eLearning includes any learning that’s supported through the use of technology. Online courses, webinars, even job aids and electronic manuals are types of elearning. It can be self-directed and independent, like interactive courses, or elearning can be synchronous, like virtual classrooms. It’s a fast-growing segment of the corporate training market, with over 80% of corporations now using elearning in some way. The global elearning industry totalled over $55 billion in 2013 and is expected to double over the next 3 years.
Companies use elearning because it has the potential to lower training costs, improve consistency and increase accessibility. With elearning, people can access the information they need at any time from any location. Knowledge and skills transfer can meet or exceed results from classroom training, but elearning reduces costs associated with time away from work, travel and reusing training materials over long periods. Large companies use it to improve workforce capabilities and introduce change quickly and easily; small businesses use it to share expertise with a wider audience.
When eLearning Makes Sense
eLearning isn’t right for every situation. Sometimes face-to-face interaction can’t be substituted, or maybe training is only required for a handful of people a single time. eLearning makes the most sense when there’s a large group of learners who are comfortable using technology; perhaps they’re spread out geographically or require training at different times. It’s also more appropriate for content that rarely changes and can perhaps be reused, like in onboarding programs, compliance training or refresher sessions.
What does elearning cost?
There are no hard rules when it comes to elearning. A simple electronic resource might cost under $1,000, while a large and complex program for thousands of people could run into the millions. Start with a budget in mind and work with an elearning professional to find a solution that fits your needs and price range. Pricing for smaller elearning programs is generally affected by things like content availability, program duration, level of interactivity, size of audience and other requirements.
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