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Reducing the Cost of Training Employees with Online Training

Getting learning and development right is crucial to achieving your corporate goals. It’s an important way of keeping your employees happy, engaged, and increases the productivity of your company.

The workplace has changed. With flexible hours, the rise of remote working, off-site employees, and regional offices, the traditional trip to your organization’s headquarters isn’t the most efficient way to conduct training.

At the same time, the technological developments of the last decade or so – high-speed broadband, 5G, smart devices and apps – have made it easier than ever to connect to online training.

So, how can organizations reduce training costs, and improve how training is delivered? Let’s examine the cost-savings and other benefits of conducting online training as part of your learning and development program.

How to reduce training costs with online learning

Eliminating the expense of physical training venues

Traditional training often involves booking a venue offsite, printing a variety of materials, putting on tea and coffee for the 11 am break, and lunch at 1 pm. There’s travel costs and accommodation for employees and trainers involved too. These mount up quickly, especially if you’re delivering training regularly.

Online training allows your employees to access the training they need when they need it. There’s no need to travel, no need for costly materials, your employees can learn from their own desks, on a bus commuting to work, or during their lunch break. Calculate the amount of your learning and development budget was spent on these costs last year to see how much you could save by moving your training online.

Making the most of your trainer’s time

Your trainers are a valuable asset to your organization. As such, it doesn’t make sense to have them spending hours of their day on buses, trains or even planes to reach your trainees in other offices. It’s an inefficient use of their time.

Instead, allow them to spend that time building online courses, giving live webinars, doing one-to-one coaching calls and feedback sessions, or creating content for your LMS’s course library.

Online training allows your trainers to focus on the activities that are most valuable to your business, and eliminate the unnecessary ones. If you have trainers that travel a lot right now, freeing up their time might reduce the need to increase headcount in the future, which is a major cost for organizations.

In organizations that only use traditional training methods, if your best trainer delivers an exceptional seminar, that’s only valuable to those who were present for it. On the other hand, if that trainer’s high-quality training session is recorded, that same content can be used to inspire and educate employees throughout your organization.

Online training also makes it much easier to update and enhance training. For example, if you get feedback mid-way through that your Customer Service isn’t meeting your clients’ expectations in a specific area, you can address it immediately by adding a new module on that topic and notifying the team with the push of a button that they need to take a course. It’s significantly quicker, easier and cheaper than scheduling face-to-face training.

Calculating Training ROI using the Kirkpatrick Model

It’s clear that there’s a significant return on investment for workplace training, but how can you quantify it? One simple way of demonstrating the success of your program is the Kirkpatrick Model, which aims to measure four elements: Reaction, Learning, Behavior, and Results.

  • The first level is Reaction. You can measure this both quantitatively and qualitatively through your LMS. You can easily monitor completion and engagement rates to gauge reactions. Ask your trainees to complete surveys sharing their feedback on how they found the course, content, and trainer, as well as any suggestions for improvement they have.
  • Next is Learning. Quite simply, have your learners understood and retained the information presented in the online course? This can be assessed through exams, project work or presentations, and assignments. Trainers have a crucial role here in identifying what’s working and what needs to be improved, as well as any gaps in the content that need to be rectified.
  • Once you’ve established that your learners are reacting well to their online courses and learning the material, the next thing you need to assess is Behavior. This is a long-term goal and investment, and it can be a little harder to quantify. You can ask line managers if they have seen changes within their teams, and ask individuals themselves to provide insights on how training has supported them in fulfilling their roles.
  • Finally, the model proposes measuring Results, in other words the impact. In order to do this, the learning and development team needs to work with senior leadership to set organizational goals that training can be tied to. After 12 or 24 months, results can be measured in relation to how well those goals have been met. This might include increases in productivity or revenue, lower staff turnover, faster onboarding, or improvements in your Net Promoter Score.

As you implement online training and start assessing the return on investment, make sure you’ve got figures for your ROI from traditional training available for comparison. Generally speaking, the training you’re delivering online will cost your company less. It may take some time to see those savings, as you’ll have an initial investment in an LMS and training content, but 12 months post launch and beyond, the savings will be exponential.

Aside from a reduction in costs, there are numerous other benefits to investing in online training: it gives your employees 24/7 access to a catalog of useful materials, it’s an easy way to monitor any training you need to do for regulatory or compliance reasons, it can be accessed from anywhere, on any device, at any time.

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