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Press Release

Use of E-Learning in Organizations Is Increasing

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ATD research finds that 75 percent of the organizations surveyed made at least one accessibility consideration for individuals with disabilities in their e-learning programs.

(Alexandria, VA) August 11, 2020—E-learning’s use in organizations is on the rise. It currently makes up between 21 and 40 percent of the median organization’s learning portfolio compared to between 1 and 20 percent five years ago, according to Association for Talent Development research.

While the primary factor for using e-learning was to better serve geographically dispersed learners (61 percent), the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing organizations to rethink how they provide learning to their employees, says E-Learning: The Evolving Landscape, ATD research sponsored by BizLibrary. The report defines e-learning as asynchronous, self-paced learning delivered electronically. It is not live online instructor-led learning, such as in a virtual classroom.

Nearly half of respondents (48 percent) cited greater ease at meeting compliance requirements as a top driver for providing e-learning. The benefit is that “people can work it into their schedules to remain compliant,” Heidi Hess Bynum, sales training manager at Bluegrass Cellular, said in an interview for the report. E-learning also can present advantages in terms of tracking individuals’ compliance training activities, updating compliance training to reflect new rules and regulations and reporting information to regulatory bodies.

Other key takeaways from the report include:

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  • Ninety-nine percent of organizations provide e-learning to their employees, compared to 76 percent five years ago. In another five years, 100 percent of the organizations participating in the study expected to offer e-learning.
  • Organizations are most likely to use e-learning for mandatory and compliance training, which 89 percent of respondents cited. Organizations were next-most likely to use e-learning for technical content (including processes and procedures), which was indicated by 72 percent of respondents. Mandatory and compliance content and technical content were also the areas for which organizations considered e-learning to be most effective.
  • Some e-learning best practices associated with being a high-performing organization include using e-learning as a part of blended learning programs, increasing the hours of e-learning employees consume, making e-learning accessible (for persons with disabilities), measuring and evaluating e-learning, and providing branching, personalized, or adaptive e-learning in addition to static e-learning.

Maureen Orey, founder and president of Workplace Learning and Performance Group and also interviewed for the report, pointed to its universal value. She explains the importance of accessibility for e-learning. “Tools designed for one audience will benefit everyone,” she said, drawing a parallel to when the Americans with Disabilities Act started requiring all sidewalks in the United States to have curb cuts (concrete ramps from sidewalks to the street) in the 1990s.

“That was designed for people in wheelchairs, but it really gave any pedestrian who had to deal with wheels—such as mothers with strollers and beer delivery guys—better access to the sidewalk.” Likewise, closed captioning in e-learning may be targeted to employees who are hearing impaired, but other learners will also take advantage of it and benefit from being able to read spoken dialogue in a video.

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A free webcast on this research is scheduled for September 29.

About ATD
The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is the world’s largest professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees, improve performance, and help to achieve results for the organizations they serve. Established in 1943, the association was previously known as the American Society for Training & Development.

ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. ATD supports talent development professionals who gather locally in volunteer-led US chapters and international member networks as well as with international strategic partners.

For more information, visit td.org.

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