, what should you look for? Scott suggests an e-learning company that is research-based. Is the content relevant? After participating, how likely is it that employee understand what to do and can apply it immediately. Will the experience help the employee and company achieve objectives? It’s also important to make sure the library has a high refresh rate. How often is the content updated?
But most importantly, Scott says to “use your own eyes. When you view the content, does it keep you engaged?”
eLearning may be the breath of fresh air that helps many companies shine some light on a very tight labor market. It allows companies to upskill workers faster and retain others longer. It’s also a great recruitment marketing tool with generations from all ages looking for new career opportunities.