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Virtual classroom Featured

9:43am EDT July 22, 2002
Owners of organizations of all sizes struggle with where e-learning fits within their companies.

How can they leverage the technology infrastructure? What is the best e-learning solution? How should they determine which departments will benefit the most from e-learning? And, what, exactly, is e-learning, anyway?

E-learning is defined as courses taken via the Web, anytime and from anyplace that has Internet or intranet access. The primary mystery surrounding e-learning is understanding who leads the strategy.

Deciding which software to purchase for your Web server is the responsibility of your network administrator; designing a training strategy is handled by the chief learning officer or the manager of training. E-learning is a blend of technology, training and department management problem solving.

Understanding which areas e-learning can affect is the beginning of designing your company’s e-learning strategy.

Technology skill gaps

More organizations are searching for employees with Web technology skills. Insourcing, or growing your own, is an accepted method of developing technical skills in-house and is becoming a proven growth strategy.

E-learning is an inexpensive solution for building skills. Training keeps topflight technical talent from jumping ship in the face of aggressive recruiting tactics. So what do you need to start?

1. Identify critical skills needed for technical staff development.

2. Prospect from key areas of your organization while supporting current needs.

3. Retain employees through training for your technical know-how.

4. Design a career path and provide the training necessary to overcome the skill gap.

Help desk

Organizations must decide how to establish a help desk that provides the best support to end-users. E-learning offers a cost-efficient solution. According to a 1996 study by Gartner Group, the average direct cost to provide support to employees is about $350 per year.

E-learning provides a high-tech Internet learning solution that reduces costs to about $40-$90 per employee each year. When an organization monitors the calls received by the help desk, a customized solution can:

  • Increase the level of knowledge of the help desk employee;

  • Reduce the time spent on a call;

  • Improve the productivity of the end-user; and

  • Decrease training costs of the help desk.

Organizations are finding that e-learning reduces the turnover rate for help desk personnel as training increases skills and reduces boredom. The help desk is a good source for filling technology skill gaps.

End-user training

Why send employees to an eight-hour class when they can take courses at their workstation, when they need them and at a significantly lower cost?

If your work force is geographically diverse, employees can access the answers they need from work, home or on the road. Most e-learning solutions can be completely outsourced and externally hosted. Popular business applications, such as Office 2000, Windows, programming, network training, financial applications, soft skills and more are available and at significantly reduced costs.

According to International Data Corp., the average annual productivity loss per employee is about 10 percent of their total salary for just asking, “How do I do this?” questions about their (IT) desktop applications.


Employees recognize the need to maintain and grow their skill set. Organizations are finding e-learning is an inexpensive incentive opted for by employees.

By implementing e-learning, organizations can increase the flexibility and reach of their training support to every employee. In addition, most e-learning solutions provide valuable information useful for performance testing and productivity evaluation of employees. Compared to CD-ROM purchases and traditional classroom-based computer training, e-learning costs up to 90 percent less.

And that will impact your company’s bottom line.

Darla Root (djr@beandance.com) is president of BeanDance, an e-learning solution provider based in Cleveland. Contact her at (440) 257-8687 or on the Web at www.beandance.com.