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E-learning cuts time and costs out of training employees, provide just-in-time access to information and knowledge. Learn why e-learning is effective.

It’s hard today to think back at a time when employee training always required traveling and happened in the same place at the same time.

This could often be overwhelming - both when we talk logistics and costs. 

Today, that’s (luckily) no longer the case. And with the numerous formats of e-learning, we can have a more suitable blended learning setting, where we get greater learning outcomes.

What Is E-Learning? 

E-learning, or “electronic learning,” refers to the delivery of training via electronic means—computers, tablets, and, increasingly, smartphones.

The term ‘e-learning’ has only existed since 1999, according to efront. But, computer-based training was actually available to students in 1960.

E-learning formats can vary - a lot. It's not necessarily just a boring, long PDF text you were told to read. It can be created in an authoring tool in learning management systems, and it can also be: 

  • Videos 
  • Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality 
  • Podcasts 
  • Gamified Learning or Interactive Learning 
  • Quizzes 
  • And much more...  

E-Learning VS Online Learning

You might have come across the term online learning or online training instead of e-learning - or maybe even digital learning. No confusion is needed. They are all basically the same. They just have different feelings stuck to them.

For many years e-learning has been labeled as outdated, boring learning content, you essentially did not want to complete. Whereas you might have a different feeling about the words 'online' or 'digital' learning. But it is all the same. It's just about semantics.

In the rest of this article, we will continue to call it e-learning, but we could, just as well, have changed up the word with 'digital learning'.  

What Makes E-Learning Effective?

Flexibility and convenience. Those are some of the benefits that make e-learning effective. But e-learning can also cut time and costs out of the process of training employees, provide just-in-time access to critical information and knowledge and increase productivity. Read the 11 reasons below to get the bigger picture. 

1. Cost-Efficient

E-learning is cost-efficient. Both when we talk about time and money. Time savings, of course, translates to real monetary savings for employers. Employees are out of the office for less time and don’t incur travel expenses.

We can also talk about the high cost of printed materials to trainer fees, and the coordination of participants' schedules. There’s no doubt that one of the biggest benefits to e-learning is the cost-savings to your organization.

Furthermore, e-learning is scalable to any size of organization and money saved through lower training costs can better be spent putting the new skills of your employees into practice.

When employees have on-demand access to the information they need—wherever they are—they’re most likely to take advantage of these resources. Better yet, they’re more likely to retain the knowledge they receive.

2. Flexibility

9 in 10 employees consider the ability to incorporate flexibility into their work as a major motivator, even more so than financial incentives.

Because e-learning can be done at a time and place that works best for the employee, it makes participation easy—which in turn increases retention of key concepts learned.

When learning can be done in manageable portions, it helps to solidify the concepts, rather than dealing with the overwhelming data dump seen in more traditional forms of learning.


3. Adaptability 

For the successful transfer of knowledge to occur, the type of learning offered needs to match the learner’s style.

Offering a wide range of training options that appeal to visual, auditory, or hands-on learners is difficult in a traditional setting.

But e-learning makes it accessible for employees of all technical skill levels. And because e-learning programs are easy to update and make changes to, learners are getting the most timely and relevant information to help them succeed.

4. Gamification

Gamification closes the learning loop by providing instant feedback, which allows employees to implement behavioral changes on the job sooner—not to mention it’s fun.

In fact, adding gamification elements improves learner satisfaction in 84% of cases, and significantly improves test scores for learners.

5. Improves Retention

Learning is best achieved when it is relevant, directed towards a goal, and interactive. One of the best benefits of e-learning is that it improves retention by design.

Immediate feedback, smaller modules, and a variety of learning methods. If they match a learner’s style and energy, they have been proven to improve the ability of employees to transfer the information learned to the job.

In fact, elearning increases retention by 25-60%. They point to higher engagement among employees involved in this type of training.

When learning is transferred back to the job, productivity and revenue are positively impacted. Over 40% of companies say that e-learning has helped them to boost revenue levels. Furthermore, the companies that offer training using technology (including e-learning) have generated more than 25% higher revenue per employee, according to an article in eLearning Industry.

Whatever your industry, whatever the size of your company, e-learning offers benefits that both you and your employees can gain to learn faster and better.

6. Provides Ongoing Access

E-learning supports learners by providing immediate access to information when they need it. Providing a simple interface for employees to find what they need quickly helps job performance and is a great resource for accurate solutions to typical problems.

Unlike a paper manual, e-learning modules reduce the time needed to search for answers and ensure that the answers they find are relevant and up to date, which can reduce workplace errors.

7. Boosts Participation 

In classroom learning environments, it can be difficult to solicit group participation. Many learners are hesitant to contribute in a group environment, and hesitation in doing so can affect positive learner outcomes.

Because of its interactive nature, e-learning boosts both participation, confidence, and completion rates for learners—which means a net benefit for the organizations they work for.

According to Brandon Hall Group’s HCM Outlook survey, elearning can save 40-60% of employees’ time when compared to traditional classroom learning. And this is a true participation booster too, when you can see how time-efficient you can be.

8. Standardization 

Consistency of training can be a challenge for employers, particularly those who have a distributed workforce.

E-learning offers a level of standardization that ensures every employee receives the same materials, techniques, and practical examples throughout the learning experience.

9. Promotes Autonomy

Trust and autonomy are significant drivers in employee retention and engagement. Employees who feel they have control over the work they do are more likely to feel valued and produce better results at work.

Through a learning platform, learners can register and access courses on their own time when it suits them and can easily be accommodated throughout the workday.

10. Simulates Real-Life 

Virtual Reality has become a major player in e-learning because it creates useful links between theory and practice that traditional methods of learning, such as role-playing, can’t replicate. The adaptable nature of virtual learning also allows for an endless number of customized scenarios based on learner inputs to ensure that employees can handle any number of challenging situations with confidence.

11. It’s Eco-Friendly

The reduction in print-based materials alone is enough to make forests everywhere sigh in relief. But studies show that e-learning consumes, on average, a whopping 90% less energy and produces 85% fewer CO2 emissions per learner.

Aside from the previously mentioned cost-savings, integrating e-learning into an organization provides ample opportunity for a business to include corporate social responsibility as part of the return on investment.

Do you want more about how to design effective e-learning? Watch the video below, where you can see how you can build engaging e-learning content in a learning platform.

Remember, some of us are visual learners, and some of us are more hands on-learners. Read more about the 4 learning styles that are great to have in mind, when you design e-learning for your audience.