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Implementation and Impact of Learning Management System A Case Study

1. Overview People are the key strength and vital asset for any organization. An organization with knowledgeable, skilled and smart people can be more productive and competitive compared to the organizations with people having obsolete knowledge and outmoded skills. In todays hyper-competitive market, business enterprises across the globe are turning to cutting-edge technologies to increase the efficiency and productivity of their employees and overall effectiveness of the business. To achieve competitive advantage in their industry, creating a sound knowledge and skilled work force has become critically essential. For this, many organizations have a separate training and development team or department that focus on providing periodical trainings and facilitating employees to learn new skills and knowledge. To make their training more efficient and cost-effective, corporate training managers are constantly looking various options and utilize the power of technology. Some of the factors that demands business enterprises to adopt better means of training and development for employees include: Rapidly changing and increasing demands of the global world and economy Maturing and hyper-competitive market Increasing demand and pressure on corporate resources Meet international standards and quality to remain competitive Increasing diverse employee population with different professional expectations and needs Increasing demand for accountability from a wide variety of industry stakeholders Rapid shifts in technology Recruitment and retention of talented and skilled people, etc.

2. eLearning eLearning is the learning process that harnesses the power of technology and helps overcome the limitations of time and distance. Its application in the areas of education and training has transformed the way teach, learn and share knowledge today. It has enhanced the learning and training process, and greatly increased the effectiveness of acquiring and managing knowledge. eLearning is less expensive than traditional classroom instruction. In addition, many expenses booking training facilities, travel costs for employees or trainers, plus employee time away from the job are greatly reduced. 3. Benefits of eLearning in Business Enterprises 3.1 eLearning Increases the Knowledge Retention Mayers research (Simon, 2006) found that information retention increased by 89% if the information was enhanced by multimedia eLearning when measured against the same piece of information presented as a paragraph in a book. eLearning using rich multimedia is said to have two key functions in enhancing information retention. Firstly, information retention is enhanced by the affective function of multimedia that is, the ability to sustain the learners interest, improve motivation and stimulate the learners senses. Secondly, multimedia has a cognitive function, which improves learner retention by assisting knowledge transfer and developing internal networks of knowledge. With multimedia rich eLearning: Employees learn faster, easier and remember more Employees can more accurately recall what they learned over a longer period of time Employees are better able to transfer what they learned to actual performance Employees show about 40 % increase in learning retention and improved attitudes about management and jobs.

3.2 eLearning Reduces Travel Costs Travel and Entertainment (T&E) cost is one of the huge costs involved in training for many corporations. As corporations become more global, the cost of moving and housing employees can only increase. Numerous studies have shown that eLearning can cut the travel and entertainment cost associated with training by at least 50% (Hall 1997) Other studies have shown that if implemented properly these costs can be reduced by at least 80% (Hemphill 1997)

3.3 eLearning Reduces Employees Time Away From Work It was found and confirmed by many studies (Fletcher 1990, Halls - 1997) that computer-based require significantly less time than instructor-lead training. These studies indicated that the reduction in time ranged form 20-80% with 40-60% being the most common time saved. 3.4 eLearning is Cost Effective and Cost Saving Brandon Hall, an industry watcher, acknowledges that companies experience a 40%-60% cost saving when comparing instructor-led education with technology delivered courses. It is not uncommon for development costs for multimedia to be four times that of traditional classroom instruction. But as the number of employees or students increases, the cost per employee is dramatically reduced. This is the cost efficiency of eLearning; it can reach more people in a shorter amount of time than traditional learning. 3.5 eLearning Meet the Needs of Geographically Diverse Employees eLearning is flexible. It is self-paced and can occur any time and any place. As such, it is ideally suited for training employees who are dispersed globally. E- Learning is easily modified (especially Web delivered content) thus making it more adaptable for translation and change of content for different cultures and languages. 3.6 eLearning Provides More Consistent Course Delivery Many studies on corporate trainings found that an average delivery variance of 59% between presentations by classroom instructors. Also, because the class is presented live, there is no opportunity for the instructor to review his/her performance and to make changes. In contrast eLearning is very similar to a performance that is filmed or taped. The instructor can review, edit and reedit their presentation until it is just right. In addition no matter how many times the class or learning module is presented it will not change or vary. Each employee will get exactly the same material no matter when and how many times they take the course. This leads to very consistent delivery of material that is not possible in a traditional classroom approach. 3.7 eLearning Can Offer More Adaptive and Personalized Instruction Anyone who has ever taught in a traditional classroom setting knows how difficult it is to give individual instruction while at the same time meeting the needs of the class as a whole. Instructors must pace their presentations for the majority of learners in the class. If some employees are having a difficult time mastering a new concept, it is virtually impossible for the instructor to know about this unless they speak up. Without knowing this, the instructor cannot adjust his/her pace. In addition, even if the instructor is aware of these employees having difficulty mastering a concept, he/she still needs to pace the instruction for the majority of the class. This inability to pace instruction to each students needs is a

major drawback to traditional instruction. It penalizes both bright and slower employees and is inefficient. This is not the case with eLearning. Using eLearning employees can learn at the pace that suits them best, at the time that suits them best while getting the information that they need. 3.8 eLearning Yields Better Learning Results Than Traditional Learning Studies by Fletcher (1990), Wright (1993) and Adams (1992) have found significant differences between eLearning and traditional classroom instruction. They reported the following results: elearning produced a 60% faster learning curve as compared to traditional instruction; Employees had up to 50% higher content retention for eLearning over traditional classroom instruction; eLearning employees demonstrated 56% greater gains in learning than did employees who were taught by traditional instruction; Consistency of learning was up to 60% better for students taught through eLearning over those taught by traditional methods; Consistency of the presentation of material was 40% higher for eLearning Training compression was up to 70% faster for eLearning than it was for traditional classroom training.

3.9 Training Makes Employees More Productive For over ten years research has been conducted to determine if employees receiving ongoing training are more productive than those who do not. In a comprehensive study Forman (1994) reported that employees who received ongoing training work more efficiently than did their counterparts who received no ongoing training. Forman stated that as a result of this increase in efficiency the following occurred: The cycle time for manufacturing was significantly decreased; Sales significantly increased; Absenteeism decreased; Product quality significantly increased with less waste due to error and Reduction in accidents and lost time injuries.

3.10 Training Results in Less Employee Turnover Turnover costs include, but are not limited to; hiring expenses, training expenses, productivity losses and internal resources applied to dealing with the termination and hiring process. There are also soft costs associated with employee turnover. Soft costs have more to do with the impact of a revolving door on other employees.

Other employees often have to pick up the additional workload until a new employee is hired and trained. This can lead to morale problems. One way to decrease turnover is to provide comprehensive and ongoing training. A thorough review of the literature by McNamara (1999) found that on-going training significantly reduced employee turnover. 3.11 Customer Satisfaction Increases With Employee Training The Customer Service Institute estimates that it costs five times as much capital to acquire a new customer as it costs to service an existing one. A study by Bain Consulting (Business Week, August 1992) demonstrated that increasing customer retention by as little as 2% had the same effect on profits as cutting costs by 10%. Forman (1994) while summarizing the benefits of multimedia training cites several case studies that show an average gain of 10-15% in customer satisfaction and retention following multimedia training in customer service skills. He further reports an increase in speed of service to customers as well as a decrease in customer complaints following training. 4. Impact of eLearning Major Corporations Experience 4.1 United States Air Force The United States Air Force reported an increase in the ability to diagnose and repair aircraft systems correctly the first time by more than 80 %. They also reported a decrease in "no fault found" part replacements of 5 %, which represents millions of dollars in parts cost and downtime savings. Air Force managers also reported increased ability of more technicians to solve the toughest problems--which alleviated difficult staffing problems and downtime. Managers also reported on the improved morale and confidence of technicians. 4.2 National Information Infrastructure The Clinton administration estimated that the National Information Infrastructure has enabled 30% more learning in 40% less time at 30% less cost and is therefore cost-effective. 4.3 Union Pacific Railroad Union Pacific Railroad reported an increase in bottom-line performance--on-time delivery of goods--of over 35 %, which equated to millions of dollars in increased revenues and savings. It also reported that learners showed a 40 % increase in learning retention and improved attitudes about management and jobs. With CBT, Union Pacific was able to implement new company-wide processes 12 months earlier than would have been possible with traditional training. 4.4 Omega Corporation Omega Corporation reported as much as a 100 % improvement in "hit ratio" on sales calls, more confidence in making sales calls, improvement of customer commitments from 33 to 93 % and achievement of nearly 50 % of the yearly sales goal in the quarter immediately after training.

4.5 American Express American Express stated that the real return on investment (ROI) CBT lies in the use of simulations and real-life scenarios to teach thinking processes or mental models. The spokesperson suggested that it was easy to measure the dollars saved when a fraudulent claim is not paid out because a novice representative has learned to think like a pro. The number of fraudulent claims that get past phone representatives has been significantly reduced. While training is not the universal answer for all human performance issues, it can provide viable solutions to many of the new challenges that face corporations. Well-constructed computer based training, if employed appropriately, can yield significant improvements in learning and performance. This positively affects ROI and significantly improves a corporations competitive advantage. 4.6 IBM IBM saved US $200 million in 1999, providing five times the learning at one-third the cost of their previous methods. 4.7 Ernst and Young Using a blend of Web-based (80 percent) and classroom (20 percent) instruction, Ernst and Young reduced training costs by 35 percent while improving consistency and scalability. 4.8 Rockwell Collins Rockwell Collins reduced training expenditures by 40 percent with only a 25 percent conversion rate to Web-based training. 4.9 Others Brandon Hall (1995) reviewed a number of studies on multimedia training and return on investment. The studies involved such companies as Intel, American Airlines, Pacific Gas and Electric, IBM, Bethlehem Steel, Bell South, Steelcase, and Pizza Hut. In all studies reviewed the results indicated significant increases in the quality of learning when computer based training was compared with traditional classroom instruction.

5. Summary & Conclusion eLearning offers practical ways of dealing with some of the challenges in training and can help shift corporation role from that of teacher to a guide and facilitator of employees' learning. Studies conducted by the military, education and industry cite a 15-25% increase in learning with significant increases in retention and transfer of training. In addition to generally positive economic benefits, other advantages such as convenience, standardized delivery, self-paced learning, and variety of available content, have made eLearning a high priority for many corporations. Much of the discussion about implementing eLearning has focused on the technology, but as Driscoll (2001b) and others have reminded us, eLearning is not just about the technology, but also many human factors.