In order to successfully evaluate the effectiveness of distance learning, you need to consider several factors. Let’s look at the main ones:
- Employee reviews. To understand how well the training is perceived, help first of all the opinions of employees. Ask them if the online course helped you deal with specific tasks. Did they like the topics, materials and ways of presenting them?
- Online testing and knowledge testing. In addition to collecting opinions, we recommend conducting regular tests to evaluate the knowledge and skills of employees. Please note that it is better to include real situations and questions that may arise in the workflow in test tasks.
- Comparison. In addition to communicating with employees who have completed electronic courses and testing their knowledge, it is also useful to evaluate employees who did not participate in the training. Periodically, it is necessary to compare the successes and achievements of these groups of employees.
- Interaction with the HR department. All previous metrics mainly measure the short-term effectiveness of e-learning. The HR department, which regularly interacts with employees and has data on their achievements in dynamics, will help to understand the long-term effectiveness of online courses.
- Remember: the only way to understand whether the training really affected the behavior and skills of employees is to combine all of the above methods.
In addition to the effectiveness of e-learning, you need to evaluate the financial side of the introduction of distance learning: costs and economic benefits.
What are the costs of implementing e-learning?
- People. To create e-courses, human resources are still required. It can be both internal and external developers.
- To minimize the cost of developing electronic courses, we advise you to choose a simple and convenient tool that will allow your employees to easily and quickly develop training materials.
- Technologies. E-learning is completely technology dependent, which also requires a certain cost. When choosing software solutions, it is worth paying attention to the correspondence of the functionality to the tasks that need to be solved, to the cost of maintenance and the ability to test the system for free before implementation.
- Content. Materials that are usually shown in classrooms are not always suitable for e-learning. Creating interactive content for e-Learning will require certain costs: for example, it may require the involvement of designers. But sometimes a traditional presentation may be enough if you skillfully transform it using special software products.
E-learning is worth a look in the long run – e-Learning can pay for itself many times, and here’s why:
- Reduced travel expenses. This is one of the main reasons large companies are starting to use e-Learning. Employees can be trained directly at the workplace – they do not need to go anywhere. This is especially true for companies with a developed branch network.
- Reduced teacher time. It doesn’t matter if this is an external consultant or employee of the company – now it’s enough for a teacher to record a video lecture or an electronic course once, there is no need to conduct the same lesson several times.
- No loss of working time. Employees can study at any time and literally anywhere. If e-courses can be viewed on mobile devices, workers can learn on the way to work or home.
- Personalization. Thanks to the opportunity to be trained at an individual pace, employees will learn more effectively.
So, the introduction of e-learning can not only become a more effective solution, but also significantly accelerate the process of obtaining new knowledge – anywhere, anytime!
E-learning versus full-time study – study results
In the blog of one of Brandon-Hall experts Tom Werner, I found a link to an interesting study comparing the effectiveness of full-time and e-learning (published in Personnel Psychology, 2006) – The Comparative Effectiveness of Web-Based and Classroom Instruction: A Meta-Analysis.
For those who are lazy to read some interesting figures from this article in English (based on an analysis of 96 cases of using DL in universities and companies):
- E-learning with tutor support was more effective than fully independent e-learning
- E-learning was 6% more effective than full-time learning, the purpose of which was to absorb a certain set of knowledge and facts.
- E-learning and full-time learning are equally effective in learning procedures and business processes
- The satisfaction of the trainees when using both methods is the same
- Full-time education was 10% more effective when students were randomly assigned full-time or distance learning (there is an assumption that if people were given the opportunity to choose the form of training themselves, the result could be the opposite)
- E-learning was 19% more effective than full-time, when in the e-course there were practical exercises, control questions, feedback, as well as long courses
- Full-time study was 20% more effective than distance learning if there were no practical exercises, control questions and feedback in the electronic course, as well as short courses