Department store invests in e-learning

Department store chain House of Fraser is spending £100,000 rolling out an
e-learning function across its 50 branches by the end of August.

The move follows a successful trial at its London headquarters and five
other stores.

Modules will include customer services training, first-line and senior
management skills, communications and assertiveness training and finance.

There are no plans to scale down or relocate any of its existing training
personnel and the e-learning function will run alongside conventional modules.

Management development adviser Phillip McKew said the main teething problem
had been in coordinating activities between departments, in particular,
ensuring IT was given enough space, time and resources to sort out any

"The IT department has been under a lot of pressure. Sometimes it is a
bit like having the M25 overloaded with cars," he admitted.

One of the modules in the trial phase had a women’s voice that came out so
slowly it sounded like that of a man, he admitted.

"People have to start thinking in a different way, but we have not had
any major hostility from any of the stores," he added.

The £100,000 budget for the first year is being split 50/50 between hardware
and software.

The 650-strong store management team will be the first to experience the
system and nearly a third of the firm’s 16,000 staff should have used it by the
end of the year or by early 2002.

Incentives include including e-learning in induction training and ensuring
modules such as management training are only advertised online.

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