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Why E-Learning? Why not?

When you are looking at your organisation's training needs you will no doubt undertake a comprehensive research exercise to find out what there is on offer and how well it fits with what you need and what you can afford.

When deciding what training provision works best for your organisation, you will also need to consider a number of factors besides the training needs of your staff, including the location(s) of your services, your client groups, your physical and human resources, the current training culture, your IT infrastructure, level of IT competence within your staff team and the in-house training expertise of your staff.

Costs associated to Tutor-led training

Tutor led or face-to-face training will always remain a very powerful tool for delivering learning to groups of people, and in some cases this method will be logistically and financially the most viable.

However, when analysing the cost of either tutor led training or elearning it is important to look beyond the isolated cost of training delivery and take into account the ‘whole cost’.

Tutor led training requires a number of financial, physical and human resources to ensure a successful learning experience, these include:

· A training needs analysis
· Training course development
· A training co-ordinator
· A trainer
· A training environment
· IT based resources (laptop computer, data projector, OHP, interactive board)
· Delegates
· Replacement staff
· Stationary
· Expenses
· Staff appraisals

It is also important to assess the value of the training and measure your return on investment through learning tests, transference of learning tools and staff appraisals.

Costs associated to E-learning

Some of the expenses associated with tutor led training will apply to E-learning although many of the costs will be incurred once and some of the costs will be greatly reduced. However, to ensure a successful return on your investment it is just as important to plan the event as it is with tutor-led training.

E-learning also requires a number of financial, physical and human resources to ensure a successful learning experience, these include:

· Training needs analysis
· E-learning product
· A training administrator
· A computer
· Delegates
· Staff appraisals

Most good E-learning courses will have built in tests to assess how much the delegate has learnt.

Advantages of E-Learning

Some of the main advantages associated to using E-learning include:

Economics

E-learning is the most cost effective way of providing individuals with essential knowledge as there is:

· Minimal loss of working time
· No need for replacement staff
· No trainer required
· No expenses

Easily managed

E-learning products generally come with a Learning Management System (LMS) that will allow you to:

· Schedule courses
· Allocate courses to delegates
· Generate automatic delegate accounts
· Monitor progress
· Measure scoring
· Provide reporting functions for audits
· Certificate delegates

Self-directed learning

· Self paced learning and the option to revisit information has been proven to increase levels of retention
· E-learning is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
· Training can be accessed when and where it is needed

Reduced learning times

· Individual interaction associated with self-directed learning has shown to reduce learning times by 40 – 60 percent

Increased retention

· Research indicates that learning retention levels increased by between 50 and 60 percent when learners have control over the speed they learn at and options to revisit information

Contemporary and consistent content

· E-learning material can be refreshed, updated and made immediately available to large numbers of delegates, thus ensuring distribution of consistent and contemporary information

Measurable

· With built in assessments and tests you can measure whether the delegates have achieved the desired level of skill and competency