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E-learning for employees: benefits and limitations

• 6 min read

E-learning for employees

Once upon a time, all learning was in-person learning. You likely have that typical image of a traditional learning experience—learners in their seats, listening to a professor deliver knowledge from a podium.

Much has changed with the advance of new technologies, especially the internet and cloud-based computing. Today, companies no longer have to rely on in-person classes to conduct employee training thanks to e-learning. This approach to delivering learning content lets you create online courses that learners can take at their own pace on their computers or mobile devices.

In this guide, you will learn how embracing e-learning courses can benefit your employees and company.

What is e-learning?

E-learning (short for electronic learning) means delivering learning content and training using digital resources. In recent years, organizations such as higher education institutions and corporations have embraced e-learning for its many benefits including cost-effectiveness and learner engagement.

Organizations can use e-learning platforms to offer a contemporary employee training experience that leverages advanced learning technologies such as gamification, social learning, microlearning, artificial intelligence (AI), and more. Another critical advantage of e-learning is its mobile-friendliness unlocking higher flexibility and accessibility.

Extra tip: For an in-depth look, see our complete e-learning guide.

What’s the role of e-learning in employee training?

For a long time, employee corporate training relied on classroom-based instructor-led courses. And while these kinds of training courses will always remain, they do have some drawbacks.

For instance, depending on the number of people to be trained, organizations must devote a lot of money, space, and time to in-person training sessions. And, as the pandemic accelerated the trend toward remote working, paying travel expenses for employees to attend in-person training began to look prohibitively expensive in comparison. For these reasons, e-learning programs have become standard for the corporate learning environment.

E-learning is also highly adaptive and offers a variety of formats, making it fitting for really any learning topic from compliance training or new employee onboarding. Online training delivered through a learning management system (LMS) can adapt to any company’s needs since LMSs have great scalability. For instance, during onboarding, a company can send links to the relevant learning materials and online courses that the new hire can access through mobile learning portals at their leisure. This eliminates the need for employees to come to the office before their official start day.

But e-learning isn’t only beneficial for companies. It also brings great benefits to employees. Let’s see how in the next section.

5 benefits of e-learning for employees 

Generally, e-learning is a valuable technology for everyone involved in corporate training. What benefits employees will in turn benefit the overall company. Here are some ways e-learning helps employees have a more enjoyable and effective learning experience.

It’s more flexible

Today’s employees (especially Millennials and Gen Z) are used to flexibility and convenience with easy access to smartphones and apps like Spotify and DoorDash.

So, what’s this have to do with your employee training? Well, if the training you offer is inflexible and stodgy, you can say goodbye to employee engagement.

Instead, by offering e-learning content, you provide something that’s self-paced. Employees can complete modules and quizzes at their own pace when they have time. And, if you also enable mobile learning, employees can learn even when they’re out of the office.

It fits remote teams well 

Much has been said and written about how COVID-19 transformed work. As companies had to deal with lockdowns and bans on public gatherings, doing things remotely came to the rescue.

And, now that people have a taste of working from home, this way of working is here to stay. Whether your company is fully remote or has a few remote teams or employees, e-learning is a natural fit.

This is especially true for remote onboarding, which lets you complete all stages necessary to integrate a new hire into your organization without meeting them in person.

Isn’t that nifty?

And that’s not the end because your LMS e-learning solution can serve as a permanent library of that employees can reference as needed. This means employees don’t have to send endless emails and Slack messages to get answers to their questions. Instead, they can take control of their own learning and seek answers for themselves.

This makes the learning experience more manageable, productive, and efficient.

It puts employees in charge of their professional development

For today’s workforce, professional development is no longer a job perk. It’s something they expect wherever they work. And it profoundly influences employee retention. According to the University of Phoenix, 68% of employees say they’d stay in jobs that offer opportunities to learn new skills.

A learning program must provide employees with a robust e-learning platform that lets them choose how to develop their skills. With Docebo, employees can use the AI virtual tutor to get personalized suggestions on which courses to take next. This approach is called on-demand learning, and it’s pretty similar to the way people use video and music streaming services. Based on the courses staff completed previously, the algorithm recommends more courses (just like how Netflix gives a list of similar TV shows when you’re done watching the current one.)

Put all these technological features together and employees will feel empowered and capable of taking their learning development in their own hands. Unlike traditional, top-down, instructor-led learning, e-learning can be self-directed and driven by employee interests.

It boosts knowledge retention 

There is a great and powerful shared enemy of instructors, teachers, and students. Its name is the forgetting curve.

In a nutshell, the forgetting curve theory says that if people don’t refresh their knowledge periodically, they forget more and more about something they’ve learned. Learners forget most of the material in the first days and weeks after they studied it.

There are several ways in which e-learning fights forgetfulness and boosts knowledge retention:

  • Interactivity: Learning methods such as gamification allow e-learning to be more interactive with personalized learning paths tailored to a learner’s specific interests and needs. It also makes it easy to interact with other learners via message boards or interactive polls.
  • Multimedia: With e-learning, it’s easy to include multimedia in the learning materials, so those who learn better through visual or auditory channels can become more engaged.
  • Engagement: Because e-learning allows learners to self-direct their learning experience and easily access materials of interest, it increases engagement for better knowledge retention.


Allows real-time feedback 

We’ve all been there, waiting impatiently and anxiously for the results of a test. With old-school pen-and-paper tests, the instructor needs to review and grade them. This takes time and effort.

With the e-learning approach, feedback happens instantly as employees get the results of tests they take immediately. So, instead of waiting and forgetting what the questions were in the first place, learners find out immediately and internalize the correct answers.

And with an LMS solution for e-learning, feedback can go both ways. You can append surveys to the end of every course where employees can voice their praise and criticism, allowing you to iterate and improve training in real-time. Instructors can also access various metrics and analytics through their LMS to see how learners are engaging with the course.

Limits of e-learning in corporate training

Although e-learning technology offers great benefits to both employees and companies, it is by no means perfect. Let’s explore some of the limits to e-learning and why in-person training also isn’t going anywhere.

Firstly, in-person training with an instructor is more hands-on. In an in-person training session, employees can get immediate answers to their questions from the subject-matter expert conducting the training.

Secondly, there are many other people in a classroom, so it’s easier to access different viewpoints and perspectives.

Thirdly, learners might feel isolated from one another without direct communication and group discussions.

However, there are solutions to these limitations. Integrating social learning features into your e-learning program (like Docebo’s discussion forums and chat) will give learners an avenue for social interaction. As for the parts of the training that need to be hands-on (such as in the medical field or product demos for salespeople), a blended learning approach offers the best of both worlds—e-learning for theory and in-person learning for drills and demonstrations.

Implement e-learning for your employees with a powerful LMS 

The best way to conduct e-learning programs in your organization is with a learning management system. LMSs like Docebo have all the features that make good online learning possible.

Creating, delivering, and managing the courses is straightforward for instructors. At the same time, learners enjoy the ease of access and high-quality learning materials. To see how e-learning can benefit your employees and your company, schedule a demo with Docebo today.