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Compiled and Prepared by LearnframeAbout e-Learning (Back to Contents)

 
Benefits of e-Learning

The WR Hambrecht report lists some general e-Learning benefits as seen from the corporate side of e-Learning.

Benefits of e-Learning

Benefits

Description

Technology has revolutionized business; now it must revolutionize learning.

The need to transform how organizations learn points to a more modern, efficient, and flexible alternative: e-learning. The mission of corporate e-learning is to supply the workforce with an up-to-date and cost-effective program that yields motivated, skilled, and loyal knowledge workers.

Anywhere, anytime, anyone.

We estimate that approximately 80% of the professional workforce already uses computers on the job. Technical obstacles, such as access, standards, infrastructure, and bandwidth, will not be an issue two years from now. The growth of the World Wide Web, high-capacity corporate networks, and high-speed desktop computers will make learning available to people 24 hours a day, seven days a week around the globe. This will enable businesses to distribute training and critical information to multiple locations easily and conveniently. Employees can then access training when it is convenient for them, at home or in the office.

Substantial cost savings due to elimination of travel expenses.

The biggest benefit of e-learning, however, is that it eliminates the expense and inconvenience of getting the instructor and students in the same place. According to Training Magazine, corporations save between 50–70% when replacing instructor-led training with electronic content delivery. Opting for e-training also means that courses can be pared into shorter sessions and spread out over several days or weeks so that the business would not lose an employee for entire days at a time.

Just-in-time access to timely information.

Web-based products allow instructors to update lessons and materials across the entire network instantly. This keeps content fresh and consistent and gives students immediate access to the most current data. Information can be retrieved just before it is required, rather than being learned once in a classroom and subsequently forgotten. Training Magazine reported that technology-based training has proven to have a 50–60% better consistency of learning than traditional classroom learning (c-learning).

Higher retention of content through personalized learning.

Since they can customize the learning material to their own needs, students have more control over their learning process and can better understand the material, leading to a 60% faster learning curve, compared to instructor-led training. The delivery of content in smaller units, called "chunks," contributes further to a more lasting learning effect. Whereas the average content retention rate for an instructor-led class is only 58%, the more intensive e-learning experience enhances the retention rate by 25 – 60%.

Improved collaboration and interactivity among students.

Teaching and communication techniques which create an interactive online environment include case studies, story-telling, demonstrations, role-playing, simulations, streamed videos, online references, personalized coaching and mentoring, discussion groups, project teams, chat rooms, e-mail, bulletin boards, tips, tutorials, FAQs, and wizards. Distance education can be more stimulating and encourage more critical reasoning than a traditional large instructor-led class because it allows the kind of interaction that takes place most fully in small group settings. Another study found that online students had more peer contact with others in the class, enjoyed it more, spent more time on class work, understood the material better, and performed, on average, 20% better than students who were taught in the traditional classroom.

Online training is less intimidating than instructor-led courses.

Students taking an online course enter a risk-free environment in which they can try new things and make mistakes without exposing themselves. This characteristic is particularly valuable when trying to learn soft skills, such as leadership and decision-making. A good learning program shows the consequences of students’ actions and where/why they went wrong. After a failure, students can go back and try again. This type of learning experience eliminates the embarrassment of failure in front of a group.

The SunTrust Equitable report also specifies benefits that are more specific to the learner and the content provider.

Additional Benefits of e-Learning

Benefits

Description

Learner Controlled

Technology has given the individual greater authority over the learning environment. Learning does not have to occur in a classroom. It may occur at one's own desk or the home.

Self-Paced

An individual may proceed through a course or program as the information is fully comprehended. Students can convert information to knowledge on their own timetable.

Uniformity of Content

The information delivered can be consistent to all users, therefore reducing the possibility for misinterpretations.

Customizable Content

Information can be developed with individual users in mind. Courses and programs can be created to deal with each individual's strengths and weaknesses.

Content Updated Quickly

Product and procedural changes can be updated and delivered in real-time. This increases the rate at which knowledge is acquired, which is especially important in the corporate market.

Source: Technology-Based Learning and STES

Howard Block, PhD, and Brandon Dobell, in a Banc of America report titled The e-Bang Theory, add a few more e-Learning benefits that are more technical or managerial in nature.

Learning Management Benefits of e-Learning

Benefits

Description

Modularity of presentation

The content’s architecture is modular, which facilitates different construction of learning events, both in design and length.

Manageable structure

The electronic infrastructure supports managed (and measurable) interaction between advisors and learners.

Ability to measure the effectiveness of program

E-learning software empowers administrators to track performance and measure ROI. In addition, monitoring usage by learners is simpler; i.e., the number of downloads per user can be measured. This helps training managers evaluate cost-effectiveness and provides assistance with license negotiations based on estimated usage.

Simpler data management

The rapid rate with which new learning products are introduced and older products become obsolete create a challenge for individuals charged with updating libraries. However, if a single version of each product is kept on a host, users get instantaneous access to updated components.

Greater storage capacity

The Internet host has much greater capacity than most physical locations or a user’s hard drive. This allows learners access to more products and lets the advisor mix and match courseware activities to fit specific needs. Learners can preview presentations of different courses prior to selecting one, or they can access a specific slide from thousands.

Individual education programs (IEPs) can be generated from a combination of the historical record of the students’ prior learning (from monitored usage)

As students progress, information is delivered based on what they’ve learned and how they’ve performed. For example, a student would log onto the learning server and a customized course would be generated from the content database that knows which courses the learner took, how well she did, what her job description is, what problem is most pressing. This dimension serves to focus the curriculum only on skill gaps, saving organizations both time and money. A byproduct of IEPs, in our view, is increased motivation from the self-centered nature of the experience.

Source: Technology-Based Learning and STES

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