In today’s uber-competitive corporate world, most job postings list the ability to constantly learn and adapt to different and unknown conditions, tasks and positions as preconditions for obtaining – and keeping – a job. It has thus become extremely important for the employees of a firm to constantly upskill and upgrade their skillsets, abilities and proficiencies at the work they perform in order to maintain and upgrade their positions, and also improve the efficiency of the company itself. A 2016 Pew Research Center survey, “The State of American Jobs”, found that 87% of workers believe it will be essential for them to get training and develop new job skills throughout their work life in order to keep up with changes in the workplace. This survey noted that employment is much higher among jobs that require an average or above-average level of preparation (including education, experience and job training); average or above-average interpersonal, management and communication skills; and higher levels of analytical skills, such as critical thinking and computer skills.
This either used to entail undertaking expensive and time-taking physical/face-to-face courses many times situated in far-away places, by people who frequently were not vetted for quality. However, today, e-learning promises to make skill-building for corporate employees much cheaper and more effective.
E-learning is, quite literally, learning, but conducted via electronic media, typically on the Internet, be it through online live lectures, videos, textual content, interactive software, etc., or a combination of some or all of the above. This kind of learning can be employed in the workplace in order to improve various skills relating to technology which may be necessary for the workplace, like operating and getting the best out of software, from Microsoft Office (for just about every professional out there) to much more specialized software like AutoCAD and Adobe Premiere Pro, programming languages, etc.
E-learning is extremely important in the workplace for multiple reasons. It is frequently much more user-friendly and efficient than face-to-face learning, and is more comfortable for the average working professional who is usually unable to make time to go to brick-and-mortar training centre. In an extension to the above advantage, e-learning is also much more flexible, allowing the professional to work and learn at their own leisure and to adjust their learning schedule around their typically packed work schedule. E-learning is also interactive and adopts innovative ways to teach information, teaching concepts theoretically, interactively and practically. Practical and interactive teaching through video, audio, etc. is very important for a working professional, as it is instantly relatable to their workplace and allows the person to make correlations between the concepts and their own personal experiences with their organization. Interactivity also helps maintain the person’s attention and keeps them interested, a trait which is especially important because most professionals have to deal with such education in tandem with an already taxing work-life, and many are thus reluctant to really apply themselves to learning the course material, which makes interactivity essential to hold their attention. All these advantages make e-learning very accessible, thus encouraging more employees to take e-learning opportunities up. This leads to skill upgradation and, by extension, productivity increases, improving job prospects and pay-hike possibilities.
E-learning also has some important benefits for employers. Firms directly benefit from the easy skill-upgradation that the employees are now much more willing to undergo due to the aforementioned reasons, and this upgradation helps the firm increase productivity and produce better results. E-learning also helps employees learn skills that are not exactly core to their functioning in the organization (thus justifying the fact that this skill was probably not taught as part of their education) but help in vastly improving productivity in the core activities performed. It would not make sense to put in vast resources into learning non-core skills, so the more affordable and low-intensity nature of e-learning perfectly suits such intentions. Organizations can also help sponsor e-learning opportunities for employees. This allows organizations to opt for programs which are more tailor-made to the firm’s requirements and also typically increases employee loyalty, for the duration of the programme (for obvious reasons) and even beyond (out of a sense of obligation and thankfulness).
With all this in mind, it becomes quite clear that e-learning is the way forward for organizations and professionals looking to improve productivity and results, and is a perfect fit for many of their needs, thus becoming an indispensable tool in today’s fast-moving and demanding economy.
- “The State of American Jobs”, Pew Research Centre, https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2016/10/06/the-state-of-american-jobs/
- “What is eLearning?”, eLearningNC, http://www.elearningnc.gov/about_elearning/what_is_elearning/
- Helen Eagleton, “How to Overcome the Workplace Skills Gap with eLearning”, Shift Disruptive ELearning, https://www.shiftelearning.com/blog/workplace-skills-gap-with-elearning
- Carol Evenson, “How E-Learning Can Improve Productivity in the Workplace”, Shift ELearning, https://www.shiftelearning.com/blog/e-learning-productivity