The Benefits of Online Training
Online training is an educational solution that uses electronic media to deliver content. Incorporating many different types of technology, online training is an ever-evolving method of providing education.
One study looked at online training trends between February 2013 and March 2014. Here are the most common answers to some of the study’s biggest questions:
New Objectives and Initiatives
QUESTION: What are the biggest business objectives for investing in online training?
ANSWER: Employee Engagement and Leadership Bench Strength
The study found that, more than any other reason, businesses are turning to online training to improve employee engagement. Businesses are placing high value on employee engagement because engaged employees contribute significantly to an organization’s success. Engaged employees are involved, motivated and committed to a company, increasing organizational performance and long-term strength.
So how do employers promote employee engagement when it comes to training and teaching? A typical classroom setting can be stale. Long, lecture-driven classes can be taxing on anyone’s attention span, not to mention a little boring. It can be difficult for learners to retain information through simply reading or listening. In response to these issues, more and more businesses are turning to a different form of training – online.
A large percentage of online training solutions remedy these issues by using an interactive approach to the traditional classroom model. There are a variety of aspects of online training that promote employee engagement and knowledge retention, including dynamic images and graphics, 3D animation, games, story-telling to simulate real scenarios, and interactivities such as knowledge checks and quizzes.
The second most common motive for investing in learning technologies is the desire to boost leadership bench strength. Similar to the sports term used for the group of athletes waiting on the bench for their turn to get into the game, bench strength in the business world refers to the abilities and readiness of potential successors to move into key professional and leadership positions within a company.
Equipping upcoming leaders with the skills and knowledge needed to perform well in future roles is vital to a company’s success in the long term. ELearning solutions provide future leaders with quality web-based training that they can access from anywhere, giving even the busiest of employees the ability to fit training into their schedules.
QUESTION: What are the most common training initiatives planned for the future?
ANSWER: Online Training Programs, Mobile Learning & Personalized Learning
The set of responses to this particular question in the study revealed that the classroom isn’t dead, as some have suggested, but rather it is just changing a lot. One of the main ways in which the classroom is changing is in the tools used to teach. Classrooms are moving to Cloud-based models, and are more readily taking advantage of different technologies.
Over 80% of study participants are planning initiatives for an online training program in the future, of which many are Cloud-based. Another huge portion of participants are looking to implement mobile learning initiatives and personalized learning.
Mobile learning is becoming more widespread because it allows individuals to take classes on a variety of devices, accessing educational training from anywhere and at any time. This gives the individual the flexibility to work at their own pace, on their own schedule, and with the comfort of their preferred device. From tablets to laptops to mobile phones, mobile learning accommodates the individual. And employers like it because they can provide training to employees world-wide, and the flexibility means training doesn’t have to cut into work hours, saving money and time.
Also seeing a rise in popularity is personalized learning, the tailoring of educational curriculum to meet varying learning needs. Personalized learning typically requires the use of different forms of technology, often to adjust the approach and pace of learning programs to best suit the learner. This form of teaching can dramatically improve learner’s understanding and retention of educational content, leading to more informed and competent employees.
QUESTION: What new tools are being acquired?
ANSWER: Mobile Learning, Online Training Development Tools, Video Solutions
Similar to the information gathered in the question on learning initiatives planned, when asked about the new tools businesses plan to acquire, a majority of study participants noted mobile learning. Many participants are also acquiring online training development tools. Online training development includes certain steps such as mobile authoring and strategy, which in turn require the acquisition of new tools.
Another large portion of responses put priority on adding video solutions. The online training space has witnessed huge jumps in video content in the past few years. Video solutions are often a simple and cost effective way of delivering content across multiple devices, keeping learners entertained and engaged.
Moving to the Cloud
QUESTION: What are the most common reasons for planning to move to the Cloud?
ANSWER: Web Meeting Solutions and 24-Hour Access to Content
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The Cloud, simply put, refers to an application that is run on Internet servers. It’s where any type of content or data – files, photos, videos – can be stored and then accessed through the web.
Web meeting solutions and 24-hour access to content were the two most common responses as to why businesses plan to move to the Cloud for their learning solutions. Group web meetings are becoming increasingly popular, and the Cloud allows for these types of meetings. Now an individual on a business trip in Tokyo can still participate in a meeting with team members in New York City.
As businesses are placing a higher importance on connecting talent, cooperative work spaces and social learning networks accessed through the Cloud have become platforms for collaborative education in the eLearning space.
Additionally, businesses like the idea of 24-hour access to content on the Cloud because learners can make their own schedule and take classes when it fits them best, rather than having to conform to a set class time. All across the globe, employees can be taking the same exact classes, but at the times that work best for them. Not only does this save businesses money on costs associated with flying instructors to train employees located cross-country or overseas, but it also allows learners who work in the same location to work at their own individual pace.
QUESTION: What Cloud drivers are already in use?
ANSWER: Online Training Development Tools, Web Conferencing, Virtual Events/Classrooms
There are several key reasons businesses have already moved to the Cloud. The two most common reasons include the need for online training development tools and web conferencing. The third most common reason participants gave for having already moved to the Cloud were virtual events and classrooms.
Virtual events and classrooms are making significant gains in the online training space. Businesses are using them to simulate an actual event or classroom. Virtual interaction eliminates many of the expenses associated with traditional events, such as venue or travel costs. They also make participation easier for individuals and groups that wouldn’t be able to attend a standard event or class due to location factors, time restraints and other issues.
The world of eLearning has seen several trends and changes this past year, and the forecast only looks to bring more. As businesses implement new online training tools and initiatives, we can look forward to an increase in employee education and knowledge retention as well.