In itself, online training is a cost-saving measure, but sometimes, you need to cut expenses even further. Are there any ways to trim spending without lowering the quality of your course? Founder of The eLearning Industry’s Network, Christoper Pappas shares his thoughts in this special guest post.
Online Training Solutions On A Restricted Budget
Online training systems are cost-effective in a variety of ways. By training digitally, you eliminate the cost of accommodation, transport, training venues, and learning materials. This resolves nearly 70% of your budgetary problems. But what happens when even that 30% needs to be culled? Is it possible to tighten your belt without making your online course completely useless? Yes, it is, but you need creative problem-solving. Here are some suggestions to quickly reduce your online training expenses in the event of an unexpected budget cut.
1. Conduct A Course Check-Up
You’ve probably been using your online training software for a while, so as an administrator, you know it fairly well. Look at it thoroughly for relevance. If you have access to the online course developers, take a look at the initial storyboard. See what sections you can remove, what portions you can merge, and which areas you can adjust. Reducing the digital size of the online course could lower your web hosting expenses. So, for example, you could cut down several pages of prose, replacing it with an audio recording or a video clip.
2. Omit Outdated Online Training Material
In compliance courses, for instance, some lessons are no longer relevant. Take them out, and if needed, replace them with condensed, updated versions. These are sometimes more concise. Just an example, in the past, it took 3 days for a check to clear. But today, it can be cashed instantly. In your corporate scenario, there are similar situations, so identify them and adjust your online training accordingly. Maybe it used to take 5 days for an intern to learn filing codes. Now they can use keyword searches to pull something up in minutes. Take the manual filing content out of the online course, saving time, storage space, and man-hours.
3. Switch To Mobile
Desk-based training modules require every employee training participant to have a designated work station. Or maybe they have to use computers in rotation. Each of those computers requires maintenance, updates, software and it all costs money. Meanwhile everyone already owns a smartphone. Opt for app-based training that needs no additional hardware. It’s cheaper. The main cost is a per-user fee, which is significantly less than computer-based training, server prices, or software purchase.
4. Consider Open Source Materials
Many online training systems work on a subscription basis. You probably pay every month or every year. It could cost a few hundred dollars, but that cost can pile up. Open source software doesn’t need any licensing fee, so it will eliminate cash costs. Keep in mind that they’re more labor-intensive though. So while the “cash price” will be zero, it will take a lot more time to customize. This diverts your techies from other tasks, and you may have to hire or outsource specialists. So while it lowers costs in one area, it may shoot them up elsewhere.
5. Switch To JIT Online Training
Just-In-Time online training is a handy way to save both time and money. Instead of using a formal training course, develop a reference online training library. Populate it with eLearning infographics, video tutorials, and how-to guides. You could generate them using an in-house LMS or derive them from your online training course. This way, employees don’t have to sign up for a dedicated course. They can simply log into the library and pull up the online training material they need. The format should be easy to absorb, something they can learn in minutes and refer to again and again. Bear in mind that some subject matter still requires a more structured or comprehensive approach.
6. Employ Social Media
Most of us already use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, etc., both for corporate and personal use. They’re essentially free, unless you’re running an ad campaign or sponsoring content. Groups can be a useful online training tool. Create closed communities for your staff. You can use them to brainstorm, share videos, spark discussions, and escalate issues. Keep the groups interactive though, otherwise, members will ignore the proffered materials. Then all these online training resources will go to waste.
7. Use Third-Party Resources
There are plenty of online resources you can incorporate into your course design to reduce development expenses. For example, YouTube videos that double as task tutorials. Or online guides that employees can use to build their skills and troubleshoot work-related problems. Just make sure they are free to use or credit the source when necessary. You may have to attribute the creator to avoid copyright infringement. But it’s a small price to pay, given that you can still offer employees top-notch online training resources without going over budget.
8. Ramp Up The Live Events
Instead of hosting multiple on-site seminars or workshops, move everything online. Host regular live events and record them for later viewing. You can even add the recorded sessions to your online training library or repurpose them for your JIT repository. This also gives employees the chance to ask questions while attending the event and provide eLearning feedback. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about spending a small fortune on travel and site rental fees. Everything is hosted on a video conferencing platform and you can keep your employees up-to-date from anywhere in the globe.
Nobody likes L&D budget cuts, but they can’t always be avoided. When they occur, it’s a challenge to trim expenses without compromising quality. In the online training sphere, audit your paid online courses to see what can be eliminated. Take out irrelevant content, and trim equipment costs by migrating to mobile training. Look into open-source products and develop Just-In-Time online training modules. Incorporate free social media tools and push your team to actively participate. With some forethought, you can reinvent your online training program while still keeping it affordable, fun, and effective.
Employee training is an ongoing process that has to stay on a high level no matter the challenges the organization faces. If you want to find more helpful tips on how to keep your employees hooked on your L&D program, read 7 Tips To Make Continual Training A Top Priority For Your Employees and discover how to motivate and inspire your workforce to keep learning.