Are you responsible for organizing training in your company? Are you wondering how to ensure all employees receive training? Has the explosive growth in working remotely made you think of alternatives to face-to-face training? If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place.
What are the benefits of digitalizing training in your company?
For this article, we interviewed Terhi Leppiniemi from Acolad Nordic and Teemu Vaalasmaa from Claned Group. Acolad and Claned are collaborating on eLearning services.
In principle, there are no limits to digitalizing learning. E-learning can be built around almost any subject. This can be seen in practice by taking a look at the training that is on offer online. Should all training be digitalized? Probably not, because not everything related to work tasks or internal company processes can be made into effective training courses. Some things may be learned by doing; others may always require the help of others.
When considering the prioritization of digitalization, it is worth asking how many employees, subcontractors or stakeholders the training serves, and in which areas rapid scaling of skills may become necessary.
In essence, digitalization is an investment in the future. Of course, it may solve an existing need for training, but well-constructed training content can serve the company for a long time.
When considering the need for training and digitalization, future needs should also be taken into account. Are there significant changes or reforms taking place in your company that have an extensive impact on how your staff works? Operational model reforms, system reforms, new products or brand reforms are things that affect the daily work of many employees and often result in a need for training.
The digitalization of training is worthwhile precisely when the target group is large, and the need for training is recurring. Product and service training can be digitalized for sales and customer service, for example. Part of induction training can be digitalized, so that training led by an instructor can focus on things that are essential for the work tasks in question.
Another benefit of digitalization is that the training’s content is the same for everyone. Over time, the content may have to be updated, and the pedagogical tools used may be developed further, but the idea is that a carefully implemented online training program can be used for a long time. Implementing small updates to the content is quick and easy if they have been considered when designing the training.
Benefits of digitalizing training programs
The benefits of digitalizing training are realized as saved resources. For example, there’s no need for a particular expert to go around training staff. After all, it’s possible to distill the expertise of a wide group of experts into e-learning in a form that serves different learning styles. Digitalized induction training provides essential information about the company and employment-related issues. After the training, the instructor can answer more specific questions. The time spent with the instructor can be directed to learning things needed directly for the work tasks.
Also, reaching the intended target group is easy with digitalized training. There is no need for supervisors or the HR department to make calendar and room reservations for training. It is enough that the learner is given time to take the course. The team supervisor or HR staff can monitor everyone’s completion of the training, and make sure that they gain the required skills. In face-to-face training, even a single case of illness or a missed calendar reservation can cause inconvenience.
Online training, which is available anytime, anywhere, also enables the learners to receive new information precisely when they need it, and when it’s easiest for them to take it in.
“However, the biggest savings stem from the fact that the content is defined, divided and summarized in a way that serves the target group. When there’s a large number of learners, the benefits of time savings and learning efficiency quickly accumulate.”
Terhi Leppiniemi, Head of Creative Talent, Acolad
Benefits in brief
- Cost-effectiveness. At its best, a digitalized training program can be used for a long time and for training even large target groups.
- Uniformity. The content of the training is the same for all participants, so everyone receives the same information. A wide range of experts can be involved in the production of the materials, which ensures that, in addition to the actual content, details related to the company’s brands can be taken into account, for example.
- Measurability and monitoring. The learning management system can be used to see whether everyone who needs training has completed it. In addition, the purpose of the learning management system is to provide the organization with broad information about training needs and the need to improve individual training programs.
- Reach. Digitalized training gives the participants the freedom to complete the training when and where it suits them. Online training can reach its target groups regardless of location.
“High-quality digitalization of training is an investment in the future of the learners and the entire organization.”
Terhi Leppiniemi, Head of Creative Talent, Acolad
What kind of training should be digitalized?
Subjects for e-learning are limitless. However, when planning the program, the most important things to consider are the size of the target group and the goal of the training. Digitalizing very specific training can easily require more resources than face-to-face or virtual training.
Do you need help with planning the content for training programs or writing their scripts? Contact us!
Induction is a good example of a type of training that is well suited for digitalization. It can be used to give a broad presentation of the company and its values, but also to introduce practical issues related to the employment relationship, such as occupational health care and wellbeing at work.
The advantage of digitalizing induction training is that all new employees receive the same information, even if their jobs are not the same. What they have in common is that they are new to the workplace, and getting to know the company and its practices is important for the organization.
Digitalized induction training is at its strongest in situations where staff turnover is high or the company operates in multiple locations. Induction training in the form of e-learning can also have a positive effect on the employer’s image.
Process and operating model training
The goal of process and operating model training is that it results in the organization's employees doing things in the correct way. A benefit of training being done digitally is that it can be monitored. If all staff members or employees in a specific position need to complete a certain training program, it will be easier to monitor their progress when the training is in digital form. Incorporating exercises or tests in the training can also ensure that eployees really learn the things that are being taught.
Process training for customer service personnel can be built around the delivery process of a demanding service or product, or the stages of a customer complaint process. Naturally, a customer wants to know how quickly their complaint is processed. The training helps customer service personnel understand the stages of the process and give well-informed answers to the customers’ questions.
Operating model training is strongly linked to process training, but there is often a need to emphasize the internal operating models that may result from – for example, legal requirements. An example of this is compliance training. See our customer case, in which we built a multilingual e-learning program for Biocodex Nordics around compliance.
Product and service training
The benefits of digitalizing product or service training are its broad usability and the consistency of its content for all training participants.
Products and services are an integral part of everyday work life for production, as well as customer service and sales. On the other hand, the same training can also be used for stakeholders. If more in-depth information about a product or service is needed, a sales brochure may not be enough, and an actual instruction manual may not be a very appealing option.
There’s no need for training to only focus on the advantages and features of a product. It can just as well be installation-related training, for example. See our customer case, in which Acolad delivered an e-learning solution to convert Faucet's school to a digital format.
It is quite a challenging task to provide training in the use of a new customer management system or ERP system for all the personnel who need it. Developing competence to the required level with face-to-face training can take considerable time. If training for basic functions is digitalized and tailored to specific user roles, it can be implemented more effectively. Those who are already familiar with the system can thus concentrate on advanced training.
Another benefit is that the training can be used in the future as induction training for new employees.
The benefits of digitalized training are very rarely one-off. It’s easy to go back to digital content, and it can always be updated as needed.
How should training be digitalized?
In practice, digitalization depends on the available resources, and there are three options.
The first is to do the digitalization of training internally and acquire a learning management system. This is a good option if the company has a lot of resources and skills to digitalize content.
The second is to outsource either the digitalization of content or the learning management system. If the organization’s own resources are not enough to digitalize content, all that needs to be done is to maintain the learning management system and ensure that the necessary training programs are available.
The third is to outsource both the digitalization of content and the learning management system. In this case, the external partner takes care of all aspects of the digitalization. This is the best option when there are not enough internal resources.
Do you need help with digitalizing your training? Contact us!
What should be considered in digitalizing training?
Every digitalization project is different, but there are certain basic things to consider when embarking on digitalizing learning. We have put together this short list to help you understand the different aspects of a digitalization project.
The target group and goal of the training
When digitalizing training, the most important thing is to keep in mind who the training is aimed at and what the goal of the training is. Defining these will help you choose relevant content for the training. These two things should be kept in mind throughout the project.
“In communication with the target group, you should focus on what the benefits of the training are for the participant, or how the training can help them in their work tasks.”
Teemu Vaalasmaa, Head of Learning Design, Claned Group
“The more critical the training is, the more important it is to set the right goals.”
Terhi Leppiniemi, Head of Creative Talent, Acolad
Who is the owner of the project?
In terms of project management, it is essential that a person or preferably a team is appointed to handle the project. If a project can only be worked on occasionally alongside other work, it can take weeks or even months to complete it.
Do you have the resources and skills in-house that are needed for the digitalization?
Digitalization can be challenging if there is a lack of internal resources. For example, help may be needed to preparing a script that is used as a framework for the content of the training. Producing the content itself may also require assistance. The organization may have the necessary image, audio and video processing skills, but the people with these skills may be busy with other projects.
“Digitalization should be started with a single small course to make sure it can be completed. Lessons learned from the project can then be used in the following projects. The danger of starting with a large project is that it may never be completed.”
Teemu Vaalasmaa, Head of Learning Design
Does the material needed for the digitalization already exist?
The material needed is often in digital form and easily accessible. Sometimes, however, the material needed for the training program is in printed or otherwise non-digital form. This includes tacit knowledge that only certain employees may have. In this case, it is necessary to interview experts so that their information can be utilized in the training.
“Powerpoint slides do not directly turn into training.”
Teemu Vaalasmaa, Head of Learning Design
Is the content diverse?
The content must be concise, but it should not only consist of text. Images, sound, video, and interactive elements help to keep the learners’ attention and serve a variety of learning styles. Images and video can be used to underline a message and to help learn the subject matter.
Questions, exercises, game elements, or the possibility to add comments or ask questions serve as interactive elements. For example, participants can share tacit knowledge on best practices around the subject. The possibility to ask questions also serves everyone taking part in the training. Interactivity breaks the linear progression of training in which the learner would otherwise only be a recipient of information.
The importance of the learning management system
The learning management system is a significant part of the whole project. When choosing a learning management system, close attention should be paid to the user experience. Even excellent training can go to waste if the user is frustrated with web pages loading slowly or having to enter information in many different places.
The user experience should also be considered from the perspective of the administrator. Is it easy to create an online training program, how easy is it to update content, and does the learning management system support localization?
It is important that the user experience is good for both learners and administrators.
A learning management system is more than just a publishing platform. It gives the organization important information about the content of training programs, as well as future training needs. Do learners discontinue particular parts of courses? Are some courses so popular that people outside the target group want to take them?
At best, information produced by the learning management system can be used in the company’s business operations on a larger scale. How is customer service staff training reflected in customer satisfaction? How is the digital product training that is implemented for the sales team reflected in actual sales? How has the employer's image developed with the training?
Read more about the learning management system of our partner Claned here.
A well-made online training program can be used for a long time and in a variety of ways
The digitalization of training gives measurable and monitorable results. You don’t need to ask your employees about completing a required training program, because you can check it in the learning management system.
Digitalization is most beneficial when the need for training is recurring, and its content stays the same. Efficiency improves as the size of the target group increases. For example, a digitalized induction training program can be localized so that it can be used in multiple countries.
Well-implemented digitalization of training will pay for itself in saved resources. Face-to-face training can focus on more advanced things, because the basics have been covered in e-learning. There’s no need for a trainer to go around different company locations to train the staff. The trainer only needs to take part in the digitalization and help with additional questions afterwards. Time and effort can also be saved by knowing the situation of the learners, and by not having to schedule numerous meetings and reserve meeting rooms.
Do you need help with writing a script for online training or digitalizing content? Is defining a target group or goal for training proving a challenge? Don’t worry! Our experts are happy to help you. Don’t hesitate to contact us.