You’ve heard rumors about the benefits to ROI, knowledge retention, and keeping employees engaged.
Colleagues of yours have been whispering about how training employees and keeping them current in their training is now easier than ever.
What are they talking about?
Online elearning platforms, or elearning platforms.
Oh, you mean those things they use for online school?
Sort of, but quite a few elearning platforms have been adapted for business use, offering specific features and benefits that businesses are looking for.
If you haven’t been keeping up with the latest and greatest news in corporate elearning platforms, know that there are tons of reasons why you should get on board with implementing your own for your business.
In this article, we’ll explore those reasons, but before we get started, let’s define elearning platforms and how they can be used for businesses.
What is an e Learning Platform in a Business Context?
An e learning (also spelled e-learning or eLearning) platform is an information system for your business that houses training materials, including courses and resources, that management and senior employees can use to train new and existing employees.
You might be thinking, “oh, so like a shared file network, where I can store training documents, right?” which is not entirely incorrect since a typical e learning courses platform does have the ability to act as sort of a file-sharing network, but it’s actually much more than that.
To start off with, most elearning platforms usually include these features:
- A place to host and present course content so it’s accessible to learners
- The ability to mark courses as complete (either manually or automatically) once a learner has gone through all the material
- White labeling that allows you to add your branding to third-party content
- Reporting and analytics that help you track and measure performance and progress
- Video conferencing, messaging, or other ways for learners and instructors to keep in touch with each other
- Learning paths or a way for learners to understand which courses they need to take
- Responsive design so that online e learning can be done on any device
These features are staples of what makes an online elearning platform attractive for both employers and employees since it provides one place to manage corporate training.
In addition, most online elearning platforms offer integrations, which just means they can connect with the existing software programs you use in your company, like Salesforce or Slack. These integrations typically mean it’s easier to gather relevant information, rather than needing to constantly switch back and forth between different programs.
The integrations that specific elearning platforms differ, but most platforms like Tovuti will include a list of common programs that are supported in the system through an integration process. For example, one of the ways that Tovuti offers integrations is through software called Zapier. This software helps Tovuti’s online e learning platform connect with over 2,000 different apps. If you have proprietary software or are using a piece of software that isn’t on the integration list, you can always utilize Open API to facilitate a connection.
What is the Difference Between an Academic e Learning Platform and a Business e Learning Platform?
The obvious difference between academic e-learning platforms and business e-learning platforms is that the former provides a platform for teachers to teach students in a school setting, as well as provide a place for students to submit assignments and take tests. A business or corporate e-learning platform is typically more focused on the training and development of employees, usually with less direct instruction and more self-directed learning. It may also include business-specific functionality, like recruiting, HR management, and more.
However, corporate elearning platforms can also host webinars, video conferences, and other events that provide a face-to-face learning experience.
Even though the differences between an academic and business e-learning platform might seem straightforward, it can be more difficult to spot in reality unless the platform explicitly states that it is meant for education or business, like Blackboard, for example.
To make things easier, let’s highlight some major differences between academic e-learning platforms and business e-learning platforms in the following chart:
Can There Be an Overlap in Educational vs. Business e Learning Platforms?
Absolutely. When it comes to online elearning platforms, many of the popular offerings out there could potentially offer enough functionality that they could work in either an academic or business setting. Because of this, the lines between what constitutes a business online elearning platform and an academic online elearning platform are becoming increasingly blurred.
Mobile learning is one example. While not typically a super popular feature of academic online e learning platforms, the increased need for remote learning has meant that education-focused online e learning platforms are looking beyond the home computer and implementing mobile features, like Google Classroom, which comes complete with a mobile application.
10 Reasons Why You Should Adopt a Corporate e-Learning Platform
Now that we’ve gone through what an elearning platform is, let’s get into why you should bite the bullet on a corporate e learning platform for your company.
1. Save On Training Costs
While investing in an e learning platform might seem expensive at first, it can save money on training in the long run. Travel expenses, renting a space for training, and setting aside time away from work so employees can complete the training are all examples of costs that are associated with in-person training that can be saved by moving to an elearning platform.
If in-person training is required because you are in a regulated industry, such as healthcare, consider that an e learning platform can support hybrid learning, which breaks up the theoretical portion of a training course (which can typically be done online and still follow regulations) and the in-person component into chunks. This way, time spent in the classroom is reduced, with learners only needing to complete the portion of in-person classroom training that is required. This can still save money on travel expenses, hiring instructors, and renting out classroom space.
2. Make Training Easier and More Efficient
Busy schedules can make dedicating time and energy to learning difficult for employees. Higher priority events, like meeting with clients or completing an important project, could take priority over training, causing them to fall behind and resulting in the training feeling more like an inconvenience than a benefit.
Most corporate e learning software platforms anticipate this struggle and have incorporated features into their platforms, like microlearning and mobile responsiveness, that makes training easier and more efficient. Microlearning breaks up content into easily-digestible chunks, making it a breeze to complete training when an employee has a spare few minutes. When an e learning platform is mobile responsive, it makes it easy for employees to whip out their smartphone and complete a quiz or quickly review a document, keeping their memory fresh and their learning on track.
3. Train New Employees Faster
Hiring new employees requires a lot of time and effort. Dedicating time for senior employees to train new employees is pretty time-consuming, so why not move some of that training online? With the right combination of an e learning platform and support from others, new employees can be onboarded faster, easier, and with more confidence. In addition, since e learning platforms have no limits on the number of people engaging in training at one time, you can hire multiple people for one team and have them learn and grow together through collaboration.
4. Centralize Training Materials and Resources
You might have all your company’s documents located in a shared network already, but chances are every resource and training document is scattered throughout the network, living in the shared folders of different departments with different levels of access.
With an e learning platform, not only are you able to centralize your training materials and resources, employees can search, rate, and share those resources right on the platform itself. This means that all you have to do is upload the content, choose relevant categories and groups during the upload process, and the e learning platform and your employees will take care of the rest.
Whether you need to train one or hundreds of employees at one time, a corporate e learning platform can get it done. With no limit on the number of employees accessing the platform at one time, you can effectively train a large number of employees at one time.
6. Learner Reports and Analytics
Any e learning platform worth its salt provides reporting and analytics on the learning outcomes of your employees, so you can quickly identify different levels of success with the training. Reporting also helps let you know if the training materials and courses are landing well with your employees, as it can give you information like completion rates for specific courses and time spent on each course.
7. eCommerce Possibilities
Let’s say you’ve created a great course that consistently gets positive feedback from employees. Why not sell it to others? Many e learning software platforms, Tovuti included, offer eCommerce capabilities where you can sell your courses right on the platform. This provides a way to offer your exceptional course to others who may benefit from it and an easy way to add an additional revenue stream for your business.
8. Support Employee Career Development
Sure, employees learn every single day while they are on the job, but supporting their professional development through outside learning opportunities is also important. Many e learning platforms, such as Tovuti, offer access to a vast library of third-party courses, meaning that you can provide professional development opportunities for your employees and internal training on one platform.
9. Increase Knowledge Retention Rates
Did you know that online training helps your employees learn more and retain more knowledge when compared to in-person training? In fact, it can! Research shows that e learning increases knowledge retention by as much as 25-60% when compared to traditional in-person training, which typically has 8-10% knowledge retention rates among learners.
10. Meet Regulatory Compliance Requirements
Some industries have to follow strict legislation and regulations when it comes to employee training, and this often means that employees must keep up-to-date with regular training courses on particular topics and show proof of that training before they can perform work. With an e learning platform, you can create or purchase applicable training courses and ensure your employees stay current with their training.
Pros and Cons of e Learning Platforms
Like anything else, online e learning platforms are not all sunshine and rainbows. There are pros and cons to e learning that need to be understood and considered in order for you to find success with your own online learning solution.
Here’s a quick summary of the main pros and cons of online learning software platforms:
While this is not an exhaustive list of all the possible pros and cons of e learning platforms (it’s important to remember that positives and negatives can be subjective as well) it provides a good overview of the situation.
On the positive side, an older but comprehensive study conducted by IBM, a well-known tech company worldwide, concluded that e learning has a ton of benefits, including learners being able to consume 5x more material when compared to offline training, and the ability to provide consistent, efficient, and convenient training that serves a global workforce.
IBM also found that for every dollar they invested in online training, they were able to earn a $30 productivity boost. The main reasons listed for this boost were that managers could spend less time overseeing employee training with an online solution, employees could get back to normal duties quicker, and the skills that employees learned in online training could be applied to their jobs immediately.
On the negative side, e learning platforms can be expensive to implement, with research showing that it takes around 70 hours of development time to create just one hour of training, with estimated costs being between $4,500 to $10,000. However, it’s important to realize that once that initial cost is invested, it likely won’t cost that much on an ongoing basis to maintain the content.
Another consideration is that companies need robust technology to support e learning. For most companies, this shouldn’t be an issue. After all, it’s safe to say that most employees these days are provided with a computer, and offices have an internet connection. Technical issues could still impact learning, but it’s likely that the overall risk is rather low.
5 Considerations When Choosing e-Learning Platforms for Business
With so many e-learning platforms out there, especially ones that cater to business needs, it can quickly get confusing trying to narrow down a list of options that will work for your business.
Rather than go through a list of features that most e-learning platforms have, let’s dig deeper into considerations surrounding use-cases surrounding e-learning platforms for business:
- Course development
- Collaboration features
- Built-in video conferencing or support for external services
- Third-party course support
- Ease of Use
You may have training documents and resources at the ready, but it takes time and effort to create effective eLearning courses. Suppose you don’t have a development team at the ready to take all that training information and turn it into an engaging course. In that case, you want to strongly consider choosing an e learning platform that provides course development as a service.
Tovuti offers professional course development services in a variety of types, from design to course creation, as a service to clients.
When it comes to social learning, the 70-20-10 concept is often referenced. It means that 70 percent of what we learn occurs during a regular workday, performing regular work tasks. We also learn by watching others, interacting with colleagues, and receiving feedback from mentors and managers. This accounts for around 20% of our overall professional development. The remaining 10% is time that is set aside for formal training.
Depending on your work environment, there may or may not be natural social learning happening. If everyone is in the office and able to interact with each other, then that’s great, but more and more companies have moved or are moving to a fully remote environment, especially as a result of COVID-19.
If your company is remote, then you may want to consider filling that social learning gap with an e learning training platform that supports collaborative learning. For example, Tovuti offers a virtual classroom option with breakout rooms, so learners can divide into groups during live instruction and brainstorm or discuss the topic being taught.
Built-in Video Conferencing or Support for External Services
Chances are your business uses video conferencing software like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet to conduct meetings. Many e-learning platforms provide some sort of video conferencing, whether it’s built-in or has support for external video conferencing systems like the ones mentioned above. If you’re not entrenched in any one system, then built-in video conferencing software might work for you, but if you and your employees are happy with an external solution, then the e learning online platform that you choose should support that software.
Third-Party Course Support
If you don’t have a lot of training material or want to provide your employees with more than just internal training, then third-party course support is a must for the e learning platform you choose. Supporting your employees’ professional development is a key factor in employee retention, so it’s in your best interest to provide them with the tools and resources they need to enhance their careers.
Ease of Use
It’s quite simple, actually: if a system is difficult to use, then people won’t want to use it. The same goes for elearning platforms. The platform you choose might have all the features in the world, but if it’s difficult to use, then good luck trying to convince your employees to get on board. Many e-learning platforms out there showcase a modern interface that looks easy to use, but the best way to know for sure is to ask for a demo or free trial, so you and your employees can try it out.
Choosing an e learning platform for your business might seem like a daunting task, but it’s worth the effort. Providing your employees with quality training, collaboration opportunities, and a system where they can develop their professional skills is sure to have a positive impact on many different aspects of your business.
As online elearning platforms continue to evolve and become more user-friendly and feature-filled, the more exciting the opportunities for online training in general become.
If you’re looking for the next big thing in interactive elearning platforms, then you’ll have to check out Tovuti. We offer an easy-to-use, feature-rich e learning platform that can be tailored to your business’s specific needs. Watch our demo today, and we’ll walk you through all our software has to offer.