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8 Reasons Your Training Business Should Offer Online Learning
We've all seen online learning increasing in popularity over the last ten or so years, across both professional development and traditional education. With the substantial increase in people using their phones, tablets and computers in everyday life and the fast-paced development of technology, online learning is becoming the number one choice for learners and educators alike. This is leading to many educators, training professionals and L&D departments re-evaluating their approach to how they run their courses.
Why are more people opting to learn online? Let's start with some stats:
- 99% of course administrators have seen an increase in the demand for online learning over recent years [Best Colleges]
- 69% of millennials find technology a more effective learning source than people [Business Insider UK]
- Training providers offering online learning has increased year on year since 2016 which is predicted to increase even more in the next 12 months [Training Industry Benchmark Report]
So, what makes online learning so popular in 2018? And how do course providers choose the best avenue for their business?
8 Reasons Your Training Business Should Offer Online Learning
1. Accessible to All
With 90% of UK adults being active users of the internet, it is the one place that it is accessible to the majority of your audience. This widens your target market massively.
Additionally, not everyone is set up to head in to the classroom once; twice, or more times a week, be this for work, health or situational issues. There are many people who find social situations difficult and who struggle with traditional classroom-based environments. Online classes give students the ability to structure learning around their time-constraints and it allows the shyer learners to interact in group discussions with greater anonymity.
2. Distance Learning
Online learning offers the chance for people to attend a course which would otherwise be too far away for them to study. The ability to choose the best course or training program, without having to consider travelling distance, is encouraging more people to sign-up to learn new skills.
This is very much the case amongst the adult learner population, who learn in their spare time. Businesses can run courses for teams all over the country, without the need for travel, or the expense of hiring venues/trainers for each event.
The use of an LMS (learning management system) allows trainers and L&D professionals to make the experience of their course attendees more personal to them. Both learners and trainers can access data showing progress so far, and suggestions or additions that are needed can be made based on the data. This can be utilised with even more proficiency when coupled with gamification, the use of an App, or the addition of training management software.
4. Mobile Learning
A trend that seems to be becoming more prevalent, is the use of mobile phones in conjunction with online learning. This means that learners have even more options when it comes to where and when they learn.
In a study conducted by Towards Maturity, they found that “53% [of workers] find location or IT is a barrier to learn online, so they are turning to mobile, with 64% saying accessing learning from a mobile device is essential/very useful”.
There is a wide range of mobile learning options available today which are outlined in the graphic below.
5. Offline Learning
Downloadable content on both mobile and desktop allow learners to access content, even when they don’t have an internet connection. This has obvious benefits, especially to people who work full-time and potentially want to learn while commuting, or during their lunch break.
The gamification of online learning allows the user more control and motivates them to complete their training. Gamification can come in many guises: It can tap into the intrinsic competitive streak that most of us have or provide decision-based scenarios, that make learning more entertaining.
As a younger population of learners emerges; one that grew up playing and learning from computer games, it stands to reason that they would benefit most from this style of learning.
Recommended reading: eLearning vs Gamification: Which is Right For Your Business?
7. Lower Costs
Most online courses are far more cost effective, for both learners and training providers. Learners don’t incur the travel and subject material costs associated with classroom learning, whilst administrators don’t have to hire a classroom and trainers for every course they run. Content can be updated electronically and instantly, rather than training teams incurring the expense of producing new course material each time there’s an update.
The example below is a ROI comparison of traditional classroom training and an eLearning equivalent.
As you can see, by offering a purely online option: costs are slashed by up to £9,500 (55%) for internal learning and development and £3,000 (50%) for commercial training.
BYOD or ‘Bring Your Own Device’ means that learners can use the hardware they are comfortable with and get stuck straight into their course materials faster. We love our devices! A 2016 study by dscout found that “People tapped, swiped and clicked a whopping 2,617 times each day, on average.” Using technology that people enjoy and are used to using every day is another way to keep learners engaged and motivated. It's also a cost saving as a training provider as you are not required to provide and service equipment.
Is Online Learning Right for Your Business?
Good online learning is in general, a more accessible, more flexible way of learning and training. However, there are upsides to classroom-based learning that need to be considered when making the decision on what works best for your employees, clients and business style.
Many trainers are choosing a blend of the two (blended learning), in order to utilise the strengths of both options. With the obvious benefits to both learners and trainers, it stands to reason that online learning is only going to grow in popularity, so keeping ahead of the curve is something all training providers need to be considering.
Want to learn more about the pros and cons of online learning? Join our live webinar debate on Thursday 6th December 2018 at 11AM here.