This chapter will explore how online education benefits companies and businesses that seek to ensure their employees are adequately educated and trained. The types of online education for employees will be covered in detail, including the ways that employers can solve the skills gap and train their workers for the future.
Online Education Benefits
Employers will be able to use online education for the development of career paths within their organizations. Someone who is employed will need to learn new skills in order to advance in their field of work. Employers can make that possible by offering online educational opportunities for workers to learn a foreign language, a new piece of computer software or a new method of statistical analysis.
Whenever a company designs a new product, creates a new service or introduces a new business process, they can use online courses to keep employees up-to-date. These learning opportunities also help employers to get the word out to their staff about modifications in an organization's structure or goals or when improvements are being made in the overall operations of the business.
Education and training of the workforce are vital not only to an individual company but to society as a whole. Today there is more technology available than ever before, which has made a drastic change in how business takes place. This technology can be used to enhance the professional development process and experience in order to benefit both employers and employees.
Online Learning as the Best Choice for Companies
As described in previous chapters, there are many benefits of online learning. The online learning process is convenient to companies that have geographically distant locations. It is easy to sign up employees for online courses because it can be done in just a few minutes with a computer or another electronic device like a smartphone.
In an online course, each employee receives the same level of treatment. Help is available from instructors through texts, chats, and emails. Online education is also more efficient. An entire group's time is not wasted on answering one person's questions, especially if the topic has already been explained to everyone else. In the online learning environment, students have the possibility of getting real-time feedback. There is no need for manual evaluations of the coursework or materials.
Employers can set up a flexible system for assignment due dates and make course materials available for an extended period of time so that employees can learn at their own pace but within the employer's overall time frame. The online learning modules can be done at home or on the employee's work time.
Employees who utilize public transportation may be able to watch and listen to the learning modules on their daily commutes. Everyone in the office can learn at their own pace and with fewer interruptions. There will be no need to organize a large group and work around employee vacation leave or sick days.
There will also not be a need to coordinate learning events around a reserved meeting room. Employers with limited computing facilities will not have to worry about making sure that there is enough equipment for everybody to learn at the same time. With online learning for workplace training and education, learners will have no issues with printing materials, taking handwritten notes or stopping in the midst of a module to ask a question or get clarification about a concept.
This method of training and education is also cost-effective. Instead of inviting a lecturer to come in and conduct a face-to-face program or sending staff on costly educational business trips, an online learning program allows 100% of the costs to be for training only.
Advancement of Existing Workers
The opportunity to train an organization's existing workers helps to lower recruitment costs and the expenses of finding and retaining highly skilled workers. The average cost to hire a single employee at a typical Fortune 500 company is more than $50,000. By keeping top talent within the company, organizations can hold onto those skilled and experienced employees.
As employees advance through the organization into positions of increasing levels of skills and complexity, they will be able to train the newly hired members of the organization. The costs of an online training and educational program are much lower than what a business would spend trying to find the right candidate with the desired skills.
Effectiveness of Online Employee Training Programs
In an online video call class or self-paced learning course that is done through separate modules, employers can use the course management system to measure each employee's level of knowledge before and after the training. The course authors only need to provide the correct answers and the learning management system will be able to automate the grading process. The organization's management can also get an up-to-date analysis on how the courses are doing at improving the level of understanding for individual employees and the staff as a whole. Employers can also use the learning management system to track participation and progression rates. The system can be set up to send out reminders to take the class, finish a module or complete an assignment or quiz based upon deadlines set up by the employer.
Retaining of Employee Learning
Online courses that are fun and interesting and that include a variety of multimedia content make it easier for employees to retain the information that their employers want them to remember. According to a study by Roland, the progress of individual employees through an online learning class often depends on their individual learning styles. When it is easier for employees to learn, they have better retention and results.
A study conducted by Berger Strategy Consultants showed that 77% of U.S. companies currently offer online corporate training programs for their staff. Just 20 years ago, that number was only 4%. As more organizations become comfortable with online training and educational programs, the technology behind the programs will also advance and allow for more interactive learning opportunities.