Councils collaborate to share e-learning skills

A new e-learning network that
will help UK local authorities to cut training costs dramatically is being
introduced this year.

The joint venture
between the local government Improvement and Development Agency and e-learning company
Epic Group will provide councils with instant access to e-learning packages
produced by other authorities.

Susan Biddle, the
IDeA’s head of workforce development, is optimistic that the initiative will
help cut the £500m a year spent on staff development by the UK’s 400-plus
councils. She said, "It can cost tens of thousands to produce one hour of
e-learning material so it makes sense to let everyone know what’s already out
there and make it available across the country. It will avoid dozens of authorities’
HR departments beavering away in isolation to re-invent the wheel. This project
will help share knowledge, spreading good practice, staff training and
development materials."

Authoring software
will enable each council to create its own e-learning content to place on the
system and the network will allow users to access and download its own and
other councils’ e-learning programmes. It is being funded by £400,000 each from
IDeA and Epic.

Rita Sammons, chief
personnel and training officer for Hampshire County Council, thinks the project
will allow councils to work together to provide better and cheaper staff

She said, "We are
totally committed to e-learning and the sharing of expertise through exploiting
the Internet." She added that the project would help "move local
government forward in sharing knowledge and learning throughout the country."

By Ben Willmott

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