Professional dilemmas

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I have a portion of the workforce that is largely computer-illiterate. I have
seen an e-learning course module that would be appropriate for them. Can you
give me any advice about preparing them for the new method of learning, or am I
barking up the wrong tree with the idea?

Some might say you’re mad! I suspect you’ve been taken in by those providers
who suggest that e-learning is some sort of panacea. It isn’t. Granted, it can
be highly effective, but it generally works best when used to remind people
what they learned during an instructor-led session rather than to teach something
from scratch.

This doesn’t mean to say it can’t be done. I suggest you take those who
aren’t conversant with computers and arrange for them to have some
instructor-led tuition on basic computer usage. Following this, the instructors
should spend some time introducing and familiarising the group with how
computer-based training works – slowly leading and encouraging them through the
doorway (portal, if you want to get technical) to the learning environment.

The great benefit of CBT is that learners can proceed at their own pace and
re-visit as many times as they wish until they have mastered the content. This
should be explained to them because it will make them feel warmer towards it.
It might help if the portal is something they can relate to – perhaps a book
with pages that appear to turn. If they don’t feel comfortable, they won’t
learn and you won’t achieve your business objectives.

If you’re not convinced that instructor-led tuition is fundamental for this
group, cast your mind back to when you first started using a computer. Weren’t
you full of trepidation in case you pressed the wrong thing and did something
terminal? Weren’t you frustrated when you couldn’t make it do what you wanted?
Wasn’t there a certain amount of fear every time you hit the return key? Didn’t
you find it easier to be shown what to do rather than trying to work your way
around using a manual? I rest my case.

Response provided by Brian Carroll, UK Director of X.HLP

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