Why embracing elearning alongside face-to-face training can grow your Gloucestershire business

With online training now an accepted route to learning it has also presented companies selling elearning and training providers with a cost-effective opportunity to grow – both their businesses and their reach, according to Nimble Elearning.

By Andrew Merrell  |  Published
A combination of elearning and face-to-face training can be the answer for those looking to deliver training and those looking to learn.

When the pandemic made face-to-face training impossible and introduced us all to online, it also ignited a debate – which form of learning is best? According to Nimble Elearning, what it really gave us all is an opportunity to get the best out of both.

For business, organisations and importantly those delivering training the Stonehouse-based expert believes there remains significant benefits to be had from adopting a blended approach. But, in short, adding elearning to you repertoire could be a win win for everyone.

Why should online learning be something anyone looking to deliver training should consider?

Not everyone enjoys classroom learning. Maybe it reminds them of bad experiences in their own schooldays, or they struggle to carve out the time to attend a long workshop, especially when including the commute.

Perhaps they find it more comfortable to learn at their own pace, rather than keeping time with an instructor.

Regardless of the reason, there are plenty of people who would love the opportunity to develop themselves professionally or personally but would prefer to do so at their own speed.

Elearning is perfect for this; you can incorporate so many of the elements that make your training exceptional, but present it in a different way and, in doing so, capture a whole new market segment.

How could this work and be cost effective for everyone?

It takes a bit of capital to invest in organising a classroom learning session, and that may place your services out of reach for some small businesses.

Individuals looking to increase their professional skills, develop on a personal level, or potentially even work towards a qualification are almost certainly priced out of the face-to-face market (and even if they have the money and willingness to attend an in-person course, availability at a convenient time in their local area is usually a challenge).

A lower-cost elearning alternative is accessible to small organisations and individuals.

As a company you could even create a bundle of online courses (or a subscription-type model) to ensure staff have everything they need to develop key skills and competencies without breaking the bank.

Providing elearning courses that can be accessed at any time and on any device can open up a whole new range of approaches to learning.

What do you mean when you say adding elearning courses into the mix 'can open up a whole range of approaches to learning'?

You’ve probably heard of blended learning, but perhaps you thought that, as a standalone training provider, it was irrelevant or out of reach for you.

Or maybe you’ve experimented with giving course participants pre-reading to do, videos to watch, or slides to review after their session – but found it cumbersome to administer for little reward.

With elearning, you can create simple online courses that fulfill many purposes. You might want to consider building a short, straightforward course for training attendees to complete before a face-to-face session; this could set the scene for the learning that’s to come, and make sure everyone’s on the same page.

Can you give an example of a business which has managed to achieve all of the above?

Nimble Awards Finalist Project Plan Services has had great success with this approach, giving all its software training attendees an in-depth elearning course with videos and documentation to make sure they’re familiar with the basics before the face-to-face session.

This frees up the skilled trainers at Project Plan Services to focus on real-life application of the software in the live workshop, personalising their approach for each group of learners.

Alternatively, you might want to provide a longer, more structured elearning experience that pulls together multiple strands from your in-person workshop and offers the opportunity for learners to dive deeper into topics of interest.

With a simple elearning authoring tool like Nimble Author, you can easily incorporate videos, infographics, documents or links for participants to refer back to when they need them.

Are there any other benefits to developing a hybrid approach to delivering training?

You may have one of the only options for continuing professional development in your specific sector – but it’s likely that you’re competing against many other training companies for a slice of the pie.

How can you stand out from the crowd? By offering a supporting range of carefully crafted elearning courses to accompany your traditional sessions, as Beam Development & Training has done, you can increase your value proposition.

You may also be able to give leaders the opportunity to empower their staff; they can begin to support employees to access the training they need, exactly when they need it, choosing from a curated selection of online learning resources.

How else will this approach benefit my training business and make it sustainable?

The holy grail: repeat business. In the world of face-to-face training, this can be challenging to secure – and is likely to be infrequent, unless you have some large clients with many new employees who require your services.

By providing a suite of high-quality, specialist elearning courses that are unique to your business, you can build a recurring source of revenue with minimal upfront costs.

Depending on your sector, you may even be able to create an accredited series of courses like KMF Training has done with Nimble, adding greater prestige to your offering and potentially filling a market niche. We've created videos on our YouTube channel to explain.

Integrated authoring and learning management system (LMS) platforms like Nimble Author and Nimble LMS give you the flexibility to create and sell collections of courses in the best way for your business, opening up the potential for annual subscriptions or one-off payments from clients.

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