Competitive advantage comes from an organization’s ability to grow and exploit the skills of their employees and vendors. Unfortunately, efficiency and speed are rarely accounted for when organizations consider E-Learning return on investment evaluations. Yet, in a very real sense, they have a significant impact on bottom line performance. These factors--more than dollars--may produce the most compelling argument to move to E-Learning.

Case Study 1

Poorly designed instructor-led classroom experiences prove to be frustrating for learners when the material is not useful to them. To illustrate, consider the following example: A corporate director worked for a company that required executives to attend four outside learning events per year. The spring session was a one-day classroom event titled "Advanced Financial Principles." The course description was nebulous, and the individual had a strong background in finance and an MBA. The first four hours of the course covered very basic financial principles that they had mastered long ago, resulting in four wasted hours. The last three hours covered advanced principles that the individual couldn't use in their present job, resulting in three additional wasted hours. Only one hour on the topic of company valuation was useful - only one hour in eight could they use to improve job performance.

Contrast this classroom event with a properly designed online course. With minimal navigation skills, the director skips the non-useful first four and last three hours and focuses exclusively on the one hour of useful learning. Discounting the minimal time required to navigate around the non-useful parts, the useful skills and knowledge transferred in one hour of classroom delivery can be effectively transferred in half an hour online.

Case Study 2

Consider Julie, a factory operator working in a plant that produces high quality potato chips. Nearly six months ago, Julie attended a training course where she learned how to identify out-of-spec potato chips, the root causes that attribute to the out-of-spec condition, and how to correct out-of-spec chips. However, she's currently producing out-of-spec chips and can’t remember the appropriate protocol to identify and correct the problem. Julie needs the course knowledge now, not six months ago or six months in the future. If the course is online and accessible, there's a good chance she can identify the appropriate module and get help quickly.

This increase in speed actually increases the value of the course content simply because of its improved availability to the learner. Speed, in this case, has a clear value. Taken to a logical conclusion, a properly designed Web course should have more value than its classroom counterpart--all things being equal.

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