If only we remembered half of what we learned. With companies focusing on corporate knowledge to create competitive advantage, it is no surprise that the growth of e-learning is skyrocketing. It is driving a quantum change in the nature of corporate training.
IDC forecasts e-learning content, delivery and solutions will grow tenfold between 2000 and 2004 (Corporate eLearning: Market Forecast and Analysis 2000, International Data Corp (IDC), Analysts: Sheila McGovern, Beatrice Sarraf, Oct 2000).
Although e-learning benefits are well documented, they are still treated with scepticism. Having spent over 20 years in classrooms, I understand that, yet I welcome a different approach if retention and skill levels can be increased more effectively.
The change in approach brings new challenges to HR managers. You must grapple with issues that were once the sole domain of IT. You will be tasked with working in a much different environment for new skills development, requiring the development of new roles such as the online tutor. And you will have a new level of control over organisational learning.
When it comes to e-learning decisiveness, many British organisations are akin to rabbits staring into headlights. This state of frozen indecision when faced with a sea change in technology has its root cause in several factors.
First and foremost, the number of vendors in this market is overwhelming. The M4 corridor is the first international port of call for most pre-IPO, "vulture" capital funded, Internet-bubble, "this is my first trip to Europe" US startups.
Much of what they offer is derived from partnerships and their claims overlap. The core of what they produce is often an impenetrable nugget in comparison to their inflated, wafer-thin, marketed shell. Their pre- and post-sales support in Europe can be paltry at best.
There are also numerous home-grown, single-customer solutions looking for second homes. The result is buyer confusion.
Second, our economy is top-heavy. There are a number of slow decision-making, international companies, few medium-sized firms and many small businesses. Medium-sized companies tend to move more quickly on new technology. In other countries they provide a springboa