The global value of e-learning in 2019 was $144 billion, and this figure is expected to surge to $374.3 billion by 2026. The numbers never lie; e-learning is set to become the default method for how most people accrue knowledge in the future.
In the financial industry, where rules and regulations are rapidly changing and evolving, the value of e-learning is poised to take on even greater precedence than in other industries. Financial institutions can now employ increasingly sophisticated and comprehensive learning packages to train high volumes of staff, both in the office and remotely. And on an individual level, the growing demand for continuous learning will see an increase in the number of courses that empower ambitious individuals to upskill and reskill to enhance their careers.
In the more complex world of cross-border banking compliance, the rise of e-learning allows institutions and individuals operating in this sphere to more easily stay on top of new developments and regulatory requirements.
Combining obligation with added pragmatism
In an industry as heavily regulated as cross-border compliance, keeping on top of the latest regulations is far from an easy task. Aside from the hefty fines that a breach in compliance will likely entail, it is the damage to an institution's reputation that is perhaps even more concerning. This sentiment is backed up by a Deloitte study that found 87% of executives deem reputational risk to be more important than other strategic risks. Within this context, the shift to e-learning could offer financial services providers a welcome form of respite on the never-ending road to full compliance.
E-learning allows participants to complete compulsory courses, such as anti-money laundering, in a more convenient and flexible manner. While the new level of flexibility afforded by e-learning also enables companies to more easily prioritise and implement courses that may be considered important but which may have been put off in the past due to the timing and logistical inconvenience of organising such a course on-site via traditional learning methods.
An excellent example of such a course could be cybersecurity, an area of great importance in today's digital age but one that may not sit at the very top of the priority list when financial services providers must constantly tick so many other compliance-related boxes.
The ease with which companies can implement an e-learning course on cybersecurity via e-learning is considerably more straightforward than the traditional classroom route. A quick recap on cybersecurity best practices can be quickly delivered to many staff members at a relatively low cost via e-learning, and the potential savings that this expense incurs are vast compared to the millions that organisations could lose if untrained staff are caught unawares by a cybersecurity attack. Not to mention the reputational damage that such an occurrence would deliver to the company’s name.
The benefits that come from the simplicity and flexibility with which e-learning courses can be administered cannot be under-stressed. In a fast-moving work environment where days do not often feel long enough to get through everything that must be managed, e-learning offers adaptable solutions that do not need to impose upon the rest of the working week.
Training is a necessity in the compliance industry, but this does mean it is an element of the work that many people would claim to enjoy. Training can often feel like an inconvenient imposition, and this is especially true when it means blocking out a whole afternoon, day, or weekend to complete the training in person. This scenario not only limits the regular schedule for that period, but it can also mean being unable to take that all-important call which always seems to come in just as soon as training starts and phones are off or on silent.
With e-learning, the level of training delivered is of an equally high standard as in-person training, but it offers a level of flexibility that traditional training badly lacks. E-learning can be started, stopped, and paused in a way that does not disrupt the rest of the working week. And with courses also optimised for mobile devices, training can be done in the traditional office environment and on the go.
With lower costs, less disruption to the working week, and the potential to free up what was previously dead classroom time, e-learning solutions appear as an ideal answer to the faster-paced demands of the digital age.
Masters of content
One caveat to the surge in popularity of e-learning is that there is the potential for organisations to choose an e-learning provider that may produce a well-presented package that does not stand up later on under the unyielding pressure of full compliance.
In order to negate this potential issue, financial services providers must work with established experts in financial compliance. By choosing an e-learning provider that is a recognised master of the content, financial institutions can rest assured that they will receive content produced first-hand by experts in the field. This content is created and updated in accordance with the latest regulations and then digitised for e-learning.
Choosing to work with a master of the content ensures adherence to compliant practices and often means the learning is presented in a way that users will find more engaging. Expert professionals use their intimate knowledge of the subject matter to produce comprehensive content that better resonates with the learner. The best providers focus on active e-learning that turns potentially dry topics into more engaging story-based or gamified exercises that will not put the user to sleep.
A further benefit of working with compliance experts is that due to their deep knowledge of all aspects of the business, e-learning courses can be specifically tailored and designed in collaboration with financial institutions to match an organisation's strategy, risk approach, and branding.
For financial services providers, and particularly for those working in cross-border compliance, the shift to a more fluid, online e-learning system brings with it numerous advantages. Financial institutions and their professionals will reap the broader benefits driven by the trend towards a more innovative and equitable reskilling and upskilling learning-driven landscape. And in a sphere dominated by regulatory oversight and strict compliance, e-learning courses appear perfectly positioned to provide solutions that empower individuals while also mitigating risk.