So far, e-learning’s story in the UK has been one of a promise unfulfilled.
But there is an increasing recognition, especially in larger companies, that it
is a major skills delivery platform and an effective staff development tool.
Next month, the DfES will publish its report, Towards a unified e-learning
strategy, which provides a great chance to highlight learning approaches. The
Government clearly believes that e-learning has come of age. It will be
interesting to see how it thinks the medium can benefit people management and
However, the challenges to the promotion of e-learning manifest themselves
in many ways – cultural, organisational, financial and curricular – and this
must be recognised if the impressive level of resourcing already identified by
the Government is to be used to best effect.
E-learning’s introduction is a complex process with great logistical,
financial and administrative demands. Change management strategies will be
vital to implementation, and must include the promotion of benefits –
especially with regard to the substantial re-alignment of resources that
This development presents an excellent opportunity for HR staff to maintain
and expand their role in the way in which training is carried out in UK
business. We have seen much enthusiasm from many in HR for e-learning
implementation, and now I hope we will see recognition of the chance for HR to
plan, introduce and oversee e-learning as a key tool in training and
development. It has the potential to form the backbone, rather than an adage,
to almost all staff training initiatives, and the benefits for HR should be
realised and seized.
On the flip-side, however, intransigence of educational staff has the
potential to create huge difficulties. To put e-learning at the centre of a
teaching organisation’s delivery system will require considerable management,
leadership and team skills.
Government should begin by engaging employers more fully, and by providing
incentives to change the curriculum and train staff.
Most critical of all are the educators themselves and those who lead them,
heading up the schools, colleges, universities and training providers
throughout the country. It is only through them that any government
recommendations can be turned into a beneficial reality.
This is a tri-pronged chance to understand and appreciate e-learning, to
realise the potential for HR in creating modern, efficient and workable
training, and to win over the key workers whose chalk-face roles can realise
the dreams and ideas from Whitehall.
Professor Saiad Medhat is chief executive of Productivity4you www.p4you.com