4 unexpected benefits of elearning

Posted on May 06, 2015

Elearning

You might be hoping your workplace elearning will improve skills and performance, ensure compliance or deliver increased productivity and sales, but sometimes there are unexpected benefits that no-one could foresee.

We’ve pulled together four examples showing how elearning has gone beyond expectations and delivered a welcome bonus:

  • Inclusion

Around 4.2 million people in the UK work from home - the highest number since records began. Home working has many benefits for staff and employers including flexibility, higher productivity, reduced stress and improved health. But a downside can be isolation; feeling removed, under the radar or ‘out of the loop’. There’s also evidence to suggest that isolation and loneliness can have an impact on employees in traditional work settings, so inclusion is a serious issue for businesses regardless of their structure and profile.

You may be surprised to hear that elearning can help support workers who are feeling isolated and lonely. We were too, but one of our clients opened our eyes after sharing the story of Michael (not his real name). He is a store manager leading a small retail team. He loves his job, he’s good at it and the store is doing well, but Michael felt isolated from the organisation he works for. He is a long way from Head Office and rarely meets anyone from the company, other than his team. He found it hard to share ideas about his work, get up to speed on developments and generally feel included. Remarkably, elearning helped to change that for him because the modules made him feel informed, part of a wider team and more connected to the ethos of the company.

  • Showcase

Induction elearning is a great way to introduce new starters to the business. Done well, it can have a lasting impression, creating a sense of pride in the organisation, embedding core values and  providing a consistent and clear message from day one.

One of our clients, United Biscuits (UB), found their elearning induction module had an unexpected benefit when new owners took over the company.  Head of Learning and Development at UB, Lisa McCandless, explained in an interview for HR Grapevine: “We now have an entertaining, well-defined and inspiring elearning module which can be updated as our business changes and grows. It has proved such a good summary of the company and its aspirations that we recently used it as an introduction for the new owners of the business! It really sums up what United Biscuits is all about.”

  • Democratisation

The democratisation of workplace training is already a reality for some businesses. What it means in practice is that employers are empowered to share, curate and create their own training programmes. The benefits include greater flexibility, relevance and agility according to Ben Muzzell, writing in Learning Solutions Magazine.

Several of our clients have reported that elearning is supporting this move to democratisation of learning. This tends to happen when businesses make their elearning portfolio available to all staff across the board, so elearning for managers is also accessible to lower paid workers. The unexpected benefits are greater overall awareness of business goals and challenges, transparency and trust within the workforce and improved development of ‘in-house’ talent through the ranks.

  • Customers

Some analysts have observed that the balance of power in retailing is shifting from what companies want to sell to what consumers want to buy. Customers are feeling increasingly empowered and research suggests they want (and expect) to do more research about products before purchasing.

In a previous blog, we explored how sharing staff elearning on product information can help meet this growing appetite among consumers. Similarly, organisations can help boost customer confidence and loyalty by sharing their staff induction elearning. It’s a highly transparent approach which could particularly help in sectors where trust has been an issue.

Finally, elearning is under greater scrutiny than ever before when it comes to the value it can add to a business. Demonstrating impact is usually focused on measuring key objectives, but sometimes there are surprising outcomes and we can ‘miss a trick’ by failing to notice or acknowledge these unexpected benefits.

If you'd like to find out more about the examples in this blog, or if your elearning has had some unexpected results, we'd love to talk to you.   

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