Obvious Benefits of Online Learning
1. Convenience for the Learner
One of the major benefits of online learning is that it provides more flexibility for the learner. You can work and fit your work schedule (and your hobbies) around your coursework. Even more so if you are taking an online (especially an on-demand) course. Here you don’t have to log in at a specific time for a live session. But you can study and interact with your instructor and your classmates at your own pace. An example is this course that teaches you about accessibility in online environments.
2. Global Reach
You can reach a lot of geographically disbursed people in a short space of time, with minimal extra effort. A good example is this on-demand course on fact-checking. Nowadays, misinformation is rampant and tends to “go viral”. Imagine an international organization that needs to upskill its stakeholders on this issue. The benefits of elearning include not holding many sessions of online webinars or video calls in a variety of different time zones. And you can add a follow-up live virtual discussion after the on-demand course. You could even make the discussion local to help people apply what they’ve learned in their own context.
3. Low Delivery Costs
Another of the significant benefits of online learning is that delivery costs are low. As are the logistical requirements. You don’t have to book training rooms, travel or accommodation. Or arrange lunches, or arrange and qualify instructors. You don’t have to print materials or maintain computer labs. Once you build an on-demand course, you can offer it to anyone, at any time.
4. Cost Savings for the Learner Too
For an individual taking an online course cost savings can also be one of the benefits. For example, you’ll likely have lower accommodation and transportation costs. You also don’t have to spend valuable time travelling to training too.
5. Personal Interaction
In a live virtual event (such as a live webinar) the learner can feel a sense of connectedness with the rest of the class. Even though they may be hundreds or thousands of miles away! An online course can include interaction between participants, to share and discuss concepts.
6. Review It As Many Times As You Want
For on-demand learning, such as an elearning course, the learner can at any time return and repeat the course. Even many years later. All at a moment’s notice. This helps increase retention and is one of the benefits of online learning to those receiving the instruction. Moreover, an organization or educator might also push out reminder lessons or refreshers. Such as, once-a-year tasks can have a reminder email/nudge with a micro-lesson attached to it. Or if there are updates to the program, you might get a notification about the new content. Also, if you are doing a procedure for the first time, there might be a suggestion that you complete a refresher first.
LESS OBVIOUS BENEFITS OF ONLINE LEARNING
7. Improved Results Over Traditional Training
One of the benefits of elearning is that it can produce better results than in-person learning. For example, a study by the US Department of Education found that “on average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction”. Similarly, a University study analyzing online training in the corporate and business sector concluded that
- “Online training has the proven potential to be more effective than in-person training”, and
- “Online training has the proven potential to significantly reduce total training time (‘and costs’) while maintaining learning effectiveness”
8. Better Career Prospects
A 2013 study (Online College Students, 2013 Study by The Learning House & Aslanian Market Research) showed that people completing an online program of study greatly increased their chances of finding a new job. Also, 45% of people had a salary increase. While 36% gained a promotion after completing online learning courses. For organizations offering online learning to a non-employee audience, this is important. Especially if you are pursuing a certification approach. People are motivated to take your course because it will enhance their career prospects.
9. Reduced Carbon Footprint
Another of the benefits of elearning is that you don’t have to commute to a class or workshop. Not only do you save money (gas, bus fare, etc)., but you also reduce your carbon footprint!
10. Access to the Latest Up to Date Content
As an online course is easy to update, you can have access to the latest content on your subject or topic. You aren’t waiting for a manual, or textbook to be rewritten and re-printed to get the most up to date information. Also, organizations updating materials find it easier and more convenient. As well as less expensive.
11. Quicker Completion of Courses
One of the benefits of elearning is that courses are often completed in a shorter time. Those taking an elearning course can quickly move through material that they are knowledgable about. All without waiting for the instructor or others in the class to complete it. Then you can focus your time on the new or more complex topics. A Brandon Hall study found that online learning requires 40-60 percent less employee time than in-person training. For example, one of our clients noted that they had two distinct groups that took their courses. One was a very experienced group focused on the exam prep part of their curriculum. They would prefer to skim through the content. The others were “new” to the industry group and wanted in-depth instruction. Online learning, supports both groups in a way that works for them.
12. Consistency of Learning
Online learning is more standardized and provides consistent content and information. It’s not based on how the instructor is feeling that day, or on what the instructors’ favourite topics are. Everyone can receive the same consistent training, every time.
13. Accessible to a Worldwide Audience
Unlike face-face training one of the benefits of online learning is that its available 24/7. Allowing access to a global audience and increasingly to remote workers.
14. Morale Booster
A 2012 study (ILX Digital Learning For Business) of Human Resource executives found that online learning had a direct impact on boosting employee morale, satisfaction, and longevity.
15. Go Beyond Awareness, Change Behaviour
Another of the benefits of elearning is that it can result in behaviour change. Especially in complex situations, where there are ingrained habits. Using instructional design techniques in online learning can form new habits. This is one of the benefits of online learning and why many mission-driven organizations create online modules.
16. Increased Product Use
One of the benefits of online learning associated with a product is that it increases its usage. This helps create more loyal customers and users who will continue to use your product. And be much less likely to switch to a competitor. For example, Canva offers a great platform for D-I-Y designers. But it also offers great support for the tool and design overall. They offer onboarding including templates, tutorials, and even an instructional text search option. They also offer a Design School course, including social media marketing and branding.
17. Improved Retention
The Research Institute of America reported that online learning increases retention rates by 25 – 60 percent. Whereas traditional in-person training only increased retention rates by 8 – 10 percent. These increases are due to the greater control over the learning process. Learners being able to revisit the material as needed.
18. Online Learning Can Offer A Personalized Experience
By asking a few questions of the person taking the course it is easy to create a personalized learning experience. Based on your responses you can take one of several course paths. And receive an experience tailored to you. Here’s a good example of addressing problems people have with delegation. Try it out. By asking you a few questions you receive tailored feedback. Then take a scenario to work through based on the area you chose as being a challenge.
19. Improved Data Tracking
Through online learning, data can be tracked in real-time through each stage. This can be used to improve the learning and measure the business impacts of the learning. Or to identify areas for more personal learning or coaching and development. As well, learners can receive real-time feedback and results as the course progresses. If you use online learning to help educate your customers on your products there are extra benefits. By analyzing the data where your customers run into problems, you can prioritize the topics to produce first and order what should follow later.
20. A Safe Learning Environment
During in-person training, people can sometimes feel intimidated. Online learning removes the fear and anxiety associated with asking a question. Or to respond to a question you are asked. It helps reduce any embarrassment of failure in front of a group. An online course should show the student the result of their actions and provide feedback along the way. Allowing the student to go back and try again if necessary.
21. Fast Delivery of Training
Another of the benefits of online learning is how fast it can be delivered. Compared to in-person training it is far quicker to deliver an e-learning course to many thousands of people. This time-to-scale means that you can develop an online learning solution and deploy it quickly. COVID-19 is a case study in the rapid deployment of instruction, particularly in healthcare.
22. Localized Content
The ability to easily translate training into different languages is one of the benefits of online learning. As is the ability to include specific local content for different cultures. Or to include local guidelines or regulations.
Written by: Mark Aston
Date: July 16, 2020
Spark + Co.