In 1991 Noel Vallejo started TestOut Corporation (not its name at the time) to help computer training companies better market and sell IT certification training programs. As demand for these programs grew, one significant hurdle to get over was that many busy professionals lacked the time and means to attend expensive training seminars.
To better help IT professionals access quality, economical training, TestOut released the industry's first video training series. This initial offering, designed to prepare learners for Novell's Certified Novell Engineer (CNE) exams and titled So You Wanna Be A CNE?!, was released in 1994 and became an instant hit. With training manuals and test prep software included, the video series propelled TestOut to the top of the IT distance training industry.
Besides the advantages of cost savings and a reduction in time away from the office, video training offered a self-paced method of learning that many found convenient. Full-time IT professionals could fit the training in wherever they found room in their busy schedules.
Within a few short years, the internet offered new avenues for training via online courses. TestOut was once again at the forefront with its introduction of LabSim, a robust simulation product that gives users a real-world experience using current technologies.
Self-paced online IT training is now used by 42 percent of Fortune 500 companies. Their reasoning is simple: Trained employees accomplish more than non-trained employees; on average, teams with just 40 hours of training per member meet project objectives three times as often as untrained peers.
If you want further evidence to support self-paced, online training for IT pros, check out this recent report from International Data Corporation (IDC), the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications and consumer technology markets. The benefits are impressive for employees and companies. For example:
- Every hour spent training saves five hours of lost productivity.
- For every $1 spent on training, companies realize $30 in productivity gains.
- Online training consumes 40 percent less time than classroom training.
- Online learning increases retention of subject matter by as much as 60 percent.
It’s an accepted fact that productive employees appreciate companies that provide them with the opportunity for training relevant and rewarding to their careers. The flip-side of this dynamic is that failure to provide such training can have adverse effects on employees and, eventually, the organization itself. The report also found that employee performance declines by more than 25 percent every four years when there is no regular training.
There is also a very real danger of employee turnover without regular training. Employees who “don’t feel supported in achieving career goals are 12 times more likely to consider leaving than employees who do." When you consider the cost in time and money to replace a skilled IT employee (in some instances as high as $150,000) it makes sense to offer opportunities for regular IT training.
Vallejo’s belief in the effectiveness of self-paced online learning seems prescient. TestOut continues to be the industry leader in online labs for academia and IT professionals. Since its beginning, TestOut courseware has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals acquire the IT skills they need to progress in their education and careers. Twnety-six years and more than $173 million in sales later, they must be doing something right.
About the Author — Calvin Harper is an associate editor for GoCertify and a veteran of the publishing industry. Calvin found that rigorous training in the workplace is particularly essential to success during his years of working as a circus acrobat and tightrope walker.