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Seb Anthony

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e-learning vs a team of trainers… Just how many trainers is enough?


The employer I work for has 960 employees all spread across a fairly small geographical area.

I am the only training person for the organisation and thus can't deliver all the training and development to meet the needs of my employees.

I am currently putting together a business case for implementing an e-learning approach to T&D and needs some facts and figures to make my CEO and Directors take e-learning seriously.

Any organisations who have implemented e-learning... what are the business benefits?

How many training posts (as an average) should an organisation with 960 staff employ?

Any help, advice and in particular statistical information would be very gratefully received.

If you are an e-learning software / hardware provider then please don't respond I am looking for evidence from organisations using e-learning (not selling it).

You can contact me via email on [email protected]
Ian Stone

4 Responses

  1. e-Learning Vendors Actually Have Benefit…

    There are a lot of ‘e-Learning Vendors’ on this site – many give free advice and help to a number of people each year.

    All of us (yes, me included) would be able to give you all the facts and figures you require for your business plan. Most, would also give you a head start for ‘free’.

    I’ve sat on both sides of the fence and the knowledge I have now of how e-Learning can affect business benefits and trainer workloads far exceeds what I knew as a trainer.

    I can understand your rationale, but in reality the people with experience across industry are the people who will answer your questions the best. Just because they are e-Learning consultants / providers does not mean you should ignore their value.

    If you don’t get the help you need elsewhere feel free to contact me.

  2. Holy Grail?
    Hi Ian

    I was faced with a similar situation a few years back – 780 people on 2 sites close together, no budget to speak of, and just me to look after training.

    I looked at eLearning options, but not everybody had access to a computer on the premises during their normal work hours. Quite a few were not that IT literate. Pilot studies had shown for us a high drop-out rate, and an overall preference for face-2-face training. The content of the eLearning was fine, but it wasn’t specific enough for many users and that hurt its credibility. And whilst it offered a huge range of training titles/topics for a reasonable fee of approx £100 per head per year, there was simply no business case that could be made for us – but your org is different.

    What we did was to develop approx 70 members of staff to carry out training – all volunteers, all given excellent train-the-trainer training, and all training in an area they were expert in already. They were given time by their managers to do some delivery instead of their normal day jobs. We spent less on this than the costs of just one year of running the eLearning system, we got training that worked for us, met our criteria and situation, and provided a welcome boost for the standing of training in the organisation.

    Why tell you all this? To (hopefully) make the point that the questions you ask have answers that are almost certainly going to be of little use in your circumstances – a deeper analysis of the needs, culture, infrastructure etc is needed – eLearning may be the last thing on earth you should do – or it just might be the best. You may need only 1 trainer, or you may need 21!

    Maybe you will have to talk to vendors – trouble is we tend to shy away from their advice as they have vested interests in selling you something!

    Might I suggest that while you are looking at eLearning options you challenge (if that’s appropriate) the line managers all the way up to CEO as well, ask them what THEY are going to do to help enable, support and deliver training and development to their people? They could help out with coaching & mentoring, job swaps, allowing local experts to present little refresher sessions on some practical aspects of your operations, as well as providing books, CD ROMS and perhaps the odd simulation or role play?

    Good luck!

  3. alternative approach
    given the logical comments of a previous responder relating to the possible shortcomingsof total reliance on e-learning you could try another approach.
    Utilise e-learning for the relevant areas but also tap into the growing army of self employed trainers who work as associates. I am aware of a number of companies who utilise associates in long term relationships where the in company trainer retains control of quality and content but uses the expertise and flexibility of associates for delivery purposes. It takes some time to set up but it cuts your daily costs and provides you with many benefits

  4. e versus ibt

    I conducted several studies a number of years ago in the e learning versus instrutor lead battle. It is not a simple one size fits all solution and you really do need to do alot of groundwork.

    I will agree with some of the other comments, you could use the expertise of vendors without signing up to anything, maybe worth a shot.

    One thing i will say is that initial outlay in costing for suitable equipment may prove expensive. There are several ways of delivering e learning you need to find one that fits. I would recommend a good Learning Mangement System (LMS) there are companies that specialise in this.

    Facts and figures to justify e learning, you need to cost the implementation, cost per head, learning time needed to name a few, this all against current training spends.

    The other question regarding numbers of training staff- it could be based on staff to trainer ratio or a more complex method by the skill sets in place, what staff need training and what do they need training in ie IT, practical/technical training, administration training etc.

    Im happy to discuss this in more detail use my e mail details.



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