Corporate Training & e-Learning Blog


E-Learning is Good for the Environment

Organizations have paid close attention to the cost reductions associated with online learning and reduced travel. However, have you ever thought about the environmental energy savings and benefits? Probably not. You may be surprised, then, to discover that a recent study by Britain’s Open University found huge energy savings associated with e-learning! Let’s take a look at what they found.

Consider the energy consumption that occurs whenever employees travel to attend training sessions, seminars, conventions, and face-to-face meetings. Environmental impacts include fuel for transportation (plane, train, bus, car, taxi); electricity to light and heat (or cool) conference rooms, training facilities, and hotel rooms; electricity and water to launder sheets and towels; and gas and electricity for restaurants to cook meals. Imagine also the mounds of paper used for all the training manuals, brochures, business cards, and handouts that are distributed at these events. On top of it all, add in the rising costs of fuel and travel.

Now consider the many e-learning formats that provide energy-saving alternatives to traditional classes and meetings. Synchronous online classes and seminars, asynchronous e-courses, self-study programs, online collaboration (blogs and wikis), rapid e-learning, you name it. Here comes the good part!... Open University’s study found that producing and providing distance learning courses consumes an average of 90% less energy and produces 85% fewer CO2 emissions per student than conventional face-to-face courses. Wow! Double wow!

Now think of all the trees that are saved by e-learning. Using online content, PDF manuals, synchronous classrooms, and other web-based tools, acres and acres of forests can be saved. Factor in the resources required to manufacture paper, such as water, electricity, fuel, bleach, and other chemicals, and you can really see the environmental benefits of online learning.

Mobile (m-learning) provides distance learning via audio and video blogs, web-based conferencing, handheld devices, video phones, iPods, and MP3 players. As m-learning continues to grow, we will continue to see a reduction in energy consumption and an increase in technological changes enabling richer content over ever-smaller devices.

The Open University study also found that learning online transformed students’ attitudes about how they can learn and work without traveling. They began shopping more online, corresponding more via email, and doing more research on the internet.

I hope organizations begin to recognize the extremely important benefits to our environment – not just to a company’s bottom-line – that e-learning provides.

Mother Earth will surely thank us.


  • Awesome post, Jenna. The future of e-learning is here to stay. I think you should check this product out, Freepath. I downloaded the demo and love it! If you need to present over the web, you can use Freepath with any online conference meeting product (though their partners, i think, with GoToMeeting, by Citrix). Powerpoints, PDF's, Flash, websites, excel, word, movies, all can be presented within Freepath. Like I said, check it out (I found it through Google). This will certainly change things, I think.

    By Blogger olebarn, at 1:27 PM EDT  

  • Speaking of environmentally friendly e-learning, what of m-learning and all those tiny devices being used today?

    m-Learing or Mobile Learning or even Learning Mobile Content/Authoring is on the rise.

    It not only allowes for telecommuting, cutting down on emissions; but it also makes for a happier employee.

    That employee, when not sitting in traffic is driving up the ecomony and the company they work for is prospering at the same time.

    That employee can be at a meeting via PDA or even PocketPC. Can take a course or an evaluation via a Palm or Cell phone.

    With the way technology is going today, we'll soon find ourselves not needed that ream of paper, or that filing cabinet.

    Hot Lava Software, Inc. is on the cutting edge of software development and is the leading provider mobile authoring, publishing, delivery and tracking solutions.

    With just your Pocket PC, PDA, Palm, or even cell phone; your employees can take an evaluation and that inforamtion is emailed directly back to your HR.

    HLS is offering a free download for a PocketPC, desktop, and Palm on 'What is Mobile Learning.'

    Thank you for allowing my input. Your blog is awesome and I'm learning things about e-learning I was unaware of.

    Kerri Baker
    Hot Lava Software, Inc.

    By Blogger HLS - Mobile Learning, at 4:08 PM EDT  

  • You have covered an important aspect. Partly addressing this issue, we have created Zendle. Zendle is like an eBay for premium content. It's a hosted learning content management system that allows subject matter experts to create their own online content, price their content and sell the content on the Zendle marketplace. In addition, you can also use Zendle like a free, hosted, learning content management system for internal initiatives. We believe that ideas like Zendle will go a long way in contributing to environmental improvement.

    Vikram Narayan
    Zendle (

    By Blogger Zendle, at 1:46 AM EDT  

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