The use of learning and development technologies by businesses is on the rise and adding value to a number of companies, across a range of industries. In fact, according to eLearning Industry, the global online corporate training market is expected to grow by 13% per year up to 2017. And, when we consider the findings of the Worldwide Mobile Learning Market report that as many as 42% of companies have seen an increase in revenue since integrating e-learning courses to employee training programmes, the added value is hard to deny.
This only makes it all the harder to believe that when e-learning courses were first being introduced as a training method, they were met with reluctance and trepidation. It was the fear of many that by using computers in training, the human element that some people require in order to learn would be lost or undermined. However, as technology has advanced and become increasingly integral to enhancing our daily lives, it’s become accepted that its integration within the training sector is just as important and enhancing.
So, with more and more companies moving towards introducing L&D technology, it’s time to look at the benefits it is offering to those that have been quick on the uptake.
Learning and development technologies are known to encourage greater information recall and retention, thanks to their interactive nature. E-learning courses often make use of video content, interactive slides, and can also provide learners with the opportunity to work through systems in ‘training mode’, so they can pick up skills by ‘doing’. When employees are more engaged and can see the value in their training, performance and productivity are bound to improve.
Personalise and empower
Training can be more personalised and empower employees to take control over their own learning journey. Staff can choose when to undertake training, and in a format that works best for them. This also means added flexibility as it mitigates the need for staff members to congregate in a classroom at a specified time – they can instead undertake training on their own, which is important when it comes to managing resource in busy 24/7 business environments such as contact centres.
E-learning also provides real-time feedback as and when each element of a course is complete, alleviating the need for a manager to manually mark through tests and coursework. This frees up time for more value add activities such as engaging content generation and one-to-one coaching and feedback sessions. And, at the same time, managers have the ability to monitor each employee’s progress, making it easier to train up new-starts or upskill existing staff to take on new tasks, or progress up through the ranks.
The cost effectiveness of using learning and development technology is another benefit that can’t be ignored. Once you eliminate the need for hard copy learning materials, the cost of hiring a room, reimbursing travel, as well as appointing a trainer, the savings become blatant. And, as training resources remain online they can be updated regularly, quickly and easily – saving time and money and assuring information relevancy and accuracy.
And the benefits in practice?
We’ve been using e-learning systems over the past few years and have developed a bespoke programme in line with our specific business needs. In fact, we just recently overhauled our e-learning system, ePOD, to ensure it stays up-to-date with all of our training requirements.
As a contact centre business, our teams are often working on multiple campaigns, so they need to be trained up and multi-skilled in short periods of time. E-learning enables this with engaging content and gives employees the tools and independence to educate themselves on upcoming campaigns. We’ve also found this to be effective in providing employees with the opportunity to take their own initiative and progress through the business.
In our experience, the most popular and effective tools have been videos, keeping a bank of examples of good calls, and maintaining an up-to-date library of campaign information – these have all transformed the way we conduct our training and coaching. For our clients, it means that our advisors have the latest real time campaign information and knowledge at their fingertips at their desks when they need it most.
People are often a business’s greatest asset and therefore when it comes to learning and development, getting it right is imperative – investing in the technology now will make savings for the future. It makes business sense to be employing techniques that will train staff up in the best way, in the shortest time, and which ultimately will create a better-informed and more highly-trained workforce, who are empowered and engaged to learn and grow.
By Simon Thatcher, senior learning and development consultant at Echo Managed Services