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5 reasons why e-learning is the training solution for your workplace

Ansie Snyders

E-learning has gained massive traction in workplaces around the world, although South African companies have been slower to embrace its potential. The benefits of e-learning are clear as it offers organisations more effective, cost-efficient ways of delivering training and educational content to employees scattered around the country.

Here are five reasons why companies should add e-learning to their training approach:

1. The workplace is digital

Today's businesses depend on digital systems to keep their workflow going—from cloud-based accounting and payroll systems to customer-facing e-commerce sites and intranets for their employees. Employees interact with technology every day to perform their jobs, and when they get home, they use technology to entertain themselves, find information and communicate with their friends. It makes sense to use this existing infrastructure, technology and end-user behaviour to provide training and education to the workforce.

2. It's cost-effective

Without downplaying the costs and commitment a successful e-learning strategy will demand from the organisation, digital delivery reduces training costs while maintaining the quality of the learning experience. Companies will need to invest in developing or buying materials and ensure they have a robust network in place, but they can achieve significant savings on hiring classroom venues, trainers, and travel costs.

3. It's flexible

E-learning is flexible, both from the perspective of the organisation and the employee, because it doesn't tie training down to rigid times and places. Because it's self-directed, employees can learn at their own pace and in their own time, rather than being pressured to sit in a training room when they're worried about a deadline.

Usually, companies can also provide their employees with a range of materials to support different learning styles. For example, some people absorb information best by listening and others by reading. However, it is important to note that e-learning still demands commitment from the learner in terms of time and actual completion of the course.

4. It's fun and practical

Even if the training is done online, it can still be practical, interactive and use real-life examples. Today's courseware is rich, interactive and fun to use.

5. No geographical barriers

Today, most corners of South Africa have broadband Internet connectivity, so e-learning is a great option for companies with people to train in several towns and cities. They can easily deploy training to people in offices around the country without needing to send trainers on the road for weeks at great expense, and they can better coordinate training across multiple offices from a central point.

Of course, e-learning won't replace classroom training in the foreseeable future because many employees value the opportunity to learn from trainers and their peers in a formal classroom setting. But in our experience, e-learning is superb for some types of training—for example, in new systems and business processes—and it also complements classroom training by promoting self-study and enhancing retention.

E-learning can make the subject matter come alive in a way that textbooks and the classroom cannot by themselves. E-learning tools and techniques are getting better all the time, and are an essential component of any company's training and development strategy in a world of digital technology.

Ansie Snyders is the head of training and seminars at Sage VIP Payroll & HR and brings a deep passion for, and extensive experience in, developing human potential through training.

She joined the company's training division in 2001, where she helped to deliver a range of training solutions and oversaw its accreditation as a training provider. During this time, she also qualified as an assessor with SETA for assessing payroll qualifications against unit standards.

Before joining the company, Ansie spent five years as a payroll consultant. She holds a B.Comm Law degree from North West University.