In a recent report from April 2020, the compound annual growth rate of the eLearning market is predicted to grow globally at a staggering 14% over the next 5 years. * from 2020-2025.
The current pandemic has made businesses more aware than ever of the importance of digital in what they do. Organisations that do not embrace digital will find the future becoming even more challenging, that is - if they have any future at all.
We have seen companies like Zoom develop from a small brand that few people knew about to one that has attracted the attention of huge players such as Google (with its product Google Meet) and Microsoft (with its Teams) causing them to upscale, and improve these. Again, this has been driven by the need to go more digital in multiple ways.
So why is eLearning so important now, and what are the benefits of having robust, effective, and successful eLearning programmes for a business?
Health and Safety
The most important benefit to an organisation of business eLearning is the health and safety of its staff. The world is still some way off from having an effective vaccine and most experts predict this will not be available until later this year at best, or early next year.
Even when there is a vaccine available, the logistics of distribution will cause yet more delays before it is available worldwide. It is most likely that we will not see a truly protected global population until Spring 2021. There have already been dire warnings from the WHO of a possible return of the growth in the spread of the virus. Therefore, providing online learning, is much safer to do right now and will be for some time yet.
Seth Godin’s advice has never been truer: once said on his blog, 'when you're not working, learn a new skill'. The smarter businesses are helping their people to do exactly this by creating new eLearning programmes or upgrading and improving the ones they have.
Even here in the UK, while those people who are furloughed cannot work for their employers, they can join training programmes provided by their employers. If your staff are being paid 80% of their wages by the Government anyway, it is a good idea to have them learn new skills while doing so.
Following closely on the heels of health and safety is the benefit of improved morale. There is no question there has been an impact on mental health with cases of depression, mental illness and related problems soaring. Everyone has been affected in different ways and it is likely that morale in workforces has dropped during the current pandemic.
Long before the pandemic though, in a report in 2017, CV Library in partnership with eCareers ran a survey of 1000 workers in the UK and found that when questioned, 43.7% said they were happy in their job and 38.2% cite constantly learning new skills as the main factor behind this.
Learning improves morale, whether this is face to face or online, and it’s clear that whether there is a pandemic or not, learning new skills improves the morale of a workforce.
The Growth in Digital
Now that businesses are moving even more of what they do online, and will continue to do so, there is an even greater need for more people to have digital skills and be digitally literate. This is vital across all areas of a business. Most of the world's most successful brands are putting digital first in what they do. This means a greater use of digital tools, technology and processes and the need for more understanding not only of how these should be deployed but in the ways they should be deployed.
Even with some people now coming out of lockdown and going back to work, we are still way off a situation where everyone can go back to work. Even when they can, there will be the challenges of travel, time and budgets.
Digital enables communications globally. eLearning can now be delivered by someone anywhere to people in multiple locations. Training can be from the UK at 4.00 am to people in Singapore as their day begins and to people in Atlanta in the US as their day ends. It can be delivered to people all over the US or to multiple countries in Europe, all at the same time. I know, because here at The Learning Doctors, we’ve done all these things.
As people, we like the company of others so that we can discuss, share opinions, make plans, meet challenges, these are some of the things that make us human and when we cannot do these, life is not as rich and fulfilling as it should be. This has been one of the greatest costs of the lockdown.
eLearning is highly cost-effective. For example, if training is needed for division heads across multiple countries in Europe then the costs of flights, accommodation, and venues can be huge. However, by delivering eLearning to people in their homes, there is no need for these costs. eLearning can also be done at scale with hundreds of people and with content of the highest quality. There can be a high level of interaction, activities, rich media, discussions, and other elements to ensure that it is engaging, upbeat and something that inspires and motivates.
The benefits from eLearning and the value from it can be accurately measured in multiple ways. Whether it is up-skilling senior teams in digital transformation, or marketing teams on the use of omni-channel marketing, by monitoring and measuring the improvement in performance, and gathering feedback, a continuous process of company-wide improvement can be set in motion.
Today businesses face more challenges than ever and some of the challenges being faced are unique to the time we live in.
Elliot Masie, an educational technology expert and the person credited with coining the phrase "eLearning" summed it up well: when he said, "We need to bring learning to people instead of people to learning."
Never has the thought behind this quote been more critical than it is today.
* Source: E-Learning Market - Global Outlook and Forecast 2020-2025, April 2020.
This article was written by Jeremy Spiller as part of our partnership with the Learning doctors. Please contact us for all your e-training needs.