Your guide to e-learning: Applications of e-learning

E-learning
is being widely applied to improve the skills and knowledge of employees, but
the distributed reach of Internet technologies allows organisations to push
learning outside of their walls. Businesses understand that success is becoming
increasingly dependent on the performance of the extended enterprise comprised
of suppliers, partners and customers. The more knowledge these groups have
about your business, processes and products and services the more efficient
your organisation will become. In this section we look at e-learning’s role in
educating suppliers and also consider its applications in other areas of
business.

With
e-learning, there is now the potential to deliver, manage and measure the impact
of training inside and outside of the organisation using one centralised
system.

Educating
Employees

There
has been a much greater emphasis on training in recent years, and staff development
activity of all types has been increasing to address business critical areas
such as IT competencies, sales and channel performance, regulatory compliance,
customer and supplier education and managing change. E-learning has introduced
new approaches to complement and enhance classroom-based approaches to skills
development.

Educating
Suppliers

Many
businesses are dependent upon the efficiency of their supply chain to make
their businesses work effectively and profitably. Your suppliers need to have
up-to-date knowledge of your requirements to provide you with a better level of
service.

For
example, an automotive manufacturer works with several levels of component
suppliers to produce a vehicle. The more the component supplier understands the
manufacturing process, the more harmonised the combined process will become –
increasing platform efficiency and reducing wastage.

Working
closely with suppliers through knowledge sharing will bring them more in line
with your needs and build a stronger, more efficient and more sustainable
relationship.

Educating
Customers

Companies
have always educated their customers about their products, but the Internet
allows you to reach out and educate more customers in a consistent and timely
way. If your products confuse a customer they are unlikely to buy, but if you
can help your customer make more educated choices, they are more likely to keep
coming back to you.

You
can consider using e-learning to offer extra value to your customers direct
through your Website. A major potential benefit is a decrease in the cost of
servicing the customer through other means such as call centres. The danger is
that if you don’t educate your customers your competitors will.

Educating
Partners

Your
business may involve various partners to distribute and sell your products and
services, such as value-added resellers, wholesalers and retailers. They will
need to have a detailed understanding of your products and processes to make it
all work.

E-learning
can help you to build and manage an effective channel by delivering timely and
consistent training to your partners no matter where they are. Any updated
information can be made immediately available to all. In this way, e-learning
strengthens your partner relationships making it less likely they will choose
to distribute someone else’s products.

Ford
Design Institute

Ford Motor
Company’s Design Institute (FDI), based in Michigan, USA, IS using e-learning
to get nearly 20,000 engineers and technical employees through 160 hours of
training in four years.

Objective:

Ford’s
diverse and geographically distributed workforce requires a variety of training
courses, but found attending 2-3 day classroom courses increasingly difficult.
A new approach to training was required that still had to fulfil, measure and
monitor Ford’s objectives for each participant

Solution:

Using
Solstra (the LMS behind easycando), Ford engineers can now take online
assessments, book instructor-led courses or a Computer Based Enhancement course
while FDI can monitor their performance, track progress and qualify them based
on both content knowledge and experience. Participants are enjoying the new way
of learning, dipping in and out of different course sections, from advice to
reference materials and then back to training.

To
date, over 20,000 licensed participants have used e-learning spread across the
United Kingdom, the United States and Germany.

Your
guide to e-learning was published with Personnel Today on 3 April 2001. Written
by Paul English of Futuremedia Plc. Contibutors: Laurence Scotford, Chris
Robinson, Kay Philips

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