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RISMEDIA, July 16, 2011—Want a nickel for every time you’ve heard something like that? You put yourself out to offer critical, informative, well-designed, and well-presented training to either keep your agents productive or licensed, and can get only half of them to show up at any one time.

Your agents need the training. Regulations change and winning business strategies evolve. The competition never sleeps and time goes only forward. And no one I know thinks that things are going to get easier any time soon. You offer great programs to build productivity and advance your business, but too many of your agents never see them. What is perhaps worse, the ones that do get the training too often fail to use it when the chips are down.

Some agents might ask: “Do you want me in class learning, or in the field growing the business?” But that is a false choice. I want my agents in the field producing during peak production times, and in class honing their competitive edge during down times. So consider on-line education. With it, agents can take more classes because they can fit the training into their schedules rather than disrupt their schedules to fit in the training.

They can get the training at their place and at their pace. For compliance and productivity training alike, the ability to see or review material on a just-in-time basis can make all the difference, because it will be fresh in the agent’s mind when he or she steps up to the plate.

Although there are costs to produce on-line education, they often are a fraction of those associated with securing classroom space and gathering everyone together during prime selling hours. What is more, you can present the class as many times as needed. Once the camera and microphone capture the training, the number of agents who can benefit from it—at their convenience—is virtually unlimited.

With on-line education, agents can tailor their training to get just the information they need at just the time they need it. Each member of your force can realize higher productivity and improved compliance without the hassle of schedule disruption. And whenever they feel the need to brush up on a lesson—for example, just before a critical sales call—they can simply go back and review it.

“OK,” you say, “so it’s less costly, easier to present, easier to take, and more convenient overall. But is it effective?” Numerous studies support the contention that it is. One such study, from the U.S. Department of Education, found “that good teaching can be enhanced with new technology.”

You needn’t just take my word for it. Do yourself a favor and take in a presentation on TED, if you haven’t already. The one that recently caught my eye is Let’s Use Video to Reinvent Education.  In it, educator Salman Khan (MBA, Harvard University) says that his students prefer his online education to live classes. The ARELLO (Association of Real Estate License Law Officials) website also has two powerful books available: Distance Education Standards Manual and The No Significant Difference Phenomenon.

Obviously, I am encouraging you to look into on-line education and training. My school started offering on-line classes two years ago, and now fully half of our students take their classes on line. What is perhaps more important, the online students have a much better pass rate on standardized tests than the students who took the live classes.

Online education is a great way to lower training costs, increase your educational reach, improve participation, and increase performance.

Steve Hammond is a partner at The Real Estate Learning Group ( His school teaches thousands of students every year and is a pioneer in long distance real estate education.