It can be hard to make the switch to eLearning when your organization has always trained differently in the past. For decades, training has been seen as a one-time, as-needed event. But with eLearning, employee training can be a continuous process and journey. Utilizing tools like microlearning, blended learning, and gamification can completely revitalize your organization’s learning and development and initiatives. Still, it might not be the right fit for every situation. By breaking down the distinct advantages and disadvantages of eLearning, you can decide if it’s right for your company and get everyone else on board, too.
Advantages of eLearning
- Autonomy. Traditional training programs force all employees to go through the same process. However, there is a huge spectrum of existing knowledge in one training room. Making the switch to eLearning means each learner can have a completely different experience, yet arrive at the same endpoint. The learner has complete control over what modules he or she experiences and can piece together a custom learning experience.
- BYOD. Every learner has a high-tech learning device in their pockets at all times: their smartphones. An eLearning approach gives you the chance to co-opt a number of different technologies that are already at your learners’ fingertips. From quick videos to messaging, apps, and emails, it turns smartphones into anytime, anywhere learning devices.
- Time. Instead of blocking off entire afternoons for training sessions, eLearning respects learners’ time. Learning can be delivered in quick snippets via microlearning or even during learner downtime with blended learning or multimedia options. This reduces the isolated time (and possibly travel) required by typical training and instead makes any moment a teachable one.
- Cost Savings. You can’t ignore the cost savings of eLearning. One of the major advantages of eLearning in the workplace is that you can purpose and repurpose content again and again. Rather than a one-time event, you can create online learning libraries so employees can find what they’re looking for whenever they need it. At the same time, you save on employee manpower, since they aren’t dedicating entire blocks of time to training and instead, learning as they go.
Disadvantages of eLearning
- Less Formal. It’s true, some learners enjoy the classroom aspect of training. Some feel like formal training makes it easier to focus, or they like interacting with an instructor and other employees. Still, blended learning can help give more traditional learners a chance to interact while incorporating eLearning to double up on opportunities and reiterate topics.
- More Advanced Tech. Some employees can be resistant to change, especially when it comes to technology. In those cases, eLearning can be difficult to adopt. Some older employees might have trouble accessing eLearning materials, while others might not have the right tech in a BYOD scenario. Working with an instructional designer can help you create eLearning that works across a variety of devices and offers a simple user experience.
- Difficult Buy-In. Introducing the idea of eLearning requires buy-in from a number of people. Whether it’s the C-suite or employees, change can be hard. When an organization has trained one way for years, it’s understandable that switching to eLearning raises a few eyebrows. It’s important to highlight the benefits of eLearning and remind the change-resistant that you’re not starting from scratch with content, but rather finding better ways to deliver the message.
It’s clear that eLearning has its pros and cons, but none of the disadvantages are insurmountable. Solutions are readily available to sway even the most resistant learners toward eLearning. By highlighting the why and how of eLearning to the right people, making the switch can be practically painless.