With the pandemic forcing businesses to adapt like never before, many employers found that new skills were required and fast, with elearning providing an easy way to deliver them.
SoGlos spoke to Gloucestershire-based Nimble Elearning to discover why it believes that elearning is here to stay – and why it can continue to benefit businesses even as staff return to the office.
About the expert – Hannah Davies, learning adviser at Nimble Elearning
Founded in Stonehouse in 2009, Nimble Elearning launched into a marketplace where online training was available, but too expensive or generic for most businesses.
Nimble founder and managing director, Neil Hyde, was convinced there was a clear gap in the market for a product that would make it super easy for companies of any size to build their own engaging online courses, release them to their teams and track results.
From its official launch in 2014 Nimble has attracted customers nationally and locally and continues to evolve. But its mission remains the same – ‘to empower every company to provide quality, online training to their teams, easily’.
You began developing the concept for what became Nimble Elearning in 2009, and launched in 2014, but what actually is elearning?
Put simply, elearning means employees can access learning as and when they need to. These learning opportunities usually take the form of online courses which can take as little time as five minutes to complete.
Everyone has heard of training that is ‘death by PowerPoint’. To escape this, technology now provides the opportunity for engaging and interactive training for employees to complete themselves online.
Good elearning courses are optimised for every device (PC, desktop and mobile) and include assessment opportunities – perfect for making sure busy workforces have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed, while ensuring firms meet compliance requirements.
Has the rush to online as a result of the pandemic and the need for firms to adapt and learn new skills helped more people understand the benefits of elearning?
The COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably had an impact on the elearning industry. Many organisations needed to make the switch from traditional classroom learning to an online programme – and they needed to do it very quickly.
While this proved to be a steep learning curve for some businesses, it opened up new opportunities for developing their employees without the expenditure of face-to-face training.
With elearning, staff can access courses at times that are convenient to them, rather than at a time mandated by management – and of course this means reduced overheads: no travel, no classrooms to book and an increase in productivity (fewer lost hours!).
With many employees now returning to the workplace, do you think elearning will remain the go-to tool for business?
Many businesses already used elearning to some extent before the pandemic, but it has now become ubiquitous, with organisations across all sectors seeing the benefits.
As we’ve seen from news reports, there has been a fundamental shift towards accepting remote work, with large companies in particular adopting a hybrid model for the foreseeable future.
My hope is that elearning will sit at the centre of the learning and development strategy for many businesses; other methods of learning, such as coaching, mentoring, hands-on practice and shadowing, are absolutely essential, but elearning provides a cost-effective foundation for providing development opportunities to staff.
For those who have resisted training their staff because of the cost or lost hours, what are the key benefits of elearning?
The beauty of an elearning course is that it can be accessed as many times and by as many people as required – and is available at any time.
If your organisation has always used face-to-face classroom training and that has been on hold during the pandemic, now is the perfect time to try a blended model – combining elearning courses with traditional sessions.
If you run a small business and have never had the budget or bandwidth for formal training programmes before, elearning is a low-cost way to start moving the knowledge you already have into a format that’s easily accessible to staff.
While off-the-shelf courses may be more affordable, is developing bespoke courses and training expensive?
One of the great things about elearning is that it really can be incredibly simple. At Nimble, we’ve developed an easy authoring tool that’s easier to use than PowerPoint. Anyone can use it to build beautiful courses.
You don’t need to commission an expensive suite of bespoke courses, particularly if you’re just starting out. With the right tools, I guarantee you have the skills already there in your organisation. There’s also the option to edit our suite of ready-made courses to meet the specific requirements of your business.
What subjects and topics has Nimble Elearning delivered training in?
At Nimble, we’ve supported our customers (both locally, nationally and globally) to create all sorts of great courses across a wide range of sectors, from companies with just a couple of staff to large international businesses and charities.
Airports, care homes, leisure and tourism, retail, hospitality, engineering, manufacturing, construction, finance… you name it! In fact, we’ve recently announced the finalists for our yearly Nimble Awards, which recognise the hard work of our customers.
These range from ale accreditation to children’s speciality retail, and from training companies to transport technology!
How does a business know its staff have completed a course and actually learned what they need to?
Nimble isn’t just about building courses; we also offer a Learning Management System that’s intuitive and easy to use. Businesses can easily see which employees have started and completed specific courses – and even how they’ve interacted with each page.
Assessment results can be viewed in detail, or as overview reports. It’s really straightforward to keep track of each employee’s learning progress and for companies with regulatory or compliance requirements, it provides proof of training too.
How does Nimble Elearning manage that all-important relationship with its customer and ensure it is delivering what their business wants and needs?
Customer support is at the heart of everything we do at Nimble. We have a personal relationship with every customer; our skilled customer success team is dedicated to providing as much or as little help as every customer needs, including a comprehensive onboarding programme and ongoing support, which is free of charge for all annual licence holders. We really pride ourselves on caring for every customer.
If a business is interested in elearning, is there a way to trial a course before committing?
Absolutely, we offer a free trial of our course creation tool, Nimble Author 2. You can have a go at creating your own beautiful courses and find out if Nimble is a good fit for you, with no obligation.
However, if you’re simply curious, we’d love for you to get in contact just to explore how elearning can support your business.