For many young people today, online learning has been an ever-present part of life, but it wasn’t that long ago that it simply didn’t exist. That’s because for online learning to exist, people needed to be online – and that only began happening en masse in the 1990s, as PCs began entering our homes.
Online learning began taking off almost as soon as the internet did, not least because learning and training providers could see huge opportunities. Their reach could now extend the world over, instead of just locally or regionally, and the cost of delivering training to the end-user could be slashed.
Of course, there’s another reason that online learning took off so dramatically. It wasn’t just the businesses supplying learning and training services that could see the benefits of the internet as means of delivery, but the companies buying their services too.
It can be difficult enough finding a time to arrange a meeting for a few colleagues, let alone coordinating training days for groups numbering into double figures and above. Online training can eliminate this challenge by allowing individuals to access content from wherever they are, whenever is convenient, making the delivery of training to large numbers of employees much easier.
As with the suppliers, buyers realised that the internet could cut the cost of learning and training. Most obviously, this is because learning and training need no longer necessarily be delivered to employees on-site. A single piece of learning can be delivered to many individuals around the world at little more than the cost of delivering to one individual. At the most extreme end of the scale, for big multinationals, this can eliminate the need for large-scale training events that may previously have involved travel, accommodation and catering costs for tens or even hundreds of employees.
Not only can training events be costly and time-consuming to run, they can also be difficult to scale past a certain point. For companies with thousands of employees or many locations around the world, such events can simply become unworkable. In contrast, access to an online training platform can not only be provided to any number of employees, but content can be tailored for different departments, job roles and job levels.
Because online training content can be tailored to suit different employees and because this can typically be done at the individual’s own pace at times of their choosing, the results produced can be much better. Training is essentially much more tailored or personalised and this naturally means it can be more effective than that designed for groups.
Not only can online training be more effective, but its effectiveness can be tracked more effectively! As individuals progress through training content, data about their knowledge and pace can be used to inform their learning process going forward, meaning, once again, that the delivery can be tailored to suit each employee and workforce learning as a whole is optimised.