Can E-Learning Help Us Drive a More Sustainable Future?

Posted on November 11th, 2022 in E-Learning.

E-learning and other online learning resources have seen a phenomenal increase in recent years. With the growth of technology and its dominance in modern society, it’s no surprise that more and more organisations were discovering the power of online learning as an educational tool during the mid to late 2010s.

Enter then, the pandemic. The growth of e-learning skyrocketed as educational institutions and corporate training professionals turned to online and remote solutions for their learning needs.

According to Google Trends, searches for e-learning as a keyword spiked in 2020, and whilst it has declined somewhat since, the trend is still higher than pre-pandemic rates. This interest, along with the dramatically increased uptake of online learning suggest many of us are familiar with e-learning and the most common benefits.

For businesses, this article explores the key benefits.

However, one of the most unsung benefits of online learning that is perhaps not discussed enough is its environmental benefits and how it may help us build a more sustainable future. Some of these benefits are relevant to remote working as much as remote training.

Fewer travel emissions and preserving gas. Various studies have shown that off-campus, online students create 85% or 90% less CO2 emissions as a consequence of not needing to commute. Thus, e-learning or perhaps an online classroom as a substitute for an in-person training event reduces the cost to the environment of any employees or professionals travelling to the event. Thus, helping to reduce global pollution levels.

Moreover, commuting (particularly speeding or waiting in traffic) wastes high amounts of petrol. Cutting the commute saves on fuel costs for the learner. 

Less physical waste. Whilst technology has become commonplace in most classrooms, corporate or otherwise, we still rely heavily on paper for printouts, group-note taking and other classroom activities. Online learning reduces this, with e-learning in particular largely eliminating the need for notetaking at all.

Whilst the need for textbooks, for example, is less relevant in the corporate training room, many organisations still create workbooks or other information packages that require large amounts of paper to cover all relevant employees. Much of this paper is then thrown away and ends up in landfill, wasting the natural resources of trees and contributing therefore to deforestation. Organisations can utilise online and virtual resources across their business (not just in training!) in an attempt to save paper.

Fewer facilities, less energy usage. When you offer your employees a physical learning space, such as a classroom, you are using unnecessary energy. This costs both the organisation and the environment. Large buildings use energy for power and heat supplies!

Many organisations have taken to a hybrid or entirely remote model following the pandemic. Moreover, many new business start-ups will perhaps never have an office or centralised working space. This means less resources in the form of tables and other office necessities, further saving on resources.

Less food waste. This is perhaps less significant but still worth mentioning. Larger scale training days often provide food and drink to learners, of which there is almost always going to be waste.

By opting to train online, you reduce the supplies and resources needed across the board, which helps the environment in turn. These impacts may not feel significant, one business saving resources by moving to online learning is not going to save the world, but with enough businesses moving online, it is going to make a significant difference.

Online training is not always the best option, and different industries, businesses and specific learning needs require different approaches. However, it is proven that online learning opportunities, and particularly e-learning provide a wealth of unique benefits making it an excellent option. Especially as many businesses are moving entirely or partially remote.

Whilst environmental concerns will not be the number one consideration for many training professionals, it is a worthwhile added benefit of opting for this type of training. It is also worth noting that most of the benefits listed in this article will also save you and your employees from wasting unnecessary money on travel and resources.

Trainer Bubble offers an extensive range of e-learning courses which can be explored here.