Home » Business » Training

Maximising Training Budgets through Immersive eLearning

Sep 3, 2008
In the wider commercial and government world eLearning, or online training, is often represented by an abundance of glorified Power Point presentations. Back and next buttons rule supreme, and while this type of training can provide some visually interesting content it doesn't necessarily engage learners for long. However, if you're prepared to spend more on eLearning a whole new teaching and learning opportunity is uncovered.

NBFS was a term I coined recently. Well it was a term I'd never heard before so I'll stand by that claim albeit tentatively. It stands for Next Button Fatigue Syndrome and although at the time it was a joke I realised it did articulate a large concern related to eLearning.

In the wider commercial and government world online training is often represented by an abundance of glorified Power Point presentations. Back and next buttons rule supreme, and while this type of eLearning can provide some visually interesting content it doesn't necessarily engage learners for long. Now, without demonising this further, I do agree that it has an important place in certain forms of online training. It is particularly useful for rapid eLearning where budgets are limited or content is restrictive in its capacity for instructional design. However, if you're prepared to spend more a whole new teaching and learning opportunity is uncovered.

So what can be gained from increasing an eLearning budget? Perhaps the best way to expand on this is to look at the rise, and rise, and rise of computer gaming.

Computer gaming has captured a huge portion of the entertainment market by creating stories and environments that immerse the user, allowing them to freely explore, engage and choose their own fortunes. Unlike movies where the narrative is controlled and the exposure limited, computer gaming is far more absorbing for far longer.

If you take this concept of using stories, environments and user-control to immerse learners- or immersive eLearning as we refer to it- you're somewhat closer to understanding where a more expansive budget can lead.

Take, for example, a large business that operates a syndicated gambling game throughout clubs and pubs. If we imagine that each staff member within each establishment is required to operate and understand a ticketing console that facilitates this syndicated game -- and the associated customer service -- it wouldn't be stretching reality to suggest the learner population would be massive and very widely spread.

In this example, the learner base is 30,000 people spread across a region the size of France. Prior to considering online induction and online systems training, the business would spend time and money sending trainers to the far corners of the region. The cost for one such 'training mission' could quite literally translate into thousands of dollars of travel and accommodation costs -- and even then not every trainee would necessarily be available for training at that particular time. Spread the cost, say $2000, over forty employees and you're spending $50 on training per individual. Calculate that cost over an estimated 30,000 learners and it rises to an astronomical $1.5 million per annum.

This begs the question "what's the eLearning alternative" for a business case like this? Well firstly, we considered the model that face-to-face training would have employed -- lectures, training around the ticketing console and actual on the job training. Secondly, we considered the fact that face to face training was a limited resource that relies upon learners digesting content within a fixed time frame. Thirdly, we knew that eLearning training would be consistent and standardised across all learners, something that would be difficult to achieve under a face-to-face model.

The answer -- enter the animated and interactive world of a fictitious club, full of helpful staff, trainers and eager customers wanting to play variations of the syndicated game and all with different questions, spending options and problems. Add to this a computer generated version of the ticketing console and the learner has the ability to actually partake in a fully functioning, yet fictitious, version of the club and game with multiple customer scenarios unfolding before them.

Sounds expensive? Well it is true effective eLearning doesn't come cheaply. But let's compare it to the original training costs. In this example the total cost of this project was in the vicinity of $250,000 -- one sixth of the original face to face training costs. Furthermore, when we consider that this training will be suitable for at least three years the cost differential is even greater. Bundle this eLearning with an LMS, a Learning Management System, and every one of the 30,000 learners can be tracked and assessed on an equal footing.

While training of this calibre may not always be an organisation's first thought, it's certainly worth calculating the costs between differing training models. So don't be afraid to consider spending in eLearning. If you choose the right provider, with demonstrated creative abilities, you may just find you've solved your training needs and helped to change the perception of eLearning.
About the Author
Aframe provides comprehensive eLearning, learning content development, compliance training, and learning management system solutions across Asia Pacific.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 282
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories