Remote learning has been around for decades, but until the recent pandemic, the corporate world hadn’t embraced the concept. Webinar Vet, Anthony Chadwick, explores how companies can boost their eco-consciousness, reducing investment in training – without compromising on results.
Staff development is the cornerstone of any decent employer. Giving your employees the opportunity to learn and grow is an excellent way to retain staff and help them to gain skills and knowledge that benefit both the individual and your business.
Typically, staff training takes place in a training room – sometimes in-house, sometimes in an external venue along with the associated costs. It’s easy to overlook all the costs, but they include:
- Trainer’s fee
- Trainer’s food, accommodation and travel
- Venue costs, including room hire, tea/coffee, food and, if it’s more than one day, accommodation
- Travel for delegates
- Cost of delegates being absent from work
But what about the cost to the environment? That’s harder to calculate, but you’re looking at the impact of whatever mode of travel everyone involved in the training programme used to get to and from the venue, plus the energy that is expended to keep heating, lighting and technology up
Both financial and eco-costs reduce if you have an in-house training facility, but they aren’t totally eliminated. So is there a better way?
Remote learning takes centre stage
Online training isn’t new but was seen as a less valuable alternative until the option to meet face-to-face was removed. It’s a learning method we’ve been promoting to veterinarians and vet practice nurses for more than a decade. It works extremely well and ticks both financial and eco boxes.
Now people are familiar with online conferencing it’s become more accepted as a means of training and has many benefits.
1: No travel required
Neither the trainer nor the delegates need to leave their desks. That means a saving in time, cost and carbon footprint. Delegates can attend from their desks or use a meeting room if they need a quieter place.
2: No food and drink costs
When people are working from their desks they can get tea, coffee, snacks and lunch from their usual sources. Even if the company offers to cover the costs there are two advantages – the cost is lower than professionally catered food and the wastage is usually less. When people buy their own choice of food, they usually eat it. No picky eaters who leave things they don’t like to be thrown out or leftover trays of buffet food that can’t be reused.
3: Lower training fees
Online training typically costs less than face-to-face training – even when the same material is being delivered. This is the case even when it’s live training being delivered by a professional trainer to a dedicated group. However, the cost reduces even more when you access pre-recorded training where modules are recorded once and then accessed many times by thousands of learners.
When learners are studying for a qualification the content they need to cover is part of a set syllabus, so working through a series of online modules will deliver what they need. If these are supplemented by live Q&A sessions at regular intervals, it’s a much more efficient way for people to learn.
It also allows the learners to choose when they learn so they can study early morning or late evening (or any time in between) if that suits their needs.
5: Wider reach
When employees are in a variety of locations, whether in different towns or different countries, they can all still access the training when it’s online. Gone are the days of multinationals sending their trainers flying around the world to deliver training in different countries. That’s got to be a big win on the environmental front, as well as a massive reduction in costs financially.
Also with smart technology, it’s possible to deliver training online in different languages.
6: Better timekeeping
While some people are habitually late, there are fewer excuses when all you have to do is to click a link on your computer screen. It’s hard to blame the traffic for late arrival at training!
A different approach to management
When your business embraces remote training it needs a change of mindset and a change of management thinking. Training programmes need to be valued by everyone, the delegate, their colleagues and particularly their manager. Whereas most people wouldn’t walk into a training room to ask a delegate a work-related question, it can be easier to distract someone in a virtual session. It’s the manager’s job to educate everyone on the ground rules relating to online learning.
It’s equally important that the manager attaches value to their team members’ learning and doesn’t suggest that time allocated to learning is displaced by ‘more important’ tasks.
Having said that, our experience is that remote learning works extremely well and delivers educational and financial benefits as well as a significant reduction in the company’s carbon footprint.