Wrath of the regulator

Because of regulatory changes, the financial services sector has no choice
other than to adopt e-learning, says Wide Learning’s Jan Hagen.  But other sectors would do well to pay heed
to such impetus

Over the last few years there have been many predictions about the rocket
development of the e-learning market. Every year there were plenty of reasons
why this market was a bit slower in developing than expected, but next year it
would be massive. Why then did it not happen so quickly? Why then is it now
suddenly taking off? There are some entirely logical answers here.

Firstly, let’s consider the rapid growth that failed to materialise. This is
largely due to the fact that it takes a lot of time to change an approach to
learning and while it is easy to sell the benefits of e-learning to management,
it is not so easy to sell it to an end user. Added to this, much of the
learning was poorly designed. A lot of ‘learning’ companies sold management
features rather than effective learning, ensuring a dismal learning experience
and so a cynical marketplace.

Why then, you may ask, is e-learning top of the agenda in many financial
services firms right now? It now makes sense to buy into e-learning because a
need has emerged that is most effectively solved by an e-learning-based
solution. The changed regulatory structure in the financial services sector
puts a difficult obligation on the industry. There is a need to quickly
communicate the intricacies of a changed regulation to everyone within an
organisation, making sure that everybody understands what these changes mean
for them as individuals and generate reports on individual progress to satisfy
the regulator. On top of that, there is a need to test a large section of staff
on their actual competence to do their job.

And when you have solved all of that, you have to do the same thing at least
every two years. The only way of doing all this effectively – without bankrupting
or seriously disrupting the work a company does to earn a living – is by using
a technology-based solution.

As always, a product or an industry will benefit when there is a genuine
need for its products. Obviously, the same thing is happening as before. Again
there are companies who see this opportunity as a way of making some fast money
and they jump in and quickly roll out some e-learning training. A few tips are:
check their learning design strategy – how do they ensure learning outcomes are
met? Check their understanding of compliance and last, but certainly not least,
check how they are going to assess the ongoing competence of your staff. Just a
few courses may be enough right now, but certainly will not be sufficient
within a few months’ time.

Jan Hagen is director of e-learning sales at Wide Learning – www.widelearning.com

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