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Training and developing leaders at all levels is one of the most crucial challenges faced by organizations in today’s fast-paced and demanding competitive environment. However, many companies find it difficult to devote the time and/or money needed to accomplish these objective especially when employees are distributed across the country or around the world. E-learning provides a cost-effective and scalable solution to these challenges.

Since its emergence in the late 1990s, online learning has rapidly become a staple of the corporate environment in America. More than 77% of companies in the United States offer online corporate training for employees to learn new skills or to enhance current skills as a benefit to or a requirement of their employees. Over the years, technology has catapulted e-learning to the center stage, providing an easy and convenient way for employees to fit professional development training into a busy day.

While leaders may be familiar with these technology-driven learning opportunities, they may not fully understand how they will benefit their organization. For HR professionals tasked with searching out training programs, e-learning is a convenient and cost-effective solution. Let’s explore some of the reasons why adopting an e-learning approach to learning and development is better for employees and employers alike.

Decreases Training Costs

Managers across all industries are seeking the most cost-effective ways to deliver training to their employees. According to the Association for Talent Development’s 2016 State of the Industry report, organizations spent an average of $1,252 per employee on learning and development in 2015. According to a study in the International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, IBM reportedly saved $200 million on training in 1999 after the company switched to an online training delivery system. Its employees also were able to complete nearly five times the amount of course material in the amount of time it normally would take to complete one traditional learning course.

An investment in e-learning can help employers in both small and large businesses stay within their budget and reduce program, travel, lodging and meal costs that are associated with professional development and training.

Offers Versatility

E-learning is no longer limited to one form of delivery with the types of technologies available for e-learning doubling over the past several years. Synchronous learning and asynchronous learning solutions are available to meet time constraints, employee needs and learning styles. Some of these methods include the use of video/audio recordings, blended learning, computer-based (CBT) and web-based trainings (WBT), massively open online courses (MOOCs), and self-study. Research shows that 50% of organizations take a more creative approach to e-learning, incorporating complex simulations and games into their learning and development strategies.

Because access to e-learning is not geographically limiting, employees on virtual teams also can engage in consistent and convenient leadership or team development training from a distance. Mobile learning is on the rise with 74% of individuals using mobile technology to access e-learning training. Because of the flexibility of mobile, employees are able to access these training opportunities on-the-go when they want and need them.

Saves Time

Virtual training allows employees to learn and complete coursework in 40-60% less time than the traditional instructor-led classroom. Instead of scheduling hours, days or weeks to devote strictly to attending classes and studying training materials, they instead can study at their own pace and spend more time on a challenging topic or speed ahead through known knowledge areas.

Increases Engagement

Companies that make training and leadership development a priority have a significant advantage in attracting and retaining strong talent. In fact, research by the Corporate Leadership Council shows that employers who prioritize these areas outperform their competitors by up to 19%, experience less frequent turnover and increased employee engagement.

Increases Revenue

42% of companies that use e-learning methods have experienced a revenue increase. Better trained employees who are more engaged and feel that their company is invested in their professional and leadership development are more productive, thereby making your company more productive.