Make sure your company’s green initiative strategy includes eLearning
Does your company have a formal green initiative to reduce its carbon footprint and possibly qualify for federal tax credits? If so, are you involved in communicating the benefits of eLearning toward reducing CO2 emissions? Frequently leaders in the training industry feel frustrated for not having “a seat at the table” when it comes to critical business decisions and strategic planning. The best way to ensure your voice is heard is to provide value and understanding wherever possible. Why not analyze your eLearning program’s direct and very real impact to your company’s green strategy and circulate this information throughout your organization (electronically of course)? Here are some tips on how to do just that.
Calculating classroom-based training’s environmental impact
- Commuting to and from the training site is generally the largest generator of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To calculate how much CO2 is generated as a result of your learners commuting to/from a specific training location, use Carbon Footprint Calculator
- Facilities costs including heating/cooling and lighting are also major carbon producers. Check out the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s online simulator for calculating Co2 emissions buildings produce. For example, one classroom in New York during one week in the winter can exceed 1.5 tons (3,000 pounds) of carbon emissions. http://designadvisor.mit.edu/design
- Printed materials like a 100-page binder for 20 participants requires 60 pounds of wood and consumes 200 gallons of waste water, and produces 23 pounds of solid waste www.conservatree.com/learn/EnviroIssues/TreeStats.shtml
Calculating eLearning carbon footprint
- Running a PC for 5 hours will generate approximately 7 pounds of carbon emissions. 20 learners spending 20 hours in an eLearning course would generate 640 pounds of Co2 emissions. Computer: 140-330 watts (on for one hour = 0.14-0.33 kwh. 1.37 lbs
- While there are other systems that support eLearning (servers, internet connectivity, Learning Management Systems, etc.), many of these items are already in place and operating. Running eLearning programs on these systems may marginally increase the carbon generation, but no where near that which is generated traveling to/from a training site.
Other Tips for Increasing Employee Performance/Satisfaction while going green
- Allow learners to telecommute while taking eLearning courses (attend from home) rather than require driving to work that day.
- Avoid printed supplemental materials – encourage learners to make use of electronic help support systems
- Reduce total time required for training by creating focused, consistent, and impactful eLearning courses. Often time spent training can be reduced by ¼ or more when converting instructor-led training to an online format.