Online training delivers real benefits for employee development. Some benefits are inherent in all online training courses. But it’s also important to look for specific features that deliver a personalised approach to your online training.
Firstly, here are four benefits that apply to online training in general:
Flexible – Online training allows you to fit your training around your lifestyle and work schedules. You meet your individual needs for professional development, and at the same time organizations get better trained employees. But you still have time for personal, family and work obligations.
Anywhere Access – Online training is web-based so you can log in from anywhere: home, office or when working remotely. Because you are not tied to a fixed location to complete training, this reduces the tyranny of travel. And if your project or work schedules change, you can still carry out your training online. This is beneficial for both individuals and organizations.
Anytime Access – Learn at your own pace and time. Have you ever been in a face-to-face course and thought – This is boring, I wish they’d speed up!” or “Hmm, didn’t get that, but don’t really feel comfortable asking a question… ” Learning something well takes time. With online learning you choose the time and pace that suits you best. You study when it is convenient for you and for time periods that match your concentration span. It’s your choice and engaging in the training process when you choose to leads to better training and development.
Cost-effective – Course costs are reduced and there are no down time, travel or accommodation costs. Online training has the smallest carbon footprint and is the most sustainable learning solution. Studies show that online learning is generally 25% to 60% shorter than face to face training on the same subject. Since the largest cost of any training is personal time spent in training, this makes a big difference to the bottom line and also frees up personal time.
These are the global advantages of online training. But take a closer look and make sure you choose online courses with the following features that offer a personalized approach to learning:
Interactive – One of the best things about online courses is the online community, so look for courses that have an active online network where you can share ideas and knowledge. Online learning is not done in isolation and engaging with your online colleagues pays dividends. Everyone has valuable comments to make and questions to ask. Everyone has the same opportunity to contribute to discussion forums and practical exercises, whether you are confident and extroverted or quieter and more reflective. Online training makes it easier to have an equal say and leads to a more collaborative and richer learning experience, as you share and discuss your ideas and share in the experience of others.
Practical and relevant – Look for courses that have been developed by professionals with real-life experience and that will give you practical skills to advance your career. Then, when the course is finished you can apply the knowledge you have gained in a practical way. Does a course teach you the key things you need to know? Does it offer opportunities for you to test your learning and practice your skills so that you are confident to apply those new skills in the workplace?
Expert Support – Check that your online training course has a Course Facilitator. Well qualified Course Facilitators should be available to moderate discussion forums and help you with any queries. Everyone needs help at times and this one-to-one contact enhances your learning because you are not left in a learning vacuum where you are unsure about any aspects.
Track Progress – Look for online training where your progress is recorded, so that you have the opportunity to go back and review and retrace your training journey. This enhances learning and retention. It also allows the Course Facilitator to check your progress and see where you may need help or encouragement. Ideally your progress through the online course should be recorded by a digital learning management system. This means when you complete the course you get a unique Certificate of Completion that shows the equivalent hours of CPD and the training outcomes achieved.
So what’s the bottom line? Look for online training that delivers a practical and personalized training and learning experience. Online training should be student-centered and done at your own time, place and pace, but it is vital that it occurs within a supportive learning network.
We’ve summed it up in a simple HaikuDeck slideshow that illustrates the benefits of online training for employee professional development. Use it to convince your boss about the benefits of online training and share it with your colleagues!
Can you think of any other benefits of online training? We’d love to hear from you!