In today’s fast-paced, constantly changing business environment, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are increasingly relying on training to improve the respective skill sets of their employees. Online training also known as e-Learning has emerged as a business-critical tool to train employees and management quickly, efficiently, and conveniently.
Colleges and universities were the early adopters of e-Learning with the emergence of Internet-based courses. Then, fully accredited online universities such as University of Phoenix emerged and transformed the delivery of college curriculum. The popularity of e-Learning and online training is not surprising. SMBs are realizing that expanding employee skills through online training will only help improve productivity, reduce costs, and position them to keep pace with competition and customer demands.
As further reinforcement of the need for online training, Bersin & Associates, an organization with extensive experience in e-Learning, found in a recent report that corporate training budgets in the United States increased on average by seven percent in 2006 – the largest increase in five years.
According to the report, most corporations are investing more in training for three primary reasons:
• Economic growth in many regions is putting greater demands on training.
• Talent shortages are being felt in all industry sectors and across almost all geographies. Consequently, companies are putting more emphasis on hiring and training new personnel and on training current employees for new roles.
• Increased focus on talent management. Corporations are increasingly recognizing that learning and development is part of an integrated talent management process that includes recruiting, performance management, leadership development, and succession planning.
The rise of corporate online training has become a multibillion dollar business globally and continues to rapidly grow. According to recent IDC forecasts, the e-Learning market, which was about $7 billion in 2004, is likely to witness an exponential growth and touch the $28 billion mark by 2008. The global market for corporate e-Learning will grow nearly 30 percent compounded yearly over the next four years.