Learn Your Way to Greater Profits
I find it interesting that teleclasses and online seminars are
increasing in fervor these days. Aside from the savings such
courses incur (over traditional classrooms and board rooms),
there are many other benefits for organizations. Some include
increased speed, control and automation of content delivery.
I also believe that teleclasses are part of this trend towards
the humanization of the web. Why? When compared to traditional
forms of education, whose level of interactivity may often be
limited, the web allows for more. For example, to the student,
and beyond mere content delivery that any standard website
could offer, online classes offer the following benefits:
Case in point:
- Interactivity between teachers and students (such as with
the help of web communities and peer-to-peer applications
to facilitate delivery, including instant messaging, file
transfers, chat rooms and streaming media presentations);
- Faster learning curves and stronger course retention (in
fact, according to Dr. Ronald Marks, marketing professor
at the University of Missouri, studies claim that people
learn up to 200% faster, pay 26% more attention, retain
38% more and reduce their learning time by 25-40%, since
multimedia presentations engage all the senses); and,
- Enhanced control and time management (such as with email
reminder and notification services, as well as around the
clock access to course content, assignments and schedule
of events, even one's grades in real-time) -- there's no
longer the need to maintain notes or a tight schedule.
I currently teach IT marketing at Algonquin College, which uses an Internet-based collaboration software called "BlackBoard" (see http://www.blackboard.com/)
Even big guns like Harvard, New York and Stanford universities
are going digital by enrolling students in e-learning.
In fact, in a related TheStandard.com article, a recent study
revealed, "Nearly three-quarters of colleges and universities
offered online courses last year, up from 48 percent."
But these statistics do not account for: 1) "Brickless" cyber-
colleges, like http://www.ecollege.com/, 2) course-oriented
sites, like Italian language course http://cyberitalian.com/,
and 3) online staff training programs within corporations.
According to research by Massachusetts market research firm
IDC, the portion of the e-learning market, stimulated largely
by IT-related training, is expected to grow from $1.7 billion
in 2000 to $5.3 billion in 2003 (read the related article at
Nevertheless, what do all of these things mean, especially to
your small business? There are at least three things of note:
First, realize that training, both you and your staff, helps
to improve morale and productivity. But according to research
conducted by the American Society for Training and Development
at http://www.astd.org/, training also increases ROI. Entitled
"Profiting from Learning," the study revealed a link between a
firm's training expenditures and its total stockholder return.
Second, you can grow your business by constantly updating your
skills and knowledge. Since time is a rare commodity, learning
at your own pace, in the privacy and convenience of your home
or office, frees you up to do what you need to do: Promotion.
Third, your organization can implement web courses for, among
other things, delivering tutorials on technical support and
customer service matters, such as courses on ways to make the
best use of your product or service. Needless to say, you can
also use the online seminar model as its own profit center.
(Coupled with niche marketing, companies offering e-learning
programs dedicated exclusively to specific industries are, in
my opinion, poised for explosive growth.
To learn more about the benefits of e-learning, online courses
and seminars being offered, as well as examples of ebusinesses
implementing web-based training for either staff or customers,
see these links (start with http://e-learning.start4all.com/,
which is an e-learning portal offering tons of resources):
In conclusion, keep in mind that the web not only simplifies
the learning process but also reduces overhead, increases ROI
and improves productivity. In fact, it's a marketing strategy.
Continuing education, now being more accessible, may be one
way (and in some cases perhaps the only way) to remain a step
ahead of the competition in the new, hypercompetitive economy.
About the author:
Michel Fortin is the "Success Doctor," a marketing consultant
dedicated to turning businesses into powerful magnets. Visit
http://SuccessDoctor.com/ to receive a FREE copy of his ebook,
"The 10 Commandments of Power Positioning." Need a speaker for
your next gig? Need a critique on your sales copy or marketing
strategy? Free quote at http://Successdoctor.com/services.htm.
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