E-learning advances overstated

by 15 Apr 2008

MORE THAN half of learning and development managers (57 per cent) now offer e-learning as part of their training provision. However, there remain continuing doubts about its effectiveness, according to a UK study.

When asked to list the top three most effective training practices, only 7 per cent of respondents mentioned e-learning.

For respondent organisations using e-learning, it is on average available to 60 per cent of employees, but taken up by only half of them. And only 30 per cent are reported as completing courses. The issues of e-learning are clearly defined: almost all organisations agree e-learning is more effective when combined with other forms of learning (95 per cent) and that it demands a new attitude on the part of the learner (92 per cent).

“E-leaning is here to stay: over the last decade it has become a permanent feature of the training and learning landscape. However, we still have a long way to go to embed it effectively in the organisation. It’s clear from our survey that it is still not fully appreciated by learners or by training managers,” said Martyn Sloman, learning and development adviser for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), which conducted the study.

“Simply saying we support blended learning solutions is not enough. We must work much harder to integrate e-learning into broader learning and performance support activities,” Sloman said. “The best organisations are doing this, but the worst are simply making e-learning available to the individual on their PC and hoping that something will happen as a result. E-learning is about learning not technology.”

Sloman said that businesses need to remember that technology is there to support people management and development strategies, not replace them.

Despite e-learning apprehension from both employers and employees, e-learning usage continues to rise: nearly half (48 per cent) agree it’s been the most important development in training in the last few years and almost one-third (29 per cent) say that in the next three years between 25–50 per cent of all training will be delivered remotely.

Not surprisingly, large employers are more likely to use e-learning: organisations with more than 5,000 employees have an uptake of 79 per cent, whereas those with fewer than 250 have a 39 per cent uptake. There is also an overwhelmingly larger amount of public sector organisations that use e-learning (82 per cent) compared with the private sector (49 per cent).


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