Has your company adopted web-based training yet? If not, you are losing out on one of the most powerful things you can do to give your training and development programs a boost. Here are five major benefits of web-based training.
Learners can participate anytime, from anywhere.
Web-based training provides the ultimate in flexibility--learners can login and take their courses anytime, from anywhere. This means that employees can decide when they are best able to focus on their learning, rather than having to interrupt other important activities. It also means that employees can get the training they need, exactly when they need it, as opposed to learning something they may not need for another 6 or 12 months down the road.
Web-based training provides consistency.
One of the major challenges most training and development departments face is how to provide consistent training across the organization. Every trainer presents the material a little differently, and even the same trainer doesn’t do it the same way every time. For some training courses, this may not matter, but for others, like compliance training, it matters a great deal. Because all of the materials are online, web-based training allows trainers to deliver a course the same way every time.
Web-based training saves both time and money.
Web-based training translates into significant savings of both time and money. Research has shown that web-based courses can be delivered in about half the time as instructor-led courses, and that people retain the information better, so there is less need for retraining in the future. The course resources can also easily be reused, so running more sessions of a course is simple. In addition, while instructor-led training courses are usually capped at 20 or 25 people, web-based courses can be much larger than that. In the case of massive open online courses (MOOCs), the number of learners is potentially infinite.
But there’s even more to it. Traditional training courses take employees away from their jobs for significant amounts of time. Thus, the real cost of traditional training is much more than most people realize. In addition to paying the instructor and the costs of travel and entertainment, there is also a large cost associated with employees not engaging in revenue-producing work. For example, if your sales team is required to undergo one week of training per year, the real cost of that training also includes the sales they would have made during that week. Web-based training integrates learning into employees’ daily activities, rather than taking employees away from those activities.
Web-based training gives learners the opportunity to network.
Traditional computer-based training is an isolated activity. Even instructor-led training doesn’t provide much opportunity for learners to interact--often there is so much material to get through that there is no class time left for questions, much less discussions.
But web-based training is excellent for networking. Because the learning takes place online, employees from different departments and different geographical locations can all participate at the same time. Via discussion forums, employees often have the opportunity to interact with experts within, and sometimes outside of, the company using employee training software. The knowledge-sharing aspect of web-based training is one of the aspects that makes it truly unique.
Web-based training uses real-world problems and examples.
Whereas instructor-led training often involves learning from lectures, web-based training usually focuses on practical applications. Rather than just listening to someone talk about a topic, learners have a chance to apply their new knowledge and practice their new skills by working through case studies and other real-world problems and examples. This experience is invaluable when employees encounter similar problems in the course of their work.
Many companies are nervous about moving to a web-based training format because it is unfamiliar. But the Internet is just as powerful a tool for learning as it is for business. If your company isn’t yet using web-based training, you are missing out on the opportunity to both save time and money and provide better training experiences for your employees.
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