Online Training Is an Affordable and Effective Way for Employers to Invest in Their Workforce
Staci K. Hegarty M.Ed, IpX Academia Director
Plenty of articles argue both sides of online education.
“It’s convenient!,” says one.
“It’s not very engaging!,” says another.
“You can learn in your pajamas!,” but “you’re just teaching yourself, it’s not like there is a real instructor."
For every argument in favor of online education, there is always a counterargument. The reality is, online education is here to stay and is one of the few sectors of education that is growing - about 5% each year. Inside Higher Education reports that more than 3 million college students take at least some of their courses online, of which more than 2 million of those students are taking all of their courses online (2018). That means that a third of US college students are in a virtual classroom. Once the providence of adjunct instructors at proprietary colleges, online courses are now being taught by full professors at Big Name Universities. Pedagogy around teaching effectively in the online environment has become a hot topic in academia. It is not a trend or a fad, it is the way students are learning now. For those of us who are mid-career (or later in their career), this can sound as if today’s students are being short-changed by missing out on “real” classroom learning.
Online learning reflects the way business and society as a whole are evolving. Quick, on-demand access that meets the needs of the consumer are the expectations now. Online classes have allowed students greater access to specific degrees at specific colleges without having to relocate. Students with physical or mental impairments can attend college without having to navigate the stressors and obstacles of a physical campus. Colleges can expand their majors and course offerings without having to find more classroom space. Working adults and parents can actually obtain a degree without having to work miracles to find a way to be a student. In theory, we have found a way to make higher education more accessible and equitable.
For employers, this means that many of their current employees are already comfortable learning online, and in the future even more employees will be even more comfortable with it. Not just comfortable with, but expecting to continue to learn in this way. Yet we hesitate about providing online courses for them. When the P&L looks good, we talk about the importance of training and send them off to an on-ground course or bring in an expensive trainer for a few days. But when times are tight, one of the first things to hit the figurative chopping block is training.
What’s the ROI? A skilled workforce that feels valued.
There are few things more important to the long-term health of any organization.
For many companies, it’s as if no training is somehow preferable to reputable online training. LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report states that 93% of employees who left their last role would have stayed if the company had invested in them through training and career development. An air hockey table in the employee breakroom is meaningless to most employees; they want to grow in their careers and feel valued for what they bring to their jobs.
The Institute for Process Excellence (IpX) has embraced online learning
as a viable and worthwhile option for training. Like most colleges, on-ground, traditional training courses are always available. Our online courses offer employees the opportunity to train with the same instructors who have been teaching our public and on-site courses for years. Using a combination of videos, readings and online discussion boards, students can learn the same skills without having to be out of the office for a week, spend money on travel and lodging, and completely reschedule and rearrange their personal lives. Our online learning options also give employers the choice to send an individual employee through the courses without waiting to see where the next course in the series will be offered and when. For larger groups, the online courses can be customized to only have students from that particular company in the cohort. Each course is completed in four weeks, with students spending an average of 4-5 hours each week working on the course.
Online training is an affordable way for employers who want to invest in their workforce, without disrupting the lives of their employees. What’s the ROI? A skilled workforce that feels valued. There are few things more important to the long-term health of any organization.
Connect with IpX Academia Director Staci Hegarty on LinkedIn.