7 Reasons Why E-learning is Your Best Employee Engagement Resource Yet!

The e-learning industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world.  Since the year 2000 it has grown by over 900%.  In 2015 the global e-learning market was worth over $165 billion; and is expected to rise to beyond $325 billion by the year 2025.

And it comes as no surprise.  With the sky-rocketing costs, the lack of consistency, the inaccurate tracking of analytics of in-person training; coupled with the low translation to improved performance, it’s no wonder that more and more businesses are turning towards digital platforms to deliver training.

But, is it for your business?  Here are seven reasons why we think it might be.

"You can’t teach people everything they need to know. 

The best you can do is position them where they can find what they need to know when they need to know it."

Seymour Papert                    


Revenue generated per employee is 26% higher for companies that offer training using technology, including e-learning

Report: The Business Impact of Next-Generation eLearning, 2011

Reason 1: Better for the Bottom Line

E-learning has a positive impact on your bottom line.  While the design and creation costs of courses are similar whether online or in-person, the delivery of e-learning is considerably cheaper.  The largest area of savings is the cost of the in-person trainer having to repetitively teach what can be automated in the online space.  The indirect savings are the reduction of the need for either the student or the trainer to travel; no venue or catering costs; and a reduction on the need to print handouts and other learning material.

Additionally, companies that include e-learning in their workplace have a significantly higher revenue per employee than their competitors who rely exclusively on face to face learning.  An executive Report by The Ambient Insight about the mobile online learning market found that 42% of companies surveyed said that the introduction of e-learning into the workplace led to an increase in revenue.

"Online learning isn’t the next big thing, it is the NOW big thing."

Donna J Abernathy                    

IBM saved approximately $200 Million after switching to e-learning

David Evans - Former IBM Sales Executive

Reason 2: More Control

E-learning presents several advantages to the learner, resulting in more proactive behaviour from employees towards training.  All an employee needs to learn is a smart device and an internet connection.  24/7 Remote access gives employees the flexibility to fit training into their day as time allows them – whether in allotted time in the workplace or while commuting home on the bus.  They can take in the information in single sittings or in multiple sittings; allowing them to adjust their information intake in line with their preferred learning and information-retention style.  Also, they can repeat sections which they feel uncertain about.  E-learning also allows for databases and resource centres to be built to aid employees who want to do additional research and study.   

Another very important benefit, is that e-learning gives the employee a degree of control over their own development.  Without having to be reliant on limited training spaces or full training calendars, the employee can access information suitable for them at their own pace.

"If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow."

John Dewey                    

Companies that use e-learning technology achieve an 18% boost in employee engagement

Molly Fletcher - CEO, Keynote Speaker and Author

Reason 3: Improved Performance & Productivity

The obvious way that e-learning improves productivity is that the employee can spend less time out of the workplace being trained.  A study by IBM showed that employees learned nearly five times more information in the same time-span as face to face learning.

Most companies that introduce e-learning into the workspace take a hybrid approach to learning incorporating both digital and in-person learning components.  The e-learning aspect of the training plan allows the face to face aspects to become more effective because facilitators can focus their attention on the aspects of training that benefit more from in-person contact, e.g. experiential workshops, practical assessments etc.

Digital learning platforms also allow companies to introduce new standards, protocols, products, services, policies or any other information to a large number of employees quickly, effectively and consistently across multiple business units no matter how large the business’s global footprint is.

The orientation of new employees can start at the time of recruitment ensuring that new starts are better prepared when commencing work.  The tracking of performance can be integrated with the training plan so line managers have the tools at hand to support employees with training adjustments during performance reviews.

"It’s play that makes people unafraid to fail and confident to try new things.

It’s play that helps us do serious things better because we enjoy them and feel a sense of joy in our achievements."

Jake Orlowitz                    

Every dollar invested in online training results in $30 in productivity

IBM Study - The Value of Training

Reason 4: Improved Learning

Diversity of options available in the digital environment allows any course to be created with multiple approaches with a similar investment than traditional training, which is often created with a single or limited learning approach.  This presents two advantages to the student and the business: firstly, that the student will receive the learning in a manner best suited to that student’s learning style; and secondly, that the student will be exposed to repetition of information presented in different ways ensuring that knowledge is reinforced and retained better.

The advances in gamification ensure high levels of engagement by the student offering a training environment that is fun.  Gamification also allows employers to tie training with reward and recognition programs to tap into students’ competitive natures and need for ongoing recognition. 

The ongoing availability and access to learning content allows employees to revisit material that they may want a refresher on.  It also allows people who are struggling with some of the training to spend additional time reviewing course work until they are proficient.

Shy or introverted employees will be able to get support through private messaging so that they don’t need to worry about group attention on them in a classroom environment; and also, will not be able to “hide in the back” and as a result lose valuable learning.  The privacy of the online space gives students the freedom to “fail” without risk of ridicule.

Digital platforms can be designed to allow for buddy or group work.  Employees can be grouped to work together remotely and learn from, and support, each other.  Global organisations can promote cross-cultural engagement by grouping employees from different international business units.  Senior managers based at a central unit can easily mentor employees in remote units.  A promising young leader based in Spain can be mentored by the Company CEO based in the USA.

"Every student is gifted.  They just unwrap their packages at different times"


E-learning increases retention rates  by 25-60% compared to face-to-face learning.

Research Institute of America

Reason 5: Consistency

E-learning ensures that training is consistent.  Every student is accessing the exact same content.  They are not the victims of a facilitator having an “off” day; or a rowdy fellow student disrupting training.  Content can also be rolled out consistently over multiple business units.

Programs and courses can be easily translated to ensure the same content is being shared across cultures and languages to achieve the same objectives.

The ease with which community engagement can be achieved on a global scale means that best-practice is easy to share between different units, divisions and departments.  This means that standards can be controlled centrally while still encouraging individual creative input.

"Don’t let your learning lead to knowledge.  Let your learning lead to action"

Jim Rohn                    

Learning through e-learning typically requires 40-60% less employee time than learning the same material in a traditional classroom setting.

Study by Brandon Hall Group

Reason 6: Real-time Reporting

Digital learning platforms offer real-time reporting for both the employer and employee.  Training Managers and Line Managers can get regular progress reports of individual employees and of teams.  The reports can included complex analytics to support management in making informed changes at both the tactical and strategic level.

Employees will get immediate feedback on assessments with the tools to adjust performance where needed.  Results can be linked to recognition programs which can be tracked on leaderboards.

Compliance to legal requirements and company protocols are easily tracked and always up to date.  Compliance stats can be organised into regular reports.  Employee statistics and personnel records can be filed electronically integrating with the compliance reports.

"What gets measured, gets managed"

Peter Drucker                    

72% of organisations believe that e-learning helps them increase their competitive edge by giving them opportunity to keep up with changes in the market place.

Research by CertifyMe.net

Reason 7: Better for the Environment

E-learning is significantly more friendly to the environment than it’s face-to-face counterpart.  With reduction in printed training materials, support materials like attendance registers; the storage space for physical records and the travel for facilitators and students, the carbon footprint of training is substantially decreased with the appropriate movement to a digital format.  E-learning is a necessity for any environmentally aware company.

"The quickest way to become an old dog is to stop learning new tricks."

John Rooney                    

Producing and providing e-learning courses consumes an average of 90% less energy and produces 85% less CO2 emissions per student than face to face training.

Study by Britain's Open University

OK, I'm Intrigued; But . . .

It’s clear that e-learning isn’t just the way forward; it’s the way right now.  It makes sense from all points of view to shift to the digital world.  But…what about all your existing in-person training resources; is it obsolete?  Absolutely not.  Traditional training still offers many advantages; and while digital is definitely the way of the future there are still some areas where face-to-face training outperforms e-learning.

While more and more businesses are introducing digital learning; prudent businesses are not doing an outright replacement.  They see that a hybrid approach allows for the best of both worlds.  The two approaches complement each other seamlessly when well designed; ensuring a powerful training and development offering that can impact a company positively with improved employee engagement; better customer service and a positive impact on the bottom line.

"Learning and innovation go hand in hand.

The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday would be sufficient for tomorrow."

William Pollard                    

About the Author 

Alex Marostica is a Happiness and Wellness Coach and founder of The Flying Phoenix.   In late 2017 she partnered with serial entrepreneur, Gareth Pickering, founder of The Freedom Fighter, Keep It on Core and The Immaculate Factory, to co-found IGNITE your Business.

Their mission is two-fold: to support coaches, trainers, facilitators and healers to broaden their impact by shifting into the online space; and to positively influence companies to use digital content to engage with, and empower, their most important resource: their people.