Monday, July 21, 2008

Is Your Training in the Red or in the Green?

For those folks who know me, they know I am the farthest thing from an 'environmentalist' and you sure don't want to know my views on Global Warming. With that said, however, I am very much an advocate of conservation, both of resources and of budgets. Have you ever thought how much your company spends to educate employees?

Sure, you have your budgets for your trainers, for those who supervise trainers, and the extra time employees spend going to training, however, there are many more costs to consider.

What about the time spent training your trainers? You will spend for both the trainer's time, as well as the time of the person who conducts the trainer's training?

How about facilities? Do you lease spaces for training or conferences? Does your office maintain a training facility? If it does, how much extra have you invested in that facility? Did you have to double your budget of computers? Do you pay for janitorial services?

How about electricity? Imagine one training room with thirty PCs left on, as well as projectors, lights, audio equipment, and other support tools always running? Don't forget when your employees are in the training room using those PCs, they probably left their own computers on. How many thousands of dollars do we spend just supplying electricity to training rooms?

Do your employees travel to come to training at a central location? What about travel for conferences? Airfare, hotels, meals, not to mention the 'carbon' usage that the greens are always refer?

Why hasn't your company embraced mLearning? Instead of sending your employees to training, send the training to your employees. Almost everyone is connected somehow, be it the Internet or mobile phone. mLearning is far beyond just a CBT on a cell phone. mLearning is about delivering the learning content your employees need, when they need it, to the device they have at the time.

I doubt mLearning will replace the ubiquitous 'new hire' training, where your employees are welcomed into the team and go through all the necessary evils like HR guidelines. Still, have you ever considered how much you spend each year just to maintain facilities, resources, and personnel dedicated to ongoing, face-to-face training?

I would love to hear your stats. How much have you saved moving your learning online? Have you done a cost-benefit analysis that includes all of the items some companies normally overlook in training budgets, such as electricity?

How have you gone green? Have you calculated how much carbon your employees use to attend training events? If tomorrow, you faced taxes or fees from the government based on the amount of carbon you use in training, are you prepared to scale back? Do you have a strategy?

I would also like to propose a challenge to the eLearning Guild, ASTD, and other training organizations to completely replace one of their on-location conferences with a green, virtual conference.

If you have any other ideas or stories about 'going green', please email me at

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