Organisations wary of rushing to e-learning

The
majority of organisations find it difficult to implement e-learning within
their training and development initiatives, according to new research.

Carried
out by Ashridge Business School, E-learning: the Findings and the Future, is
based on detailed interviews with a variety of organisations including the BBC,
Lloyds TSB, the Ministry of Defence and Xerox Europe.

The
research shows that while 86 per cent of organisations believe e-learning is an
effective training approach, it remains a challenging issue, with 82 per cent
saying it is difficult to introduce.

The
main barriers to e-learning among the organisations interviewed were technology
problems, lack of time for training, under-estimation of resources required and
resistance of staff to engage in e-learning as well as a negative image of
e-learning – often created by suppliers.

Despite
this, the research shows that many organisations were using e-learning
effectively.

These
organisations exhibited a number of common success factors including:


cultural change has taken place about how training and learning happens and is
delivered


closely aligning e-learning to the needs to the business


e-learning being closely ‘blended’ with other types of training such as classroom
activities – not using it to wholly replace other activities


learning needs drive the technology rather than the other way around


e-learning has ongoing support at a senior level and is marketed effectively
throughout the organisation


the setting up of an effective e-learning capability involves a range of people
with different skills including expert trainers, facilitators, champions of
e-learning and specialist web and graphic designers.

"The
initial wild enthusiasm for e-learning has given way to a much more cautious approach,"
said Andrew Ettinger, director of Learning Resources at Ashridge and co-author
of the research.

"E-learning
is not the silver bullet as many people were led to believe. It can be highly
effective, but only when implemented properly as part of an overall learning
process.

"A
slower pace of development for e-learning should be welcomed, as it should give
organisations the time to focus on what really matters – the creation of an
organisational environment that truly values learning."

By Quentin Reade

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