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Extended enterprise: the benefits of e-learning for employees

To remain competitive in the marketplace, companies are increasingly being encouraged to rethink the way they work and learn, with a view to offering their employees greater accessibility and flexibility. In this article, we invite you to take an in-depth look at the concept of the extended enterprise, and discover the many benefits of e-learning for the employees and stakeholders of an extended enterprise.

Understanding the concept of the extended enterprise: opportunities and challenges

Born in the 1990s, the concept of the extended enterprise is based on an inter-organisational management model that has become very popular and widespread because of the many opportunities for development and growth it offers.

With globalisation and the emergence of digital technologies, companies are becoming more flexible and adaptable to cope with these various changes. As a result, they are expanding their borders to create alliances and fruitful partnerships with various key economic players (suppliers, distributors, partners, subcontractors, etc.).

This approach, which is primarily aimed at exploiting the resources, knowledge and skills of third parties, fosters innovation by accessing new ideas or perspectives with a view to maintaining the competitiveness of the “pilot” company on the labour market.

On the other hand, although this organisational method offers many advantages, it also has certain disadvantages that can make managing the organisation more complex. These include differences in levels of knowledge and skills, the geographical dispersion of employees and stakeholders, and the lack of cohesion between the various entities that make up this extended enterprise.

To ensure optimal management, the “lead” company must establish a solid management and development strategy, in particular by retaining control of the structure’s key activities and ensuring that all employees and stakeholders receive appropriate training, so as to reap the full human and economic benefits of this alliance.

What are the benefits of e-learning for employees in an extended enterprise?

1. A thorough understanding of the company’s objectives and the expectations of its employees

As well as acquiring knowledge and skills, providing your employees and stakeholders with appropriate training will enable them to gain a better understanding of the company’s vision, objectives and expectations. As a result, they will be more inclined to become actively involved in helping to achieve the company’s business objectives.

For HR managers, training also helps to ensure that employees’ values are well aligned with the company’s overall vision. This mutual understanding fosters more fluid and transparent communication, which in turn helps to create a healthy and harmonious working environment.

Finally, the employees of an extended enterprise may have varying levels of skills. Consequently, the introduction of training enables knowledge and skills to be harmonised so that all employees and stakeholders are on an equal footing.

2. Comprehensive, customisable training programmes tailored to employee profiles and needs

With the advent of digital technology, e-learning has expanded from a physical format to a virtual one. This transition has opened up a wider range of possibilities for designing comprehensive, innovative and interactive training programmes.

Within an extended enterprise, e-learning offers employees and stakeholders unprecedented freedom, enabling them to follow the training programme anywhere in the world at any time.

What’s more, depending on the profile, current skill level or specific needs of the individual, the content of the training can be re-examined to offer a made-to-measure, fully customisable programme.

For the “pilot” company, this individualised approach ensures that each employee and stakeholder acquires the knowledge and skills needed to successfully carry out the role entrusted to them, enabling the company to achieve its objectives with greater peace of mind.

3. Continuous learning to adapt to changes, trends and challenges in today’s market

For an extended enterprise, the main objective of an alliance or partnership with collaborators or stakeholders is to increase competitiveness and growth. As a result, continuous learning through e-learning becomes essential to enable the entire ecosystem to adapt to current market developments, trends and challenges.

By adopting a continuous learning approach, employees and stakeholders in the extended enterprise are better prepared to anticipate potential problems or difficulties and implement proactive solutions.

Finally, as the business world evolves at breakneck speed, continuous learning is an effective response to skills obsolescence. Regular training for your staff ensures that their knowledge and skills remain up to date, enabling them to remain competitive and efficient.

4. Effective monitoring of employee progress with a view to readjusting the training programme

In the context of e-learning, monitoring and evaluation are of paramount importance, enabling managers to measure the progress of employees, analyse any shortcomings and identify possible areas for improvement.

HR managers can collect a wide range of data (participation rates, time spent on the various modules, assessment scores and results, etc.), which will enable them to make informed decisions to improve or readapt the training programme on the basis of the data collected.

In addition, this approach enables extended enterprises to analyse their return on investment (ROI) and profitability, by determining whether e-learning has enabled employees and stakeholders to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to carry out their activities, with a view to improving the company’s performance.

Online training platform, webinar, mobile learning: which formats should you choose?

To meet the needs of employees and stakeholders, particularly if they are geographically dispersed, a company with an extended organisation may choose to use different types of e-learning formats:

  • Virtual classroom or interactive online courses: the virtual classroom is a learning method where trainers and learners come together via a videoconferencing system. Employees can therefore follow the course remotely, but interact in real time via an audio microphone or an instant messaging system (chatbot, etc.), enabling them to exchange information freely or share files or documents. In addition to the financial savings made, the virtual classroom offers learners a more stimulating, interactive and flexible learning experience by offering a wide variety of teaching resources (content in PDF format, video tutorials, questionnaires, quizzes, games, etc.).
  • Mobile learning or educational podcasts: mobile learning is a very popular learning method that has become much more widespread since the advent of digital technology and social networks. Using a mobile phone or touch-sensitive tablet, employees and stakeholders in the extended enterprise can follow the entire training course from anywhere, at any time of day and at their own pace. Mobile learning courses can include elements such as storytelling or gamification (quizzes, duels, competitions) to make the training programme more fun and attractive. Educational podcasts, presented in the form of audio content, are also a highly popular format, thanks to their accessibility and the transmission of useful, high added-value information on a wide variety of subjects.
  • e-learning platforms (LMS/LXP): e-learning platforms are used to design and deliver e-learning courses or any other form of educational content. More specifically, they provide an online space where learners are invited to follow the course, which is divided into several modules and can be presented in a wide variety of formats (e-learning, pre-recorded videos, slideshows, interactive quizzes, online assessment, etc.). LMSs (Learning Management Systems), for example, focus more on content and learner management, while LXPs (Learning Experience Platforms) place more emphasis on the learner’s learning experience. However, some learning devices are more thoughtfully designed, with a host of practical features designed to meet the specific needs of each target audience.