How to make the most of elearning with your end of the year budget
Posted on Feb 19, 2015
March 31 is a date that looms large for many businesses and organisations as the end of the Fiscal or Financial Year. Most significant spending should already be agreed but there may be a relatively small amount left in the pot. For some, this money will be lost if it is not spent by the deadline.
The evidence paints a mixed picture as to the effectiveness of spending at this time. Research in the US suggests expenditure by organisations in the last week of the Financial Year is 4.9 times higher than normal but the quality scores for projects commissioned in this frenzied period are well below average.
Elearning is a great investment for organisations wanting to make the most of their end of year funds. According to research, businesses which offer training generate around 26% more revenue per worker and increase staff retention rates. It is thought that nearly a quarter of employees end up leaving their jobs because of a lack of training opportunities.
A key question for decision-makers and budget-holders is how to optimise training with any remaining funds? Here are some ideas from the world of elearning on how to achieve just that:
Elearning can be very effective in small chunks and it is not unusual for businesses to use ‘mini modules’ of no more than 10 or even 5 minutes in duration. This bite-size approach is particularly powerful when narrowly focused on a single issue or business need. For example, training staff to spot fire hazards or carry out the correct hand-washing procedure. Going bite-size also helps to keep down costs and reduce the time it takes to deliver the module.
Try something new
This could be an ideal opportunity to invest in innovation. It may be hard to justify spending large sums of the core budget on something new but using a modest amount to experiment could be both palatable and beneficial. Get a feel for what new technologies can deliver in terms of productivity and performance.
A good candidate would be elearning games. Although the game-based learning market is forecast to be worth $2.3 billion by 2017, many organisations are still coming to terms with this trend. A pilot game could be the answer as the business and employees explore games and the opportunity they present.
Create a campaign
Elearning is so often wrongly presented as a one-off event but this does little to encourage knowledge retention. By taking a campaign approach, where appropriate, it is possible to boost and enhance its effectiveness. This might include pre-launch tasks or pre-learning communications to raise awareness as well as post-learning challenges to remind staff what they have learnt and assess their understanding beyond the module.
Using any residual budget to provide a ‘belt and braces’ campaign to support an elearning module will greatly enhance its impact. One large organisation used this strategy to successfully train more than 4,000 employees in just four weeks.
Employees increasingly expect elearning to be available on smartphones and tablets so modules that can only be completed on a desktop or laptop will quickly look and feel out-dated. There may be plenty of life left in the content but the workforce may simply not engage with modules that are inaccessible through their preferred device.
It is possible to device-proof your training content by building modules in Adapt, the only open-source multi-device platform that allows elearning to automatically adjust to fit any device including laptops, tablet computers and mobile phones. For those who need to be convinced, using any remaining budget to trial a multi-device elearning module would be the ideal opportunity.
Of course, the right solution for some organisations will be to count the funds as a budget saving or carry them over to the next Financial Year. Whatever the decision, the most important advice is to use it wisely by focusing on the needs of the business.
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