Meet the experts

Manchester plays host to the UK’s only regional e-learning showcase. By Sue

Trawling exhibition halls may not be everyone’s idea of a fun day out, but
such events do give trainers a chance to see and talk with a range of
e-learning suppliers and, more importantly, sit and listen to those who have
experienced it first-hand and come out the other side – if not always smiling –
with valuable insight and advice to impart to the rest of us.

On 23-24 April at Manchester’s G-Mex Centre, Venture Marketing is staging
the e-learning Manchester Exhibition and Conference, the only regional learning
event in the UK. The main sponsor is ebc, based in Manchester and Milton
Keynes, one of the UK’s major custom content providers whose client list
includes DaimlerChrysler, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the NHS Executive.

In addition to the vendors and suppliers lining the aisles, a busy
conference programme will focus on how to practically apply e-learning
strategies to the business environment via real user case studies. US guru
Darin Hartley, author of Selling E-learning and On-Demand Learning, and
developer of new ventures at the American Society for Training and Development
opens the event.

The conference programme is split into four learning streams: planning,
content, implementation and, for the first time, higher education – a key theme
of the exhibition and conference reflecting the increasing use of technology
for learning in HE. Scotland in particular has been receptive to the idea of
technology-based learning and has the UK’s highest take-up rate.

"Academic institutions such as Heriot-Watt and St Andrews use
computer-based training for factual-based learning extensively in year one of
students’ courses," says Professor Cliff Beevers, co-director of the
Scottish Centre of Research for Online Learning and Assessment. You can see
what we can all learn from academia’s application of learning technologies when
he appears on the panel discussing effective assessment in an e-learning
environment on day two.

The public sector has become one of the first industries to embrace training
technology and the Government has instigated a set of challenging training
initiatives for the public sector to not only improve the quality of service,
but to aid staff retention. E-learning is seen as central to this and one of
the key speakers at Manchester is Neil Offley, project director, NHS Leadership
at the Department of Health, who will talk directly about the benefits
e-learning has brought to the NHS.

"As Europe’s largest employer with more than 1.1m employees, the NHS,
more than most, realises the benefits that e-learning brings to our training
and development," says Offley. "To be able to deliver these training
programmes in a cost-effective and efficient manner is all the more important
due to the current drive to modernise the public services." Offley will be
taking part in the seminar, See through the myth and hype: what can you expect
e-learning to deliver.

The banking and finance sector, of course, was one of the early adopters of
e-learning and a number of vendors to this sector will be present, including
KnowledgePool, which has recently completed a training programme for LloydsTSB
that encompasses compliance training for fraud and security, and the Adval
Group, which has produced a blended solution for business units within Barclays
Bank to provide ID certification.

"The banking sector has realised that for every £1 spent on e-learning
solutions for training, there is a £6 saving on traditional training
methods," says Dennis Quilter, CEO of the Adval Group. The company will be
offering a free seminar in the product demonstration theatre.

Overall, expect lots of lively discussion on e-learning’s hot topics, from
the contentious field of learning management systems and ROI and cost-benefit
analysis, through to technical issues, which are likely to be thrashed out for
all to hear.

For full details of the two-day conference seminar, and exhibitor list and
contact details, as well as advance booking, visit the E-learning Manchester
Alternatively, a conference brochure can be obtained by calling 020-8394 5131.

Essential facts

When: 23-24 April

Where: G-Mex Centre, Manchester

How to get there:
By road: the M602 link road from both the M6 and M62 is just one mile from
G-Mex. Entrance to the on-site NCP is in Lower Mosley Street.
By rail: Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria stations are a 15-minute walk from
G-Mex. Regular services run to these from London Euston, Birmingham New Street
and Glasgow Central.
By air: G-Mex is a 20-minute drive from Manchester International Airport; the
757 G-Mex shuttle bus runs every 30 minutes.

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