10 Advantages of Workplace Distance Learning

2020 will not just be the year that companies around the world made the pivot to remote work. It will also be a time that distance learning gains even more popularity. And while often associated with colleges and universities, more and more professional development courses continue to be offered through distance learning.

Investing in your employees’ continuing education doesn’t only benefit their careers. Professional learning and development have many benefits to your organization. Investing in your employees is investing in your organization.

Although it may seem costly, if done right it can pay dividends in employee retention, productivity, and engagement. A LinkedIn report found that a staggering 94% of people would stay with an organization longer if they provided professional development.

“Great managers choose training that will benefit the individual and the organization.”

Gallup, The Relationship Between Engagement at Work and Organizational Outcomes

According to Gallup, employee engagement and business outcomes, including productivity, are strongly correlated. This is true regardless of industry. A Harvard University talent development consultant puts it this way, “Employees want to feel valued, and the best way to express that value is through investment in the individual.” Harvard found that investing in employee development even decreases employee absenteeism.

According to Gallup, employee engagement and business outcomes, including productivity, are strongly correlated. This is true regardless of industry. A Harvard University talent development consultant puts it this way, “Employees want to feel valued, and the best way to express that value is through investment in the individual.” Harvard found that investing in employee development even decreases employee absenteeism.

The bottom line—professional development doesn’t just benefit your employees—it benefits, well, your bottom line. Organizations with “highly engaged teams” increased profitability by 21%.

Why Choose Distance Learning?

In 2018 67% of companies were already using third-party online or distance learning to train their employees. What will that figure look like by the end of 2020? And why are so many companies embracing distance learning?

In addition to the proven benefits of investing in your employees’ professional development, distance learning has its own benefits and advantages. There is mounting evidence that people may learn more effectively via online or distance courses.

Facilitator-led Learning

Unlike online learning courses, that teach strictly through videos or articles, facilitators lead distance learning classes. That means if someone has a question or is struggling to understand a concept, there is a real human to rely on.

Some people aren’t comfortable raising their hands in a classroom setting. People taking a distance learning course can privately message facilitators or classmates.

More Comfort

This one might be easy to forget or undervalue. Employees taking distance learning classes get to choose where they learn and what they wear when they learn. Have a home office? Great. Love the natural light at your kitchen table? That works too. Do they prefer to learn curled up on a big comfy couch? Whatever makes them the most comfortable.

The important thing for anyone taking a distance learning class is making the environment right for your learning needs.

Increased Accessibility

This is one of the biggest benefits of distance learning. People with disabilities often face more challenges in accessing education and professional development. Disabilities can also be invisible such as dyslexia, autism, or autoimmune diseases. Barriers can prevent people with disabilities from accessing learning institutions or classrooms.

Statistics Canada reports that 50% of young people with a disability need “at least one aid, assistive device, or educational accommodation.” For education to be effective, it must meet the needs of every attendee.

Youth with disabilities often experience bullying at school because of their condition. Almost half of young Canadians with disabilities experience bullying at school. As they transition into their careers, this trauma can negatively impact their future experience of education in classroom environments. Distance learning might be the solution.

Schools and educational institutions are often built in urban centres. Distance learning provides access to education for communities and organizations regardless of location. People in rural areas have the same access to education as people living in Calgary or Toronto.

Physical or Social Distancing

By now, we are all familiar with the measures we’ve taken to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Although commonly called “social distancing,” we prefer to think of it as “physical distancing”—keeping at least two metres away from others. After all, it’s important that we maintain our social ties to friends and family

Your organization doesn’t need to slow down its professional development due to the changes you have made because of COVID-19. Distance learning is the best way to educate your workforce while social distancing measures are in place. It is unknown how long measures will be in place. Embracing distance learning today may provide your organization with the edge to compete.

Personal Preference

This one comes down to, well, personal preference. You may have seen online the memes about introverts and extroverts. Many people enjoy physically working closely with others. At the same time, there are many that don’t feel comfortable in large crowds of strangers. For people who are introverted, distance learning may provide the right learning environment for them to excel.

Sharing Diverse Ideas

Distance learning doesn’t just mean your employees have an expert facilitator to ask questions. It also means access to an often overlooked resource—peers. Don’t forget, classmates can also be a great resource and source of information.

Online learning courses mean limited opportunities to communicate with others. People enrolled in distance learning classes can share ideas and ask questions of their classmates. These conversations can lead to the same learning moments as in-class learning. And with the potential for classmates from different geographies, backgrounds, and industries, class talks often reflect more diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

Opportunities for Interactivity

Distance learning provides great opportunities for classroom participation. Effective facilitators can use a broad range of strategies to teach the material. People interact through class discussions, group work, and group assignments.

No Commute

While commuting is a reality for many people, distance learning means people don’t need to leave their house. This is going to save your employees time and gas money. Less driving also means a lower carbon footprint.

Practise and Develop Different Skills

Participating in distance learning means that as employees learn course material they also develop key soft skills including:

  • Communication
  • Negotiation
  • Organizational skills

We all know someone who hates group work. Maybe you’re that person. But group work and interacting with classmates actually helps people learn. Learning how to communicate and work well with others are important skills to develop for any role or industry.

Networking Opportunities

As with in-class learning, distance learning means meeting new people—just virtually. Employees get to interact and work with people they would not otherwise. There’s potential to make professional contacts that could further their careers or help your business. This is an opportunity for your employees to put their best foot forward as ambassadors of your organization.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of distance learning is that it combines the best of classroom learning with online learning. People get the benefit of an expert facilitator without having to leave their homes.

OSG currently offers our full range of Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) Certification classes as distance learning including; Part 1, Part 2, as well as the JHSC Refresher course. 

You can also read our Distance Learning FAQ.

If you are interested in learning about our full availability of distance, online, and private courses, please contact us at info@osg.ca or toll-free at 1-800-815-9980.

To book a distance learning course today, please click the image below.