It’s a question a lot of people are asking, from executives responsible for maintaining a highly knowledgeable workforce, to independent professionals looking to improve their skill sets without the time commitment of more formal education.
We’re doing some good work with our partners in post-secondary education, but since we’re primarily focused on giving business development professionals the skills they need to excel, I’ll approach the question from that perspective.
This is the most commonly discussed reason for e-learning programs. Employee time, travel, course tuition and materials – these are all far lower investments with e-learning than with traditional classroom training.
One must, of course, balance the value received with the cost. There are some classroom experiences that are a tremendous value because they provide an opportunity to interact with other students or brilliant instructors. (But let’s be honest. It is interesting how these classes all seem to be held in Orlando and Las Vegas in February!)
On the whole, though, the price per content hour in e-learning is a mere fraction of classroom instruction. So, it’s not really a matter of whether classroom training is “worth it,” but rather whether it’s worth so much more.
SalesBasix was born out of our belief that one shouldn’t have to choose between ineffective learning and expensive learning. Our training provides some of the knowledge and experience gained by our subject matter experts over decades in the business development arena, at a fraction of the cost.
On the surface, it seems like there’s a lot more opportunity for relationship in a classroom environment, where there’s potential for a face-to-face connection between instructor and learner. But in reality, that environment often results in a “face in the crowd” feeling, where the instructor’s attention is divided, learners feel like a number, and the whole class proceeds at the speed of the…slowest…class…member.
With e-learning – at least well-designed e-learning – you set the pace, and the course topics are clearly outlined so you can determine which topics you want to learn more about, and which ones you might want to skip. Likewise – instead of going to an industry conference where you have to choose “tracks” with some seminars you want to attend, and some you don’t, e-learning offers the flexibility down to the individual module level to ensure you’re getting – and only paying for – what you need.
Immediacy and Reach
Anywhere. Anytime. 24/7. On Demand.
We’ve gotten so accustomed to instant access in other areas of our lives that any time spent waiting now seems like a chore. I’m in the market for a new laptop, and I was shocked to find out it may take several days to custom-build a machine to my specifications, load the operating system, test it, and ship it across the country to my house! I mean, who has that kind of time?
Some large technology companies have training requirements that seem to exist mostly so they can advertise that their employees receive X number of training hours per year, as though the mere time spent ensures currency with the latest technology or processes. In the SMB market, though, the need for quality training is based not on some arbitrary number, but rather on the need for the actual knowledge and a way to immediately apply it to one’s work. When we have this immediate need, and an immediate opportunity to apply the new knowledge, why would we wait?
I recently did an experiment that I think illustrates this point well. I picked a couple orders that came in to our website on a Thursday. (Thank you, by the way!) I then tracked the modules those learners purchased, because I wanted to see how many days it took for them to access and complete the modules.
I didn’t have to wait for “days” at all. One learner completed her module within two hours – the other learner finished just 57 minutes after completing his purchase. Clearly, these folks understood first-hand the importance of content that was available when – and where – they needed it.
Which brings me to another point about the reach of e-learning. I’ve worked for some large companies in the past. And I’ve been a “remote office” employee in those companies. In those remote offices, there wasn’t a “training room” dedicated to whatever class we all had to take. And I’ve worked from home, too, where I guarantee you we don’t have the square footage for a classroom.
With e-learning, the classroom is wherever you want it to be. As long as there’s an Internet connection, you’re there. And we’re happy to be right there with you.
The Last Word
Of course, when considering an e-learning approach, one must always apply some common sense for the nature and depth of the topic being learned. I used to work at a Fortune 500 company that had a very extensive computer-based training program. But I knew it had gone too far when one day I noticed that – no kidding – there was an e-learning module for Interpersonal Skills!
Nonetheless, when looking at training for specific business skills, e-learning often offers advantages of cost, immediacy, specificity, and reach that traditional training can’t touch.
Let me know what you think!