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Published on:
August 12, 2022

Online Learning and Why You Need It For Employee Training

Online Learning and Why You Need It For Employee Training

Are you struggling to find the time, money, or resources to train your employees?

Maybe they’re not centrally located. Perhaps some frequently travel or don’t have time to take a day away from productivity for training. Or maybe you don’t have the time to find a qualified trainer or train them yourself.

Whatever the issues, online learning is a great solution.

What is online learning?

Keep reading to find out!

What Is Online Learning?

As the name suggests, online learning (or eLearning) is education that takes place over the internet rather than a more traditional classroom setting. You may also hear the term “distance learning” - an overarching description for remote learning options, of which there are many. You can use formal courses, web conferences, training modules, videos, quizzes, etc.. Plus, various software platforms can be used to host learning and training.

Some platforms, such as learning management systems (LMS), were made to host courses. LMS, in particular, come with various features, like course authoring and management, and are made specifically for creating and delivering courses to learners. Others, like YouTube, can be similarly used, although the original purpose of that platform wasn’t necessarily for online learning.

eLearning, or online learning, is an efficient and effective method for employers to train their teams.

Growth of online learning

Although there were earlier developments in online learning, it wasn’t until the 1990s that schools began offering online courses. Similar training options for employees followed in the 2000s and steadily grew in popularity. 

But, it was the COVID-19 pandemic that led to an unexpected explosion in online learning. With everyone in varying stages of lock-down and school/office closures, online options became a critical alternative to in-person training – keeping people safe, respecting social distancing, while minimizing disruptions to education and business. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 67 percent of those with children under 18 reported their children’s schools were using online classes (in September 2020).

GMI Global Market Insights report that shows online learning experienced exponential growth in the pandemic and is predicted to continue that trajectory. The report states the elearning market was valued at more than $315 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2028.

For a deeper dive into the history of eLearning, visit our blog post, eLearning: Modern Online Learning Explained.

Why Online Learning vs. In-Person

So, how do online options stack up with in-person learning?

We’ve outlined features below that demonstrate this comparison.


Online Learning

In-Person Learning

Ability to Work Independently Offers a robust ability for users to work independently (asynchronous learning). However, synchronous learning can be offered if preferred. Due to the necessity of being in a classroom setting with an in-person trainer, independent working (or asynchronous learning) is not possible to the same extent
Classroom Setting Blended or hybrid versions of learning offer classroom settings. Fully online versions of learning can provide virtual classrooms. Available for in-person learning.
Time Commitment Depending on the course, this can be adjusted for the learner’s availability and schedule (part of asynchronous learning). Learner needs to be in the classroom when the trainer is teaching.
Peer Discussion Available through videoconferences, virtual classrooms, discussion boards, etc. Available in the classroom, when the trainer allows.
Trainer Interaction Available through scheduled meetings, video conferences, virtual classrooms, discussion boards, etc. Or communicating outside of the classroom via email, phone, etc. Can happen by pulling the trainer aside in class, or communicating outside of the classroom via email, phone, etc.

Essentially, this table demonstrates that anything done through in-person training, can be successfully accomplished using online training, as well.

Choosing the right type of online learning tool, depends on the needs and preferences of your situation. There are a variety of models, such as hybrid learning, that cater to those who prefer in-person learning, as well as those leaning toward online learning. 

In some cases, regulatory rules dictate that the practical portions of courses must be taken in person. For example, some first aid courses offer the theory portion online, with the rest needing to be completed in person. This provides the best of both worlds: the learner doesn’t need to dedicate as much time in the classroom, doesn’t need to travel as much, and can still receive exceptional training that meets regulations.

What Are the Business Benefits  of Training Employees Online?

When it comes to online learning for employee training, businesses can reap the following benefits: 

  • Cost savings
  • Greateremployee engagement
  • Higher productivity
  • A variety of customizable  of training options
  • Consistency in when/how staff are trained 

Cost Savings

One of the biggest business  benefits of online learning is how it affects the bottom line 

An obvious cost-savings is in the reduction of travel needs, but that’s the tip of the iceberg. 

  • Depending on which online learning tool you choose, you may not need to hire a trainer. 
  • You’ll save on productivity costs because online training typically takes less time to complete. According to the eLearning Industry, it can reduce training time by 40-60% when compared to classroom training.
  • Employees can engage in training for various reasons, but one of the most common is onboarding. Onboarding can cost about $3,000 per new employee. That’s already a lot of money, so why not save it where you can with online learning?

That’s not to say there aren’t costs associated with online learning and training. You will need to invest in the purchase of online learning software, like an LMS. There are also often fees associated with online seminars, workshops, or conferences, should you choose to attend. 

In the long-term, you will very likely save money compared to in-person training. An oft-cited statistic shows IBM saving about $200 million by implementing online learning. 

Greater Employee Engagement

Due to features like gamification in courses and the independent nature of online training, employees often show more engagement in training,resulting in a better-trained staff. Those who are more engaged are more likely to retain the knowledge they’ve learned. TechJury also reports (sourced from SH!FT) that retention rates increase 25-60 percent with eLearning.

That means your employees will absorb more information and apply it to their work, resulting in a better-trained and higher-skilled staff.

Higher Productivity

Due to quicker completion time, higher retention rates, and greater convenience, online learning results in higher productivity for employees and for the business.

Higher productivity should result in higher revenue.

This is a big win for business. Online training allows employees to learn more, in less time, at their own pace, and a lower cost.

So, not only does it help your company save money, but it can help you make money.

A variety of customizable training options

Online learning comes in various training options: online courses, webinars, videoconferences, educational videos, articles, studies, reports, etc.

This means multiple ways in which your employees can formally and/or informally train. And the costs vary, as well, some even being free.

These options allow employers and employees to explore what works best based on the individual resulting in higher retention rates and productivity.

Consistency in when/how staff are trained

With online learning, you can create or buy courses for your employees, especially if you use an LMS. This affords businesses the opportunity to efficiently and effectively design and deliver consistent training to all relevant employees.

Types of Online Learning

There are numerous types of online learning, but we’re highlighting five of the most popular in the table below:

Type of Online Learning



Online Courses A contemporary way to learn online, often throughplatforms like LMS Tovti offers a myriad of online courses.
Microlearning Microlearning is online learning in bite-size chunks. This can includeshort modules, video, or readiing. A YouTube video, a short module that’s part of a larger course.
Blended Learning Blended learning is the combination of online and in-person learning. Online material paired with an in-person meeting
Hybrid Learning Hybrid learning is when both online and in-person learning is offered for a course, so learners can choose to engage in their preferences. A seminar that has the option to join in-person or virtually.
Webinars/ Videoconferences/ Online Workshops These are more synchronous ways of learning that simulate in-person versions of training using online/video resources. An online workshop demonstrating how to use a new product.

The above styles of online learning are important to keep in mind when looking for an LMS. Make sure to understand the features  necessary for the types of online learning you wish  to produce. 

Microlearning, for instance, offers course creation, delivery, and tracking on a shorter, tighter scale.

Blended learning models, like the flex model and the enriched virtual model, may require a virtual classroom or discussion board for learners to engage with one another and the trainer, or even outside the classroom.

Other types of synchronous learning  are also compatible with these types of peer and trainer touchstones.

Use Cases: Online Learning for Employee Training

Online training is a measurably effective learning tool for employees, students, and others wanting to learn remotely. Check out our testimonials, including this one from Lead Customer Service Representative. She says:

“Tovuti has been very helpful in standardizing the company. It has helped us create a better company culture with better expectations.”

TrustRadius offers additional reviews showcasing businesses successfully using online learning to train employees. Including at:

  1. FordDirect
  2. A&W Canada
  3. T-Mobile


According to SAP Litmos, FordDirect used an LMS to train more than 300 of its employees. In their first year using an LMS, employees successfully completed 5,000+ courses.

A&W Canada

Absorb LMS says A&W Canada used a customized LMS solution to standardize training across its 900+ locations in Canada.


Easygenerator citedT-Mobile as using the platform to increase its training output by 5 times, while using only a quarter of its L&D resources.

Other big-brand companies leveraging  LMS include:

SAP Litmos:

  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Pepsico
  • ADP
  • IBM
  • Fitbit
  • YouTube

Absorb LMS:

  • Sony
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Gap
  • Dale Carnegie
  • The University of Chicago


  • Kellogg’s
  • AstraZeneca
  • Danone


What are eLearning courses?

eLearning courses are created using platforms like LMS. They can be created using a variety of text, graphics, videos, quizzes, and tests.

eLearning courses are popular in academic and corporate settings. The courses are completed online and don’t require the learner to be in one physical location. eLearning courses are typically completed independently.

Where can I find an online learning system?

We’d recommend Tovuti, one of the top-ranked LMS companies in the world. Our LMS offers award-winning features

  • Built-in course authoring
  • SCORM compliance
  • Course tracking
  • Interactive video and presentations
  • Milestones
  • Ratings and comments
  • Microlearning
  • Mobile responsive
  • Blended learning
  • Forums
  • User groups
  • Virtual classroom

Tovuti offers a free demo of how the platform works, up to four one-hour coaching sessions for the first 30 days after purchase, and award-winning\customer service.

Amey Humphries
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