Online Training Quickly Gaining Popularity in Corporate America
By Becky Guadagnoli and Jaya Narayana
Online training is quickly becoming the way to go for many companies across the country and in the world. With shrinking training budgets and staff, decentralized employees, and government and corporate mandated training, online training has become the solution that delivers fast, affordable, localized and updated training. Managers are realizing that by utilizing online training programs they are not only lowering training costs, but also providing the most consistent and up-to-date training possible. They no longer have to face difficulties such as scheduling conflicts and travel arrangements, but instead can concentrate on what kind and how much training their employees need. Online training allows large corporations
Two such examples of online training are HyperTV Networks, Inc., who is working with Dallas Independent School District (DISD), and a company included in Training magazine’s Top 100, Fidelity Investments.
HyperTV Networks, Inc. is one example where online training is being used with great success. They are working with one of Texas’ largest school districts, Dallas Independent School District, in making online training work for professionals in this district. This collaboration is happening because the school district thinks the change will improve their professional development program. Additionally, DISD teachers will be better trained in an online environment than with any other training program that could be offered. DISD also thinks that this program will encourage teachers to stay employed with the school district longer, which will in turn improve student learning. The online training will include interactive web pages as well as sites designed for assessment of teachers’ performance. The materials will be automatically updated as new information comes in to keep the teachers up-to-date with the latest information they need.
Another group having great success with online training is Fidelity Investments. Fidelity Investments placed in the Training Top 100, which is an extensive search done by Training magazine every year to find companies through a multi-tiered nomination, application, and interview process. In partnership with WebEx Training Center, Fidelity’s training department has saved $350,000 with just one program. Fidelity’s training group had to devise a way to provide employee training to over 5,000 staff members worldwide. The biggest challenge was that the training staff had been reduced from 26 to just 5 trainers, so implementing online training was not only an idea, but a means to survival. Fidelity’s partners’ needs had to be met in the most cost-effective manner.
This induced development of the Learning Management System (LMS), a blended learning environment that has solid online training capabilities. The training staff combined LMS with their current Learning Content Management System (LCMS). Fidelity’s Manager of Learning Technology, Keith Resseau, said:
Think of it as a giant three-ring binder that holds all of the tools we wanted to train with—web pages, flash content, quizzes, hyperlinks, applications....(interviewed 2005)
According to Resseau (interviewed 2005), Fidelity not only needed the flexibility and ease to use the training tools, but also a way in which to deliver them to their employees. WebEx filled this need for Fidelity’s training department. With Fidelity’s first virtual class in 1999, an return of investment of $20,000 was realized over the cost of live training. In 2005, Fidelity increased that amount to a $350,000 return on just one of their programs. The result of implementing WebEx into Fidelity’s training has reduced their budgeting cycle and increased employee collaboration to resolve issues.
There are hundreds of other companies utilizing online training for the very same reasons as the Dallas Independent School District and Fidelity Investments, but they are far too numerous to name. Companies around the world are realizing the time and money-saving capabilities that online training can provide. The benefits are endless and continue to grow.