When Does On-Demand Learning Make Sense for Businesses?

When Does On-Demand Learning Make Sense for Businesses?
June 4, 2012

As eLearning trends continue to thrive, there may be a misconception that on-demand training will soon replace all traditional company learning methods. Of course, this isn’t true, as live and in-person instruction will always play a role in corporate training.

The key for organizations is to identify the parts of their training programs that can and should be supplemented by on-demand – not simply replace the entire training program in one fell swoop.  To do this, it’s important to understand how live training is affecting your company, both positively and negatively.

Not long ago, Asma Zaineb posted an article on CommLab India’s  eLearning Blog highlighting the disadvantages of live, “instructor led training” in organizations. What’s great about the post is that it not only looks at the pitfalls for the company, but for the learners and employees themselves. It’s a solid, quick read, but I thought I’d pull out one point that’s really at the heart of why companies consider an on-demand, eLearning approach:

Instructor led training can be EXPENSIVE and TIME-CONSUIMING.

This is usually the first thing company’s look for from eLearning – “How can it save us money?” As Zaineb points out, travel costs alone can require a lot of cash for in-person training sessions, especially with today’s ever-growing mobile workforce. Live, online training sessions can help here, of course. But those programs can be costly as well, not to mention the fact that they still pull learners out of work for the duration of the training, which hurts overall productivity.

Calculating ROI for on-demand training can be tricky business, but the benefits are almost always there from a cost-perspective. In fact, I recently read a whitepaper from Microsoft comparing in-person classroom training with virtual learning. According to the report, the company saved over $300 per participant by switching to the latter.  Wow.

So as an organization, find the parts of your training program that are either taking too much time to coordinate (like orientation for new hires, for example) and/or have become impractical from a logistics standpoint. That way you can be sure to get the most value out of on-demand learning, and your employees will too.