Last updated: 13.10.11

Businesses 'can experience many benefits from e-learning'

A range of businesses and sectors can benefit from online learning, according to one educational expert.

The International E-Learning Association (IELA) suggests that there are distinguished and significant benefits of education using a virtual platform to improve skills and learning for adult learners and those wishing to take on new qualifications.

Founded in 2007, the IELA aims to serve as a catalyst for the development and exchange of e-learning information among universities, educational institutions, government agencies, funding agencies, conferences and businesses.

The range of training and skills available to people who want to learn is endless and adult learners can embrace new areas in an easy and flexible manner, according to the association.

Furthermore, the IELA cites many benefits of opting for expanding knowledge through the virtual classroom.

Dr David Guralnick, president of the IELA, said: "The traditionally cited benefits of e-learning - such as savings in travel and instructor time and anytime, anywhere access for self-paced courses - are certainly legitimate. But when e-learning is designed well, the benefits can be much greater in terms of job performance improvement, employee engagement and motivation, and company cost savings due to improved performance."

He added that a well-designed e-learning simulation puts the learner in realistic situations and lets them practice true-to-life tasks. Dr Guralnick gave the example of a customer service learning experience where the user would be engaged and motivated by the task at hand, facing certain relevant problems and can make mistakes without impacting the business.

Such models could help a learner understand not only the task at hand but the wider implications of the sector too.

Dr Guralnick also mentioned that social networking could create a buzz around the e-learning environment where people can share their knowledge and experience with other users.

"Simulation is just one e-learning method, but definitely one that provides a range of advantages," he said.

The IELA seeks to share and promote policies, procedures, and practices with respect to all matters regarding the use of e-learning.