Implementing an e-Learning program within your organization can result in considerable environmental benefits. Listed below are 5 ways in which e-Learning benefits the environment:
1. Commuting – As learning is delivered online, learners do not need to commute to their place of study. The elimination of driving and perhaps even flying in some instances, results in a significant reduction of emission and pollutants. Moreover, learners in metropolitan areas often face severe traffic and as they slowly make their way to their destinations and these increased commute times impact the environment even further. Finally, its no secret that the more a vehicle is used the more “wear and tear” it will suffer. More wear and tear results in more replaced auto parts ultimately leading to more pollutants ending up in landfills.
2. Printing/Paper Handouts– Online learning completely eliminates the need for the printed resources and other physical learning materials that are used in the traditional in person setting. Printing results in an alarming 350 million printing cartridges dumped in landfills every year. Also, it may shock you to learn that every year enough paper is thrown away to make a 12 foot wall from New York to California. So by delivering reusable materials online your organization is helping reduce unnecessary paper usage.
3. Learning Facilities – as your learner or employee base grows you need to expand your physical classroom or training area space to accommodate the increased demand. With e-Learning you can “expand” in an environmentally responsible way as there is no need to build new facilities, renovate existing areas, or acquire additional spaces. Construction of new structures requires the usage of various materials (some of which could be environmentally harmful) and at times requires the removing of natural vegetation and trees to erect the structures.
Also, training rooms and classrooms have to be heated and cooled which results in greater energy usage. e-Learning, through its remote delivery effectively reduces energy consumption.
4. Supplies/Office Equipment – Your learners may need supplies or various other disposable items when they attend in person studies. By conducting their learning online, they no longer will need those items which could include disposable pens, highlighters, binders, coffee cups, napkins, plastic forks etc.
Additionally, as an educator you will no longer need a dedicated training station for each learner and other office equipment you may use for the training. Having less office equipment means less electronic equipment such as computer monitors, printers, and projectors etc. end up in landfills.
5. Public Image – As an organization you undoubtedly not only want to be socially responsible but to be regarded as one by your community as well. Making it known that your organization has instilled an e-Learning program and highlighting the environmental benefits you’re creating will be another step in the right direction and further promote this image
In fact, for some organizations there may even be some Government grants or funding opportunities that can arise out of reducing operating pollution and perhaps even gain some type of environmentally friendly certification.
So while e-Learning does involve computer and energy usage and as such does not completely eliminate harmful effects, it goes a long way in reducing these effects and completely eliminating others.
As a final example of this point we will leave you with the findings derived from a study conducted at the Open University titled “Designing low carbon higher education systems: Environmental impacts of campus and distance learning systems”
“Distance learning HE courses involve 87% less energy and 85% lower CO2 emissions than the full-time campus-based courses. Part-time campus HE courses reduce energy and CO2 emissions by 65% and 61% respectively compared to full-time campus courses. The lower impacts of part-time and distance compared to full-time campus courses is mainly due to a reduction in student travel and elimination of much energy consumption of students’ housing, plus economies in campus site utilisation.”
To learn more about how e-Learning can be eco friendly, visit our e-Learning for environment page on our website.
Or if you would like to speak to somebody about your specific e-Learning situation and how your organization can become more environmentally responsible through e-Learning, give us a call at 1-800-390-6011 or fill out our contact form and one of our expert consultants will get back to you.