Custom eLearning Development

The Most Effective Uses of E-Learning, Part 3

Readers of this blog know that the focus is on e-learning with an emphasis on business.  We develop e-learning applications for businesses not for academics.  This post is the Third in a Series titled The most effective uses of E-Learning based on experiences with our clients.  These use cases are presented based on the business result they achieved for our clients.

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Software Training

Software products can be complex and have a steep learning curve, using e-learning as tool for software simulations and training is one of the most effective uses of e-learning in a business environment.  Software products have a wide spectrum of uses and applications, which is why the flexibility of e-learning is such a great training tool for software.  There are three primary areas where e-learning shines as a software training tool.  The first is the ability to work hands on with the product, second its use as a job aid and finally its ability to create a powerful value added service or revenue tool with customers.

Complex software must be learned hands on, simply reading about it or listening to a lecture will not suffice.  Expertly crafted e-learning courseware designed around the product allows for hands on learning.  The ability to simulate actual screens and input data in a consequence free environment provides users with piece of mind along the learning curve.  The ability to include step by step tutorials through voice, on-screen cues and text on-screen provide user engagement based on their specific learning style.

Learning never stops, and there is no situation where the initial training period will be left without ongoing questions.  Tactical, bite sized e-learning modules designed to be used as a job aid ensure the user has assistance along the way as the navigate through the live application in their daily work environment.  Simple tutorials built around the daily application of  software provides the user with a “live” resource when needed.

If you are a business providing software solutions to other businesses e-learning presents a huge opportunity for your business to provide value added services and potentially add an additional passive revenue stream for your business.  Customer satisfaction is the ultimate goal when delivering software solutions for your clients.  Their ability to effectively use your product to meet their business objectives will determine its success.  This make training crucial.  When clients are not properly trained on software solutions they get frustrated and eventually stop using the solution, or move to a competitor’s product.  By providing an on-demand e-learning solution as an on-boarding tool and for ongoing training and job aid you create sticky customer relationships.  Additionally, exceptionally good training can be viewed as an asset worth paying for as as add on service to annual maintenance contracts creating an additional passive income stream for your business.

Software training and simulations are by far one of the most effective uses for e-learning technology.  The flexibly of the e-learning medium provides unlimited hands on training tools, ongoing job aids and can provide an additional revenue source for software companies.

Sex Sells, but so does E-Learning

We have all heard the old adage, sex sells.  While that me be true, sex may not have the ability to generate incremental revenue and solidify customer relationships as well as e-learning.  This may come as a bit of a surprise so let me explain.  Every company selling a product or service has educational material available to their customers, but are they realizing the potential of that material to expand their business model and develop stickier customer relationships?

A fundamentally sound e-learning platform developed around your business and your customers can be a huge differentiator in the marketplace and most importantly could be an unrealized revenue source.  Let’s look at a software business as an example.  Company A is selling an enterprise software solution to mid-sized companies.  There is a certain about of ramp up and training time required to implement their solution, as well as ongoing support calls.  Chances are this is being handled by a small staff initially to handle installation, initial training either in person or via online meeting.  Ongoing support is probably handled by a 800 number help desk, support email system or FAQ database.  On the surface the systems are in place, and by most standards this is an acceptable practice in the software industry, but leveraging that internal knowledge base and transforming it into customer focused e-learning platform could open the floodgates to incremental revenue and better customer relationships!  All of the internal knowledge, manuals, trainers, webinars should be transformed into a tactical, engaging and interactive online training curriculum of courses that is on-demand 24/7 for your customers to have all the answers to their questions with real-time tracking, scoring and possibly even product certifications!  This type of online content delivery could drastically reduce ongoing support and internal manpower, while increasing the image and quality of your training product.  It also opens the door to up sell subscription based access to your world-class customer training system, providing a real return on investment.

If you read my post about the blurred lines between training and marketing, you would know that the training system you built to educate your customers may be the best way to market to and engage prospects searching for your company’s solution.  The needs of your prospects and customers only very by degree not kind.

E-learning is a powerful tool for education in both the academic and professional world.  Why not leverage its power in your business.  It could be the differentiator in your product or service, help generate more revenue and create stickier customer relationships.