E-learning is really big in the business world. Nearly every single business (98%) plans to use e-learning somewhere in their organisation to train their staff by 2020. Not-for-profit organisations, on the other hand, tend not to offer as many e-learning opportunities to staff or volunteers.
The main reason for this is that e-learning is often seen as costly and charities need to keep their operating costs as low as possible. However, not-for-profit organisations can really benefit from e-learning software built into their digital workplace and it can help them reduce other costs once the initial investment has been made.
40 hours of continuing professional development per year
In addition, there is a push for charities to offer training opportunities. The National Council of Voluntary Organisations stated that all staff and volunteers should be offered at least 40 hours of training and education every year. This equates to just under one hour per week.
The costs for this can be very expensive, especially if teams of volunteers and staff are spread across a region and not centrally located. This is where e-learning can become the hero of volunteer organisations.
Here are some of the ways that e-learning can be implemented to help charities deliver on the recommended training needs of staff and volunteers.
1. Training on demand
E-learning courses can be stored on a digital system and accessed when the learner has a chance to complete the modules. Therefore, charities don’t have to worry about getting multiple staff and volunteers to one location in order to complete a course at the same time.
Instead, the training can be uploaded and accessed by the learners whenever they like and using a device that suits them. This can be great for volunteers who also have other commitments like work, family and health conditions that can prevent them from attending traditional training events.
2. Training can be completed remotely
Another great benefit of e-learning is that you don’t need everyone to attend one location to complete courses. Many e-learning solutions can be distributed remotely so that all learners can take the course at home or in the organisation’s office.
This makes it much easier to deliver the learning courses, and it will benefit not-for-profit organisations who have offices across the country and find it difficult to gather staff in one place.
3. Training records can be kept more easily
One of the biggest challenges for volunteer organisations is the ability to accurately collect training results. When learning is done ad-hoc, or without proper tests, learners can misunderstand vital information which is then allowed to seep into the work that is completed on behalf of the organisation.
E-learning programs can include tests or assessments, so charity management teams can analyse who has understood the training materials. Therefore, they can ensure that those who might need more support are offered it.
View staff training records to monitor which e-learning courses have been successfully completed
4. Standardises training throughout the charity
Personnel within the voluntary sector can quickly change. This is usually the result of other commitments or staff moving to another position. This can cause issues with standardisation of the quality of services offered.
E-learning offers standardisation throughout an organisation, which is essential if charities want to build a good name for themselves in communities and if they want to get continued funding from government bodies and other funding sources.
5. Changes can be implemented and distributed quickly
Sometimes charities need to change the way operations are run. When these changes occur, it can be very time consuming to retrain staff and volunteers as well as introduce them to the new operating processes.
With e-learning, these challenges become far less problematic. All you need to do is create and distribute a course that introduces, teaches and tests staff and volunteers. This can be much quicker than arranging one or several training sessions and getting various people with different schedules to one location to learn about the new processes.
Create and distribute e-learning courses to your entire staff and volunteer base
6. A quicker enrolment for volunteers
One of the best benefits for a not-for-profit organisation is that e-learning can get volunteers started much quicker. As soon as a volunteer applies for a position, they can be offered the chance to undertake an e-learning course. Once taken, the volunteer can then start working with the charity.
This also helps charities attract and retain candidates who often volunteer their services and then retract their offer because getting started has taken too long.
7. Training costs can be much lower in the long-term
Training costs using e-learning can be much lower for charities once the e-learning software has been implemented. The costs of bringing in a trainer, hiring a room, arranging transport, food, drink and other necessities can actually build up and really stretch budgets.
However, once the development of an e-learning suite has been completed, charities can offer it continuously for very little. Therefore, the organisation can benefit for years with little additional costs, making it far more cost-effective for long-term operations.