5 Reasons on the Business Case for Online Training


It used to be easy to jump on plane and attend a professional development training course somewhere in the world.

Now, even my mother-in-law, a self-pronounced technophobe, prefers to see patients on Zoom at this point.

And she hated it the first time she tried it.

Not that I blame her.

At a virtual conference I recently attended on one of the new online event platforms, I sat through the keynote thinking the experience was going to be awful.

Three days later, just after it ended, I took off my sport coat and walked into my bedroom and thought it terrific.

No airports. No front desk. Just my bed and my wife. Nice.

At this point, online training has emerged as not just the most cost-effective way of delivering training.

It’s also the most efficient way to teach knowledge workers applied skills.

For a decade, I traveled the globe leading software onboarding and user training sessions.

Everyone would show up with a laptop.

We’d meet at a conference center where the increased cost of wifi was on par with the increased cost of a Snickers bar at a movie theater, making you feel like you have to pay ransom for internet access.

SXSW understood that was a problem a decade ago and brought in enough capacity to provide free broadband for everyone.

In addition to earning a community of raving fans, the social media shares from attendees more than paid for the investment in the visibility, credibility, and influencer they received from all the tweets, grams, and snaps they got on shared media.

As digital leaders in all categories continue to outperform their peers, beginners, and fiscally conservative organizations are realizing that the promise of elearning is improving retention while lowering costs.

Elearning is, as other technological innovations have been, another productivity windfall.  A way to do more with less. And a way to extend the visibility of the organization as a byproduct of doing your job.

Here’s how online training improves training KPIs for less.

Better Time Management

Forget about the cost of travel and lodging.  “Time off the job is the first cost of professional training,” says Mark Lambertson of Certilearn. 

The problem with instructor-led training is it’s linear. Everyone brings different knowledge with them to the seminar.

They have to sit through what they know already to get to the good stuff. 

Online social media training can be chunked up into bite-sized nuggets and employees can focus on what they don’t know and avoid sitting through what they know already.

“A six-hour class can be delivered online in as little as three hours, and with better retention rates,” says Jim Recker, product specialist at Citrix GoToTraining.


Even the keenest mind shuts down after 4 to 5 hours of new information.

But since it’s not economical to send an employee to an off-site training for 2 hours a day for 6 days, they get fire hosed with new information for 6 hours a day.

None of it is recorded, so they must write everything down themselves.

Try that while you’re learning advanced online social networking best practices. 

Online social media training is prerecorded, so they can focus on learning the key concepts, and if they miss something, they can rewind and watch as many times as they like.


There’s just no need to invest a subject matter expert’s productivity in delivering the same information repeatedly when it can be recorded and delivered on demand.

“When you’ve got a limited amount of contact time between instructor and student, you want to use it for the most meaningful purpose. And it’s not the presentation of information.

It’s guiding people when they’re making mistakes, giving them feedback, helping them understand the consequences of their mistake, appraise their successes and know how well they’re doing,” says Michael W. Allen, Chairman and CEO of Allen Interactions.


Whether they’re virtual or live, instructor led trainings require the assembly of the group.

So when new employees are on-boarded, they have to wait until the next training before acquiring those skills. 

Online social media training can be delivered anytime, anywhere on any device.

After nearly ten years leading social media training and digital marketing seminars for clients like Boeing, Johnson & Johnson, Toyota, the U.S. Dept. of State, the United States Marine Corps, and UCLA, I created 20 online social media training courses to make them available to a broader audience for a fraction of what they cost in the real world.

I’m also experimenting with adding virtual instructor-led sessions as part of my online social media training courses, so participants can get questions answered and receive live mentoring from a marketing coach, after they’ve gone through the on-demand courseware.

What is your experience with online training? Are you using it to train your people?

What if you could count on your colleagues to like, retweet, and one your shares?  How much further would your message be seen and heard?

And what if everyone in your organization used social media for all public communications?

If you could drive adoption on that scale, your organization would naturally transfer public intelligence to the social web, where it could be discovered through search and shared by others through social.

That is the real promise of social media. Not just as a marketing channel. But as a communications channel that leaves behind a trail of digital breadcrumbs that leads back to you.


Image by wafflesncream

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