Small Choices, Big Impact
Making small choices to help the environment doesn’t always have to be complicated. Here at Digitec, we have a recycling program for all those lunch time soup cans and plastic bottles. But what else can we do to make a difference? When you consider options for keeping our planet “green”, you may not realize the impact eLearning can make. So just how beneficial is eLearning to the environment?
Let’s Start With the Numbers
You probably already understand the benefits of eLearning for your staff and learners. It reduces classroom time, materials, and travel costs, which are significant benefits. But reduced travel ALSO considerably cuts down the CO2 generated. For instance, Silke Fleischer calculated the effect an average class term would have on both the environment and the pocketbook. Considering a fifty week, twenty student course that met three times a week, the results were staggering. He writes: “The tremendous amount of CO2 generated for this course equals about 200 vehicles driving 12,000 miles a year using 6,000 barrels of oil. If this course is moved online, it not only saves about 1,200 tons of CO2, but also eliminates more than $1 million in travel expenses.”
Also, consider the amount of wasted paper used for traditional classroom training that can be eliminated when courses and employee handbooks are offered online. It adds up quickly– The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year! This contributes to the carbon footprint, while the cost subtracts from the bottom line.
In comparison, a study by Britain’s Open University discovered that providing distance learning “consumes an average of 90% less energy and produces 85% fewer CO2 emissions per student than conventional face-to-face courses,” which helps immensely. But how does that affect your budget? Tom Raftery reported that the international bank Crédit Agricole is saving $200,000 – $300,000 just in travel-related expenses by hosting their training in Second Life. Save money, materials, and the planet from CO2 emissions? It’s a win/win!
Both Consumers and Learners Prefer Green-Conscious Companies
Let’s look at this from another perspective. From a marketing standpoint, consumers generally tend to opt for the environmentally friendly option over another relatively equal alternative. Stefan Doering reminds us of the Feel Good Component, that “people like knowing what they purchase is going to help more than just themselves.”
For learners, implementing good online learning can improve learner retention and overall happiness by giving them more control over their experience; however, there might be another reason your learners are so pleased. People want to feel good about the choices they’re making, and leaving a smaller carbon footprint has the added benefit of polishing your corporate image People want to feel good about the choices they’re making, and leaving a smaller carbon footprint has the added benefit of polishing your corporate image. in the eyes of the learners taking the course.
In a 2007 study, MonsterTRAK found that “92% of young professionals prefer working for a company that is environmentally friendly”; proving that if you want your employees and learners to be proud of their workplace, going green is a great way to start.
Giving Back Can Be Fun
In addition to being good for the planet, good for your company, and good for your learners, eLearning can be good for the community too! Digitec was eager to embrace the green movement and jumped at the opportunity to design an eLearning game to help teach fifth grade children the importance of energy conservation and resources. In partnership with the global non-profit foundation, eLearning for Kids, Digitec helped provide the free educational game to 2.5 million children around the world. The Responsible Use of Energy is hands-on, and gives kids helpful tips for conserving energy in their own homes, as well as how to create sustainable and responsible energy on a regional level.
We all have a social responsibility to do good by Mother Earth, and luckily, doing a lot of good can be as simple as switching to eLearning and recycling your soup cans.
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