Learning and Development

Corporate e-Learning: Not a silver bullet for employee development

Corporate e-Learning is here to stay. As more organizations go remote more and more employee training will also be done online. But for learning to be effective and lead to meaningful improvements they need to have a social component. For that reason, e-Learning tools and software are not a silver bullet for preparing employees for the future of work. Instead, they need mentorship and peer learning. We'll argue why in this article.

Ryan Carruthers

January 18, 2022

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, corporate e-Learning has exploded in popularity. An efficient, practical way of developing skills and core competencies, corporate e-Learning is quickly becoming the go-to strategy for employee education worldwide.

The forecast period of 2020 to 2025 alone suggests that the corporate e-Learning market is expected to increase by 37.8 billion, accelerating at a compound annual growth rate of 13%. Without a doubt, corporate e-Learning will only continue to cement itself as the dominant way that companies train and educate their employees.

Though it’s been relatively successful so far, corporate e-Learning is not a silver bullet for employee development. It comes with its own suite of challenges, and those problems can risk significantly decreasing both the efficiency and effectiveness of employee training problems.

In this article, we’ll discuss those challenges, how to resolve them, and some tips and supplementary solutions to help bolster your corporate e-Learning strategy. 


What is Corporate e-Learning?

Oftentimes also called Corporate Education or Workplace Learning, Corporate e-Learning has three main characteristics: 

  • Continuous online education - these courses may be seminars, or lectures similar to a traditional college course. It is especially true if your company uses institutions or external resources to provide corporate training.
  • Aimed at enhancing your overall professional development - you will gain the skills you need to maximize your role in the company.
  • Build competencies that help the company and your career - while it is true that corporate training is intended to help you become more successful in your current role, the skills you learn are transferable to other jobsnd so these are good skills to put in a resume.

There are a few reasons why e-Learning has become so vital, especially today. The first reason is its accessibility - it lets employees learn new skills and improve their knowledge at their own pace. Rather than force employees at different levels of competency to proceed at the same speed, e-Learning is an inherently customized approach that lets learners grow at a rate that’s comfortable for them.

Secondly, corporate e-Learning can be done remotely. This is especially important now, with mandated work-from-home orders in many areas across the world. Additionally, for companies with numerous employees, it circumvents the problem of providing face-to-face in-house training in the same setting.

Lastly, corporate e-Learning can help improve employee productivity by providing them with the tools they need to do their jobs better. This also helps reduce costs associated with traditional training methods.

Corporate e-Learning growth

The prevalence of corporate e-Learning solutions is growing, with augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) emerging as key trends in the next few years. From 2020 to 2024, in the United States alone, the e-Learning market is expected to grow by $12.81 billion. 

Some key vendors of this growing e-Learning market include Adobe, Oracle, Dassault Systemes, Kineo, and more.

With remote work becoming the norm, companies are resorting to online training platforms to train their employees more effectively. As we settle into the “new normal,” companies all over the world are adjusting their corporate strategies to a more virtual environment. 


How do companies use e-Learning?

Corporate e-Learning comes in many forms, and it has several common use-cases in modern corporate settings: helping employees develop new products or services, improving customer service skills, and learning how to promote company values and culture.

Compared to traditional corporate training, it helps integrate learning into an employee’s busy life while reducing the costs associated with the traditional training of employees. This increases training options for companies and allows them to invest more into improving their workforce.

Here are some notable factors why companies use learning management systems and e-Learning platforms:

  • Remain competitive - monitoring trainee progress and making sure they meet their performance milestones.
  • Train new hires - new employees can learn at their own pace when they use online learning and receive immediate feedback. This gives companies a chance to improve the effectiveness of training their new hires.
  • Upskill existing employees - leadership and management courses offered online enable managers and tenured employees to upskill more easily. Future leaders participating in continuous learning through online courses on management can plan their workloads around their online training, and avoid excessive travel time.
  • Encourage workplace learning - having all of the content in one place makes learning easier for teams. Companies usually choose an online platform that gives them as much material as possible to help their employees grow.

New and existing employees can benefit from corporate e-Learning; strong training programs help them complete tasks quickly and with fewer mistakes, and allocate resources more effectively. This culture of learning can generate as much as a 50% increase in revenue for every employee. Secured cash flows can then be used to invest in more business strategies or further e-Learning, catalyzing a runaway effect.


E-Learning will be the future of employee development

Consider these stats from an infographic put together by FinancesOnline. In 2017:

  • 77% of companies in the United States offered e-Learning, 
  • 72% believed that e-Learning gave them a competitive advantage, and 
  • 67% conducted mobile learning at least once.

Due to e-Learning's many advantages both to companies and employees, it’s a no-brainer why the corporate world has adopted it as much as it has. 

And with e-Learning becoming more common, trends show that companies are looking for creative ways to keep employees improving themselves. This is important to maximize knowledge retention and enhance company culture. 

Some of the most notable trends include: 

  • Mobile learning - multiple benefits include scheduling flexibility, portability, and access to more content. In contrast to traditional methods of learning, mobile learning can provide e-Learning content that includes audio-visual presentations, assessments, chat features, and recorded information.
  • Gamification - gaming design combined with corporate training, an almost unlikely combination that can work with today’s technology and innovation. This unique approach to e-Learning provides a fun experience through challenges and achievements. 
  • Video-based learning - as a result of social media's increasing popularity, this trend combines different styles of learning to make it faster. In this case, the trainee works more efficiently as a result of frequent changes in on-screen sensory and auditory stimulation.
  • Micro courses - leaving behind lengthy lectures in favour of engaging short videos that can be shared across departments. The trend of corporate learning to become increasingly accessible and mobile is no surprise.


Challenges With Corporate e-Learning 

It is undoubtedly true that e-Learning will play a role in the future of employee development, but there are clear challenges as well. 

Here are some of the current issues that corporate e-Learning programs suffer from:

  • Lack of collaboration - with employees being able to work at their own pace, corporate learning has become more isolated and distanced. 
  • Relevancy - e-Learning platforms can deliver a lot of different training courses, but this can overwhelm employees browsing courses. Further, the training isn’t relevant to their day-to-day so it often not prioritized.
  • User retention  - e-Learning courses make sustaining learning a challenge. Because the courses require employees to step away from their day-to-day it too often never gets the time it needs to make an impact.
  • Poor engagement - because it’s individualized learning, many employees aren’t as engaged with the content. They would rather learn from their peers or develop their careers with the help of mentors.

Additionally, in employee e-Learning strategies, mentoring is an important aspect that is often overlooked. Face-to-face relationship building is an important part of enjoying and improving at more or less every skill; unfortunately, most corporate e-Learning programs have yet to find a way to integrate this effectively.

 

To Make Corporate e-Learning Better, It Needs Employee Connection

Despite its challenges, e-Learning isn't going anywhere. In today's business environment, corporate e-Learning has become an important tool that will only improve further with advancing technology.

A key factor often neglected in employee e-Learning strategies is mentoring. Corporate training platforms like Together can help integrate real mentorship with static e-Learning programmes to improve outcomes. Much of our learning is done socially. The 70:20:10 learning framework states that:

  • 70% of our workplace learning comes from direct experience (doing our job).
  • 20% comes from our relationships with others, whether coaches, mentors, or peers.
  • 10% comes from individual studies like coursework or formal lecture-style training.

If most of employee learning comes from social interaction, why do our workplace training programs put so much emphasis on individual training?

This is why mentorship is crucial to employee development and training.

How important is mentoring software in corporate e-Learning? Employees that go through mentorship programs get promoted a whopping 5 times faster than those not in them. Additionally, 67% of businesses report increased productivity due to mentoring. 

Considering the majority of employees are now working from home due to the pandemic, mentoring is quickly becoming essential for improving your business' culture and ensuring that employees remain connected. 

Lastly, mentoring can help provide continuous learning opportunities that simply aren’t present in the status-quo of corporate e-Learning. It’s a time-tested strategy that combines the best of traditional and modern technology-based approaches.

 

Summary

Corporate e-Learning alone is not a silver bullet for employee development. Though it can bolster a strong pre-existing training program, the best outcomes in corporate e-Learning come when it’s combined with effective mentorship.

Hands-on mentorship can reliably solve most corporate e-Learning challenges, like, employee engagement (especially engaging Millennials), culture building, and continuous learning, and it can help companies improve internal employee training programs at scale.

This is where Together comes in. Trusted by some of the world’s most recognized companies like New York Life, Randstad, Heineken, Discovery, and 7-Eleven, our mission is to help every employee find and learn from peers, mentors, or experts at their company. 

One of the biggest challenges of e-Learning is that it’s done in isolation. With our mentorship and peer learning programs, employees are paired in 1-on-1’s or in groups.

Doing so both accelerates learning and development & makes it significantly more enjoyable. Gone are the days of boring, classroom-style lectures—today’s mentorship-based e-Learning is engaging, collaborative and mutually supportive!

We know that mentors play a crucial role in each stage of the employee life cycle, and that’s why Together is ready to help make your corporate e-Learning program successful. Take a look at what we can offer your company today!

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