No matter what type of organization you’re working for, making money keeps things moving. That also goes for saving money. Every dollar saved is a dollar that can be spent on something more important.
And that’s why saving your organization money is essential to the survival of any organization. Since digital training solutions are our specialty, we’re going to show you how it can save your organization money whether tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions.
The beauty of digital training is that, unlike other types of training, it’s easily scalable. Not only that but the more people trained, the more money saved.
But, before we get into all the details of how digital training saves your organization money, it’s helpful to understand what it is. It seems straightforward but defining digital training is not because it refers to so many different things.
Any training that’s on a device or uses a device is digital training, right? Yes and no. Let’s take a look at what it is in context to this post.
What Is Digital Training?
Even digital training is a vague term that could refer to a lot of things. But, in terms of this post, what we’re referring to is training that’s digital and asynchronous.
So, while virtual instructor-led training (vILT) could be considered digital training, in the scope of this article it’s not digital training. Of course, vILT does save more money typically than in-person training, but it’s still not effectively scalable which is of core importance to modern digital training solutions and its cost-saving abilities.
One of the main reasons we don’t do any instructor-led training is because of the fact it’s not scalable and pulls people away from their work. So, what is digital training in the context of this post?
- Takes place entirely on a computer, tablet, or mobile device.
- Is easy to start and stop at any time.
- Is pausable so breaks can be taken if necessary or employees can step away for a second if necessary.
- Is often called eLearning, online learning, web-based training, computer-based training, learning experience, mobile learning, microlearning, asynchronous digital learning, self-paced learning, self-paced course, on-demand learning, and so on but can also include things like job aids, quick reference guides, videos, in-app help, or any number of other training resources on the computer.
- Is geared towards teaching employees how to do a job task or do it better.
Some types of training can cover the realm of digital and real life, though. Think about a job aid and how it’s distributed. If it’s distributed on a computer, opened as a PDF, and used on the computer then it’s digital training. If it’s a laminated card that hangs by a workstation then it’s not.
One defining factor of digital training is that it’s asynchronous rather than synchronous. That means it’s not used at a specific time and not everybody is consuming the training at the same time.
So, while digital training can contain webinars, virtual classrooms, or anything like that, we aren’t looking at that so much. There are cost savings in those types of digital training but they aren’t as pronounced as asynchronous digital training.
That’s why we’re going to focus on how your organization can save money with asynchronous digital training. This brings us to how digital training will have your organization more than just a handful of dollars.
Using asynchronous digital training methods instead of traditional or synchronous methods could be the difference between success and failure as business competition continues to get tougher.
How Digital Training Saves Your Organization Money
While asynchronous digital training isn’t the right solution to every training requirement, when it can replace synchronous methods of training then it’s often far superior.
In most surveys we’ve seen, employees prefer to take training at their own pace and in a place they prefer. That means self-paced courses are preferred more than instructor-led courses. Not only that but they’re typically a more effective way to learn. While it’s not universally accepted (there are always those hanging on to old ways) that digital training is better, the facts continue to pile up in their favor.
But this isn’t a post about how much better digital training is than other methods, it’s about how it can save you money. So, let’s get into the juicy details of how digital training saves your organization money. Lots of money.
Lower Cost Of Training
Build it once, and use it as long as the content is relevant. Digital training is great specifically because you don’t have to continuously work to train employees. Once the content is created, whether a self-paced course, performance support, training video, or whatever then it will continually benefit employees.
Of course, every piece of content, even digital training, has a useful shelf life before it either needs to be updated or retired. But, digital training doesn’t require the massive resources typical training requires.
It doesn’t require
- An instructor to continuously teach the content.
- A classroom, conference room, or any other type of room to hold training in.
- Traveling or paying for employees to travel to a specific location.
- Hotel rooms for each employee that had to travel and for events that last more than one day.
- Printed material or supplies for the training session(s).
- Employees to step away from their work for as long or a fixed and rigid amount of time.
So, digital training saves massive sums of money and reduces the cost of training while being more effective for most types of training needs. There are the cost savings of being able to easily scale the training, but there are tons of other savings along the way.
The fact is, even with a large initial investment for good digital training solutions, savings will continue to add up after it’s released and the reach of content is endless as long as your employees have the means to access digital content when they need it.
When they need it. That brings us to the next major savings, increased productivity.
Employees no longer have to take training when it’s convenient for everybody else or the instructor. Now they can take it any time that fits their schedule, take breaks if necessary, and also revisit content as necessary.
These are all things that can’t be done with synchronous forms of training. I don’t know about you but I’ve been in countless miserable classes where there’s no good time to disturb the whole session and slide out the door to use the toilet. At least with virtual instructor-led training, you can mute your phone and just go as long as you’re careful about making sure you’re muted when you flush!
But how else can digital training increase productivity other than allowing employees convenient access to training?
Some types of digital training doesn’t just reduce the time away from work, they could eliminate the need. Job aids and quick reference guides are great at that. It helps employees learn and perform better while never leaving their jobs. Performance support is one of the best forms of training that’s often forgotten.
Then there’s the fact that digital training is faster and more efficient. In almost all cases the same can be learned in a self-paced course in less time than taking a live class. We recommend you read more about how we saved an organization at least 30 minutes for every employee who took required training.
A lot more creativity and clearer ways of presenting information can be accomplished with digital training too. And that’s not even considering that it’s the only way custom company software should be trained.
That leads to improved retention of information and easier application of knowledge. For the type of training we do, custom software training, it’s more effective for employees to use it themselves in a safe environment than see someone else showing them how to use it.
The further an employee is removed from actually applying what they learn, the more difficult it is to retain that knowledge. If employees learn better and easier then that leads to improved productivity.
It’s almost always a win-win when it comes to digital training vs. traditional training methods. While that’s not always going to be 100% true for all employees, it’s always true for the majority of employees.
Scale That Training
Do you remember how we mentioned above that we saved each employee 30 minutes of training time?
Scale that by thousands and the total number of time saved is immense. That’s because digital training is easy to scale upwards nearly infinitely. As much as your infrastructure can manage, digital training can be scaled.
How long and how many trainers would be required to train 50,000 employees on a topic the old-fashioned way?
Even if you go a more modern route with a webinar or virtual classroom format, you still can only scale it so much. Not everyone can attend at the same time, any system can only manage so many users at the same time, and there are other limitations.
Not with digital training! While there are still limitations on how many people can use content at the same time, the fact that not everyone needs to access it at the same time means it’s much easier to scale.
In a matter of a few days, it’s possible to train those 50,000 employees with relative ease. You can’t achieve that with any other form of training but digital training.
With digital training, you only have to build the content once and then as many employees as necessary can use it. That means the more employees who use it, the lower the cost of training per employee. With traditional training methods, the cost per employee continues to rise as the number of employees rises.
It’s also not necessary to worry about the location and coordinating all that. Employees can be scattered all over the globe and it’s still easy to scale training globally with digital training. A course can be stored on a globally distributed computer network. Even a webinar format doesn’t work that well globally. There’s always some sort of network slowdown, delays across the ocean, time zone issues (who wants to wake up at 3 a.m.!), etc.
Digital training doesn’t suffer scalability issues on almost every level that traditional training methods experience. Even virtual instructor-led training isn’t as efficient or scalable as asynchronous digital training methods.
Customize The Experience
How do you customize a training experience for a classroom of 30 or a virtual session of 200?
And no, you can’t say that it’s custom by saying you present information in visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and other forms. Those are bogus methods of customization and don’t help people learn unless the actual material calls for one method over another.
But, you can’t let an employee choose what parts of a class are relevant to them and skip the rest.
Think about how much time you can save employees by customizing their experience so it’s relevant to them. It’s even possible to allow skilled employees to test out entirely if they know the content.
You know what they say, time is money, and you save tons of time with less time wasted on irrelevant content. Not only that but relevance is the key to engaging training content.
We built a course for office ergonomics that helped employees practice good ergonomics throughout their workday. Good ergonomics looks different for every employee, though.
While you can start with general information about ergonomics, that can only take you so far. If in a class then everyone has to learn about everything the instructor teaches. They have to learn about the ergonomics of working while traveling (even if they don’t travel), at an office hotel desk (even if they don’t go to the office), at home (even if they don’t work from home), and every other ergonimics that isn’t relevant to them.
With digital training, you can let employees choose their workstation type and learn only about that type. That means they aren’t wasting their time learning everything when only specific things are relevant to them.
By not making employees all go through the same training, you are saving them time which directly translates into money saved.
Another example that can’t be done in live training: For a time clock system, some states have specific time clock laws and information. Why make employees from every state learn the same information when some of it only applies to California and Washington?
With digital training, it’s easy to ask employees if they live in either of those states. If they’re not in one of those states then their time shouldn’t be wasted. You could manage that process with multiple training sessions but again, live training is showing how inefficient and how it’s not as effective as digital training.
How Much It Can Save Your Organization
It typically costs more money to create the content for some types of digital training than creating the content for traditional training. That extra cost can easily be minimized the more employees needing to be trained.
That means it’s likely not effective to create a self-paced course for 30 employees. For those training needs it could be just as effective to record the training session and make it available as a video. That could reduce the cost of training for small groups of people even though it’s not as efficient time-wise. But that’s not as important because a lot of people aren’t being trained anyway.
So how much can your organization save?
An exact number is nearly impossible to come by and we haven’t done the research. The cost is so varied that it’s nearly impossible to get an exact number. It depends on how much traditional training would cost, the cost of not doing anything and the cost of digital training. Not to mention company-specific factors such as employee’s average hourly rate.
Then there is the number factor. Savings will vary for each type of training by the number of people being trained. Digital training won’t save you anything if you’re only training 100 people. It’s most effective when training large quantities of employees.
It may not be worth it to venture into more complex and time-saving self-paced training if the number of employees needing to be trained is only 500. It could potentially require 1,000 employees to meet a satisfactory cost saving.
We can give you a theoretical analysis of the number, though, and also point you toward a project we worked on where we converted a virtual session into eLearning. When done for a large number of employees, a self-paced course can save millions of dollars.
For a self-paced course, the time and cost to create it are typically higher than for instructor-led or even virtual instructor-led training. It might cost $15,000 for a 30-minute course (but hopefully it’s shorter in reality!). But, that same content covered in a live session likely would take an hour.
So, you might calculate the cost of training per employee with this equation:
cost to create training / # of employees
So, a course that costs $15,000 to train those 10,000 employees or 15000/10000 would cost about $1.50 per employee. That’s not an exact number because there are infrastructure costs but you get the idea.
For any type of instructor-led training, that equation might be very different. The same number of employees, different costs.
(cost to create training + ((# of employees / capacity of each session) * cost of each session)
As you can see, training those same number of employees could be significantly more costly with that different equation.
So, it might only cost $5,000 to create the training session. But, for each session of the training the cost increases. If each session costs $500 to run and holds 30 employees, with 10,000 employees the total cost would be $171,667, or 5000 +((10000/30)*500) to do the training.
That’s a cost of $17.17 per session vs. the cost of $1.50 for digital training.
The cost of training drops the more employees are trained with digital training whereas with instructor-led training the cost increases.
Pretty impressive, right?
While these numbers are greatly simplified, the fact holds that digital training is cheaper and decreases in cost the more employees that are trained.
Challenges Of Digital Training
No type of training is without challenges. While we are firm believers in the power of digital training, it might not always be the right solution for every type of training. There are times when everyone must be on at the same time. Or, perhaps it’s best to bring them all in the same room.
It’s hard to replicate the energy that happens and the social connections created when employees are brought into the same room when they’re typically not all together. While that energy and those connections are minimal if they always work in the same building, it’s not true if they don’t get to see each other often.
But this is about the challenges of digital training, not the benefits of instructor-led training.
These are some of the most common drawbacks and challenges of digital training.
- If the organization doesn’t have an LMS it can make it difficult to deploy digital training. While the lack of LMS issues can be overcome, it might not be feasible.
- It can be costly to come up with the initial investment to create digital training.
- Some employees might not have a place where they can take digital training. They need a computer but maybe they don’t have a company computer available or computers are limited in number.
- Digital training relies on the internet. Without broadband internet, digital training might not work well.
- The culture of every organization varies, some employee cultures aren’t open to digital training.
- Questions can’t be answered in real-time which means they might get forgotten or not get asked at all.
While nearly every one of these issues can be overcome, some of them cannot or it could take too many resources to overcome. Culture is surprisingly one of the most difficult to overcome. There is no solid way to overcome that issue in little time and you can’t simply throw money at it as you can with the infrastructure.
However, most organizations today are fully capable of having a completely digital workforce as well as training fully digitally. Even if the workforce is entirely in person, it’s often more effective to train them digitally through digital training.
If you’re not inspired to convert all your instructor-led training into asynchronous digital training, we don’t know what will. Okay, maybe you shouldn’t run out and convert all training without a strategy for what will work best and what won’t.
Digital training isn’t the end all be all but it is pretty powerful and will save your organization massive sums of money. For some training needs digital training isn’t the right solution just like instructor-led training isn’t always the best option.
It can be used as a powerful tool for professional development as well as specific on-the-job tasks. Whether you use a self-paced course or go the route of performance support or short microlearning videos, digital training scales well and is an efficient way to train employees while saving money.
We’re a big believer in digital training and the power it has to transform organizations for the better. That’s not because our means of living are based on it, but rather we base our living on it because of how powerful and effective it is.
We specialize in digital training solutions for company technology, but digital training can be powerful for nearly every type of training. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your next project and how we can save your organization money while training employees more effectively.