Read about online training and software-based programs.
Online training is a convenient way for employees to learn while remaining at work. This type of training usually involves software-based programs installed on a computer network or available at a third-party Web site. Online training can also be conducted off site at a school run by a third-party resource. As technologies emerge and rapidly evolve, businesses and their employees need to keep pace with these changes. Upgrading employees' technological skills can help established businesses remain competitive.
Control Data Corporation is often credited as an online employee training pioneer, developing its PLATO education platform in the 1960s. One of the first and largest online training programs is offered by GoLearn.gov for U.S. government agency employees.
Today's online training courses are typically structured with accessible teaching reference materials, informal pop quizzes and formal testing or a final exam. Common online testing questions can be structured as multiple choice, true/false, fill-in-the-blank or even essays. Online training program styles can be simple and text-based or they can include more sophisticated presentations employing Flash animations and audio-video content.
The online employee training instructor role can vary. Instructors can serve as course architects or authors, course navigators or guides, traditional course lecturers, teacher-to-student individual mentors and/or testing administrators.
Employers may choose to create their own employee e-learning programs using authoring tools provided by training companies. For example, www.learn.com develops and sells tools that easily create Flash-based interactive courses that include quizzes, tests, learning games and simulations. Even giant technology companies offer online training courses and platforms; for example, IBM and its Lotus Learning Management System.
Common online employee training objectives include:
There are many questions for employers to ask before launching online employee training programs, such as:
The main disadvantage of online training is that, like all emerging technologies, computer networks can experience a variety of problems that could make the experience more trouble than its worth.
The main advantage of online training is that course work can be easily and immediately updated to accommodate business technology and operation changes; also, mistakes in the materials can be quickly corrected. Another advantage is that learning materials can be accessed in bits from a variety of online delivery platforms (mobile and otherwise) when needed from anywhere.