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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:

  • 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.

Cases in Point

With the help of the web, an increasing number of schools are converting their distance education to the Internet (traditionally delivered by correspondence). For instance, take Humber College's e-college at http://ecollege.humberc.on.ca/. Another is the college where I currently teach, Algonquin College, which uses an Internet-based collaboration software called "BlackBoard" (see http://www.blackboard.com/) at http://www.algonquincollege.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 in 1998." 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, published in a recent issue of InfoWorld.com's newsletter, 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.

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. Take the case of e-dentist.com at http://www.e-dentist.com/e-learning/.)

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 a direct response copywriter and consultant dedicated to turning sales messages into powerful magnets. Get a free copy of his book, "The 10 Commandments of Power Positioning," when you subscribe to his free monthly ezine, "The Profit Pill." See http://SuccessDoctor.com/ now!

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