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David James


Chief Learning Officer

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Why Adding a Digital Arm to your Training Business is Good for Business


As L&D wrestles with how to modernise in a world where most employees go to Google as a first port-of-call, what’s the opportunity for suppliers and coaches in all of this?

In short: Greater value and increased revenue. Let me explain...

I'm seeing more companies are now asking their suppliers to include a digital learning offering in their proposals - and I mean some of the biggest companies around! This is despite incompany L&D teams being reticent to introduce ANOTHER learning system into their organisation. But they're asking their suppliers to do just that.

The barrier to entry into digital is now so low, in terms of money and time, that the benefits far outweigh the costs - and could be a key point of difference between suppliers.

The benefits of a digital arm to your existing business, include:

Increased effectiveness

Modern technology (especially mobile) can help you to be there at the moment of need to influence application, weeks, months and even years after a formal learning event. Effectiveness is not then about the intangible retention of learning but about directly impacting performance when the employee actually needs it - when they are about to perform. Think about it: we do this via web-search now but your content would be richer in expertise and contextually relevant to the employee.

A deeper footprint in your client organisation

Offering a digital library of learning resources that are tailored to an organisation is both rare and high in value. Client branding, terminology, and reference to key personnel will increase how resources are received and therefore employee engagement. Imagine being in the smartphones of your delegates and offering the ability to ‘push’ additional content? You are literally seeding your business presence deep into an organisation beyond the usual relationships - directly engaging with your delegates, time and time again.

Passive income

Suppliers of learning services are often asking how they can make money during quieter times and the ideal situation would be passive income. If you license your IP in a digital format, as an additional high-value product, then you can sell this to your client on a per-user / per-month basis. Very logically, you can make content available to a cohort from a training programme, i.e. Emerging Leaders programme, but you can also offer it to your client more broadly to those new leaders who are yet to attend, extending the value of your content, the revenue for you, and seeding interest from those who are yet to attend. Win-win-win!


By showing your client how you use modern technology to increase the effectiveness of an intervention could be a key differentiator (a Unique Selling Proposition), demonstrating progressive application of modern day tools in an industry that so often seems stuck in the classroom.

Sophisticated reporting tools

With modern digital learning platforms, you could own the reporting tools to see what the take-up of your resources; how your content is rating by learners; and also direct feedback on your work too. You can quite literally see inside your client organisation and report on learner engagement.

Surely today it makes more sense than ever to ‘think digital’?

In previous roles I've held, training manuals make up about 75% of shelf space and only move from the shelf when I'm packing up my box and leaving the company - and I know I’m not alone.

The opportunity now is to quickly, easily and cheaply, put your learning content into an app - to be where your learners are, to extend the reach and effectiveness of a programme, and leave a much more visible digital footprint in the client organisation. Oh, and make more money.

From a business perspective, it's a no-brainer.

Author Profile Picture
David James

Chief Learning Officer

Read more from David James

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