Off-the-shelf eLearning is an excellent investment when there is a good match between the titles on offer, the size of the audience, the relevance of the content and its scope to be used both as a standalone resource and within blended learning programmes. It’s a particularly good solution for cash-strapped charitable organisations that are looking to save money, and spend their donated funds wisely.
Once the cost of its purchase and deployment has been absorbed, there are almost no further marginal expenses or overheads, unlike other approaches. There are also clear environmental benefits and savings too, which are increasingly important to organisations and their supporters. But, like any organisational resource, eLearning needs to be used appropriately to maximise its true potential.
The overall effectiveness of eLearning increases when it’s not just used to deliver training, but is also offered as a knowledge resource, or positioned as ‘just-in-time’ performance support, bringing learning into the workflow.
eLearning can also be ‘packaged up’ to meet organisational needs in significantly less time than other methods, and this can lead to a welcome increase in the speed to competency.
Case study: Sarah Jeeves, Learning & Development Officer, Thames Reach
Compared to how we did things in the past, delivering our core training programmes via eLearning has been very cost-effective. Health and safety, diversity and inclusion and fire warden training can be delivered much more smartly online. eLearning works well as part of a blended approach. We still run first aid training, for example, in the classroom.
Our successful targeting of eLearning really helped us with the Covid-19 outbreak. We can now see how we could achieve similar efficiency gains with eLearning programmes in culture and diversity awareness, the Care Act and our supervisory management and appraisals training.
Offering eLearning means that our learners don’t need to travel across London to come to our training centre in Camberwell. They don’t lose the time they would have spent getting to us, and can use it to attend to the important tasks they’d otherwise have to postpone. Had the training been face-to-face, we’d have seen cancellations if their priorities had suddenly changed!
Staff and volunteers can also manage their learning more flexibly. They can easily go back to eLearning if they need to refresh something. With our face-to-face training, they have to reach out to contact the trainer if they have questions, and this isn’t always as quick as everyone would like.
Sarah’s eLearning top tip: Build a relationship with your eLearning provider
To fully realise the benefits of eLearning, always have a good, open conversation with your provider regarding what is essential for you, and how you can both work together to make eLearning a success. Working with the Charity Learning Consortium in this way has been central to our success.