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e-Learning and the e-Workforce
Small business owners, entrepreneurs, executives and managers face the challenge of not only recognizing when change is coming, but where it's coming from, and how it will affect their business operations. As they recognize these trends, they must also know how to proactively manage change and its resulting effects. Some visionary leaders are quick to see emerging markets and industries. But quite often, a paradoxical change occurs that will alter the way the business world operates - pushing executives out with their golden parachutes.
In addition to facing the challenge of recognizing change, business leaders must also know how to attract, train and retain Knowledge workers. In the past, this has been viewed as a very high expense to companies, a "liability" rather than a necessity. How can business leaders "attract, train and retain" their employees and show a substantial return-on-investment (ROI)?
Workforce Training & ROI
Very few emerging markets or industries can accurately be classified as "juggernaut" in size or scope. Today, the emerging juggernaut is e-Learning. If analysts and current trends prove correct, e-Learning will establish itself as the "juggernaut" of training and development.
Over the past two years I have had the opportunity to work with many owners, executives, managers, business leaders and investors. When the subject of e-Learning comes up, few seem confident, comfortable, or even knowledgeable about the subject. Some question its relevance to the knowledge organization.
e-Learning represents a wide range of business activities and technologies, including distance education, computer-based training (CBT), web-based training (WBT), Internet-based training (IBT), courseware delivery and online learning and testing. e-Learning represents the total integration of multimedia, instructor-led, and real-time training - in a human, collaborative environment.
Knowing how to get started on purchasing or creating a company-wide e-Learning program for employees requires an understanding of new learning models and technologies. As with most educational institutions, businesses are muddled with learning models created in times of information scarcity.
Today, the business world has three very fundamental concerns and weaknesses: attracting, training, and retaining Intellectual Capital. It's a difficult task to train and retain the knowledge workers of the world - the workforces of the new millennium are now "free agents" and job hoppers at a whim. What they offer is portable knowledge. I propose a simple, long-term solution to these three business concerns and weaknesses - e-Learning.
e-Learning and the e-Workforce
In 1999, corporate America alone spent $63 billion on educating and training its workforce. Of that spending, e-Learning accounted for the fastest-growing fragment of the market, $3 billion. What began simply as IT training has made its way into management, sales, marketing, customer service, and professional development. This multimedia approach to training is quickly migrating to the Web. International Data Corporation projects that Web-based corporate training revenues will grow to $11.4 billion by 2003. Other analyst reports estimate a much higher dollar figure. Either way, the pie is growing rapidly.
In the final analysis, e-Learning offers ten major advantages to the business world and its workforce.
1. Real-time learning.
2. Learner-centric training.
3. Attract, train and retain.
4. Personalized individual training.
5. Ownership and Empowerment.
8. Anytime and anywhere.
9. Cost effective.
10. Quantifiable ROI.
e-Learning offers companies the ability to address and manage the monumental task of hiring, training, and retention of the new knowledge worker. It also will show which corporations are serious about attracting, training, and retaining their global workforce.
Last year, 70 million people received training and education on the Internet. Soon, training for nearly every job in the world will be available over the Internet. The real change in business practice will be the acceptance that the knowledge of employees represents a competitive edge.
In fact, I believe it is the competitive advantage companies' neglect most often. Speed, connectivity, and intangible value have made e-Learning the prime choice for creating and maintaining a competitive advantage in an ever-changing, competitive, information world. Knowledge is not only Internet mobile, but mobile with each employee.
John T. Chambers, President and CEO, Cisco Systems stated, "The next big killer application for the Internet is going to be education. Education over the Internet is going to be so big it is going to make e-mail look like a rounding error."
The clock is ticking on the traditional employee training and retention model. The juggernaut cometh.
Many more articles in Training & Development in The CEO Refresher Archives