5 Ups and 5 Downs of Training for External Learners
The ups and downs of training content are all good. By “ups” I mean the business elements that are increased or improved because of online training. And the 5 “downs” of training are the business elements that are reduced or eliminated, because of elearning being implemented with a cloud-based LMS. For example, the increase of customer satisfaction, and the reduction in training costs.
The following 10 items are the reasons why you move your training programs online. The first 5 business elements are what is reduced by using online learning. And the last 5 business elements are increased because of a companies shift to online learning. There are more, but these are the primary indicators and metrics you should be able to measure.
Reduce Training Costs by Generating Revenue
Reducing costs is always an important goal. It’s the primary driver of most decisions made in business. Traditionally training has been viewed by the accounting department as a cost center. However, recent technology advancements have made it easier for training departments to shift from a cost center to revenue generation center. Even if the revenue generated is only enough to cover training production and delivery costs, that is still a win for the training department because the cost to the business is eliminated. Revenue generation does not mean you need to be making a profit. Profit would be great and is achievable. But completely eliminating the need for the business to fund your activity is a huge bonus for the company.
Reduce Travel Costs
This item alone has been one of the biggest reasons for the rise of eLearning over the past several decades. Technology has given us the ability to connect virtually regardless of geographical location. Students and instructors no longer need to travel to each other in order to get the required training. Let’s be realistic though. In some cases travel is still necessary. Eliminating in-person learning experiences is not the goal of travel cost reductions. The goal is to be more strategic and effective in our choice of training solutions. And as you just read above, by shifting to a revenue generating center you can offset trainer travel costs. And if your instructional design is good, your classroom experiences will be more effective because they’re supported by online content and micro-learning that supports spaced repetition. Technology like a SaaS-based LMS gives you the flexibility to shape your learning experiences in a blended environment of online and in-person classroom instruction. This reduces travel costs significantly.
Reduce Your Compliance Risk
When laws are written that require training, then your business is at risk. Making sure you are compliant with the laws of your industry is critical. Learning management systems make it easy to buy the appropriate compliance courses, manage/track employee compliance, and report out on your success. The risk of being out of compliance can range into the millions of dollars. An LMS already filled with all the necessary compliance course content can also deliver significant peace of mind to leadership.
Reduce Tech Support Calls/Tickets
By making knowledge available and searchable online you significantly reduce the cost of supporting your products. This is also a big part of customer satisfaction mentioned below. Customers, and employees, are happy when they can be self-sufficient. When they can find the knowledge they need and get back to work. Online training content, especially micro-learning, offers the self-support people crave. Your support team is a valuable part of your business but it is also a cost center. And if you are a small business, customer support is often handled by your most knowledgable staff. And that support function takes them away from the work that keeps your business growing. Reduce your tech support calls by educating your customers.
Reduce the Cost of Attract New Customers
When marketing partners with training, the business benefits greatly. Every effort to publish training externally to your customers is ALSO an effort to win new customers. The content is good for instruction as well as marketing. And when potential customers can see the quality and availability of training and support content they become comfortable with your ability to help them be successful. Sharing content between the marketing department and the training department is sometimes difficult, but well worth the effort in the end.
Increase/Improve Content Quality
Today’s LMS makes it easier than ever to create and deliver training content. It’s now possible to publish more training content than ever before. The ability to create and publish more content also gives us the ability to improve that content as well. An easy-to-use LMS makes it possible to implement an iterative development process. It’s similar to the “Agile” process of software development, or “lean” processes. The learning industry is finally catching up with these successful methodologies, but you need a flexible and agile LMS to make it happen.
Increase/Improve Customer and Employee onboarding
On-boarding no longer needs to be an all-day, or all-week, affair. Depending on your instructional design you now have the ability to let the new hire progress at their own speed and consume the training content as they need it. In some cases this may not be the best approach. Your company culture may take great pride in a long on-boarding process that strongly embeds the company culture, systems, and knowledge into the new hire before they engage as a productive employee. But not matter how to you design it, there will be different elements that need to be managed. Your LMS should be able to handle all aspects from ILT and elearning to group discussions, micro-learning, and spaced repetition. And if you’re a Salesforce user then having your training integrated into that workflow is a huge bonus for new hires. Keep their learning and their workflow close for improved performance.
Increase Customer Satisfaction
An educated customer is a happy customer. Training the customers offers big returns. Not only are they happier with your product, but as mentioned above, they don’t need your support as much. Keeping customers happy and knowledgable can also translate into future sales when they speak highly of your products and services, and training, to others. Customer satisfaction can very easily translate into dollars. Don’t leave that money on the table.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, generating revenue is a powerful way to prove that the training department understands business. When your training product generates revenue, you become part of the business that other business leaders respect. There is no faster way to “get a seat at the table” than to generate revenue, and report out on it like any other part of the business. The shift to revenue generation is possible for everyone. It’s hard work. But that hard work pays off. Make it happen with an LMS equipped to get you there by supporting external training needs.
Increase Customers from Your Training
Increasing your customer base is also an important metric that most training departments don’t measure. It’s not an easy metric to gather data on, but we know it works. Several items listed above point to the reasons why external training can help increase your customer base. Great training content gives potential customers a sense of trust that they can learn and utilize your product. Seeing, hearing, or reading marketing content that educates potential customers on how other customers have been successful is also a powerful tool. And yes, much of marketing is simply education. And much of instructional design is useful for marketing. The differences require unique systems for each department to be successful. However, a close partnership can leverage the benefits that each has to offer the other.
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