Effective training is critical if an employer wants to develop quality employees, improve risk management and increase productivity.
Training is costly in terms of dollars and time, however, which is why employers are increasingly choosing online employee training delivered via the internet or company intranet.
Here are seven benefits of online training:
1. Cost savings. Travel costs, classroom and equipment rental fees, printed materials and instructor fees are all reduced or eliminated when online training is used.
2. Decreased productivity loss. With online training, there is no longer time spent coordinating employee time and travel. In addition, employees can do the training during their slower times, rather than whenever the class is scheduled, thereby lessening the impact on productivity.
3. Convenience. Employees can participate in online training from their cubicles, homes or the local coffee shop … anywhere they can access it. They can also complete the training when they have time, and at a time when they are mentally sharp. A morning person may log on for training at 7 a.m., whereas another employee may prefer to do the training after lunch.
4. Consistency. Once training software is developed, it conveys the same message every time to every user, unlike a classroom curriculum which, while used for multiple classes, may be presented differently depending on the instructor.
5. Self-paced. With online training, fast-learning employees aren’t frustrated having to wait for those who learn at a slower pace. Likewise, struggling students can take as much time as they need to grasp a concept and don’t feel pressure to move forward with the rest of the class.
6. Changeable. While consistency is a benefit of online training, so is changeability. Updates can be implemented by having a programmer manipulate existing software. This eliminates the need to retrain the trainer.
7. Repeatable. Some people need to see or hear content more than once to really “get” it. This is especially true when teaching someone to perform a task. Online learning allows employees to repeat sections of training they don’t fully understand the first time or repeat the course any time as a refresher.
As technology advances, online learning promises to become even more effective. The use of virtual reality technology is likely to become more prevalent in training, making “hands-on,” in-person learning possible from remote locations.
It’s important to keep in mind that not all employees have the same learning style, not all topics are suited for online training and not all training packages are of equal quality. Be sure the online training developed or purchased caters to the needs of your specific workforce and is compliant with any industry training requirements. In particular, some safety training requires that attendees be able to ask questions and receive immediate answers — and that might not be an option for self-directed online training.
Blended learning using a mix of online and classroom training may be the most effective approach. When online training is utilized, give employees a deadline for completing the training, always monitor employee progress and provide a way for trainees to contact a subject matter expert with any questions.
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Judy Kneiszel is an associate editor on the Human Resources Publishing Team at J. J. Keller. She conducts research and creates content on a variety of HR-related topics and contributes to a number of J. J. Keller products including the Employee Relations Management Today newsletter and the Essentials of Employee Relations manual.