eLearning, The Better Deal (part 3)

Posted by Ed Gipple on May 13, 2011 1:54:00 PM

In the final ‘installment’, a few more references to bolster support for just how effective eLearning can be…

The DOE has a few other interesting articles and reports as additional fodder for discussion.

Other groups and sites provide even more ammunition to the eLearning debate. Sites such as the eLearning Guild and the American Society for Training and Development often have robust articles regarding a range of eLearning subjects. ASTD has their 2010 ‘State of the Industry Report’ covering a swath of the learning arena, including nuggets like, “ASTD estimates that U.S. organizations spent $125.88 billion on employee learning and development in 2009.”

You can purchase the PDF report or download it from free via your account if you maintain a current ASTD membership.

But not all such resources require membership or purchase. The Chapman Alliance, a respected consulting group, released a report titled “How Long Does it Take to Create Learning” in September of 2010. This report covers a range of development professional and organization survey responses regarding traditional ILT, the various ‘levels’ of eLearning, and blended/hybrid solutions, including ‘development ratios’ and average costs between the variations.

And an even more exciting case study is available from ASTD’s ‘Learning Circuits’ website, hosting a fantastic write-up from Paul T. Walliker of ‘Caterpillar University’ on their internal review of traditional and eLearning solutions. Titled “Cost Comparison: Instructor-Led Vs. E-Learning”, this article is chock-full of cost breakdowns and similar comparisons.  From the study,

  • Costs per development and delivery hour: “E-learning has an advantage in nearly every area, including efficiency and velocity”
  • Factors affecting costs, Efficiency: “In general, a learner will need half the time to cover the same material in an online class as they would in an instructor-led class.”
  • Key findings: “…when similar programs are compared, e-learning is less expensive to deliver almost regardless of learner population.”

We’re keeping our eyes open for other such reports to help guide our customers to the best solution. Indeed, sometimes traditional stand-up (ILT) is simply the best answer! While we’ve seen discussions on just how appropriate specific solutions may be, from ‘bad’ eLearning design to LMS capabilities, we’ve yet to find one debunking eLearning as a valid and effective approach entirely. We suspect that is because not only is it a growing solution but an effective and, ultimately, cost-effective one as well.