Online with interest

Clayton, a specialist in professional development at Gartmore Investment
Management, explains how an off-beat approach won over newcomers and bought
their commitment

in touch with current legislation and ensuring that all staff receive regular
training updates is a key issue for HR departments across the financial
services sector.

the sector is exposed to enormous scrutiny, and that examination is likely to become
even more intense when the Financial Services Authority receives its full
powers later this year.

our 850 staff and equipping them with the necessary skills and information to
advise on the wide range of investment products we offer at Gartmore is
critical to our reputation.

the past decade we have won numerous awards and our funds have consistently
out-performed the competition. It’s a reputation we’re in no mind to surrender.

recognise that innovation is crucial if we are to maintain this competitive
advantage – not just across our product offering, but also in the development
of our staff – so we are always looking for ways to improve the content of our
training and the way in which it is delivered. Recently we turned to e-learning
provider Wide Learning for help with this.

year we take on around 100 new entrants with varying levels of knowledge of
financial products. As part of their training programme all will be invited to
attend a classroom-based, two-day Introduction to Fund Management training

this is at a basic level, we still find that some participants have a better
understanding of the financial markets and terminology than others.


two such groups in a classroom is not ideal; those who have a basic knowledge
feel frustrated that others are slowing them down, while those who are starting
from scratch may feel too embarrassed to ask questions.

address this we investigated ways of tackling the knowledge gap, and after
careful research we purchased a number of Wide Learning’s interactive CD-Roms
to complement our classroom-based training.

Making Investment Work product aims to give everyone a common knowledge level
before they start the classroom sessions. It has five modules, each
approximately 40 minutes long and provides users with a basic introduction to
finance – running through assets, liabilities and risks before moving on to
different types of investments – and introduces the associated terminology.

course combines animations that you wouldn’t normally expect to see in a
financial context with a straight talking audio overlay to cut through much of
the jargon that can all too often become a feature of the financial world.

one scene a Bedouin trader and a pyramid are used to describe a balanced
investment portfolio, another uses a man in a boat and a waterfall to
illustrate the concept of wealth.

only does the juxtaposition of financial terminology on these rather surreal
animations make the learning experience enjoyable, but it also results in a
strong recall as the tests at the end of each module prove.

the modules have been designed so that people can take them at their own pace.
None are compulsory, but we hope that, by actively empowering people to take
ownership of their own training, they will be more motivated and thus more
inclined to learn. The results to date have been positive.


Squire has been working with Gartmore for two years, initially with IT then the
corporate communications team.

January Squire transferred from the IT department to marketing and is now
responsible for developing presentations for the client sales team.

this capacity she needs to have a good understanding of all Gartmore’s
financial products.

I had worked in banking in South Africa and had some familiarity with the
terminology, I didn’t want to make any false assumptions and was keen to learn
everything from scratch.

found that the graphics and interactivity were helpful in giving me a good
understanding of the financial services industry.

the course is virtual I have been able to dip into it when it suits me, and
have successfully combined it with my scheduled formal training,” she says.


created the course using an instructional design process which is based in the
psychology of the student teacher relationship,” says Wide Learning’s Richard

of the criticisms of many e-learning products is that they are flat and don’t
deliver the quality of training that you’d find in a classroom.

our understanding of the interaction between the student and teacher means we
can make learning products which are incredibly effective on a computer. Branching
logic, which allows the user to respond to a scenario in multiple ways, brings
the benefits of one-on-one tuition at a fraction of the cost”.

Learning is now more enjoyable

wanted a product that would demystify the financial services industry and
increase its accessibility to all our new entrants. Wide Learning’s products
more than meet the brief – they make learning enjoyable.

first we were a little concerned that some of the animations were so different to
the course material that they would become a distraction rather than an aid to
learning, but we found the opposite to be true. They created a real excitement
and point of interest. 

we have no current plans to replace the two-day classroom-based course with
e-learning, the Making Investment Work modules have proved to be a very
effective support for those who are new to the world of financial services.

introducing the CD-Rom we have asked Wide Learning to develop a range of other
e-learning products. They are close to completing a series of modules on money
laundering which will actually replace the class-based training we give our
staff and, in the coming months, will be helping us to develop further online
learning materials which staff will be able to access over the Internet.

Investment Work as one module of Gartmore Investment Management’s professional
development programme
Designed by: Wide Learning, 8-11 Crescent, Tower Hill, London EC3N 2LY
Tel: 020-7954 4000, Fax: 020-7954 4001,

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