For every benefit of e-learning, there seems to be an equally strong reservation. How will these obstacles be overcome? The E-learning Conference and Exhibition in London on 7-8 June will explore some of the issues. By Patrick McCurry
Trainers are having to get to grips with a whole new range of challenges as e-learning becomes an increasingly important part of business strategy. Many of these themes will be explored at the E-learning Conference and Exhibition in London next month.
The conference comprises three streams - planning e-learning, implementing it and the content of e-learning programmes.
Each stream contains sessions suited to those researching the capabilities of e-learning, those who are just beginning to explore issues and those who are seasoned practitioners, says Tracy Pillay, conference producer for the event organiser Venture Marketing Group.
One of the keynote speakers at the conference, Unipart director of corporate affairs Frank Nigriello, says one of the challenges facing trainers is understanding the business benefits of e-learning.
Unipart’s experience, he says, has shown that e-learning can produce a greater depth of learning.
“Electronically enhanced techniques means people can discover more and they can do so in a ‘safe’ environment,” he says.
“In a classroom environment employees may feel inhibited but with a CD-Rom or intranet they have the space to make mistakes and experiment.”
The other key business benefits are speed and cost savings, he says.
For example, Unipart took a training module for using micrometers - precision measuring instruments used in engineering - and transferred it to an e-learning format.
The company found that a six-hour classroom-based course could be delivered in four 15-minute sessions on an intranet.
“It also gives us more flexibility because it means someone who knows a bit about the subject can join at session three or four or just tap into level four for a refresher,” says Nigriello.
Putting the training on-line has also meant cost savings by dispensing with the instructor.