Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. E-learning is about people, not just saving company moneyOn 13 May 2003 in Personnel Today E-learning will only prove beneficial to those companiesthat put people ahead of cost savings. Remember, what works in a traditionalclassroom is not necessarily going to work on a desktop in an isolated officeE-learning is thriving in the public sector, with the Government puttingtechnology at the heart of education. In January, education secretary Charles Clarke announced that schools wouldbe given an extra £280m for e-learning credits to be spent on approved digitalresources listed on the Government’s new online resources catalogue, calledCurriculum Online. The cash that is emerging from government coffers into e-learning isn’t justrestricted to local education authority and college budgets. Since December2002, more than 250,000 UK police officers have been accessing the force’sintranet, either with a CD-Rom or over the internet, learning about improvingdiversity and community race relations. Nevertheless, despite the advent of ‘anytime, anywhere’ training and itsvirtues – gains in savings, efficiency and productivity, for example –e-learning in the private sector just hasn’t had the same success as it hasexperienced in the public sector. According to The realities of corporate LMS 2003, new research frome-learning market analyst and consultancy eLearnity, many corporates viewe-learning with suspicion. The most significant barriers to its roll-out, theysay, are cultural acceptance, level of usage, data quality and lack of internalresources. In my opinion, the root of this suspicion can be linked to two commonmisconceptions: people tend to disregard the needs of the user, the mostimportant component of e-learning; and they see e-learning as a mere exercisein cost saving. These are misguided and they are intrinsically connected. How is it that the all-important user gets left out of the e-learningequation? The problem is that traditional learning is too often replaced withonline training with little diligence. I’ve seen organisations implementinge-learning material as if it were classroom-based: they set up a group ofemployees in a lab with PCs and tell them to train there for four hours a week.They are expected to just get on with it. There’s no live instructor, nointeraction among trainees – just a bunch of people in a room, using computers.This approach fails to acknowledge that some employees find it hard to learnin isolation. It also fails to help the practical learner overcome difficultiessuch as IT illiteracy and unfamiliar terminology. Taking this approach toe-learning will not only isolate the user, but will also give them theimpression that it is merely about downloading sophisticated programs. It is important to understand that when it comes to e-learning, that whatworks in a classroom is not necessarily going to work on a desktop. HR managersshould understand that some online courses might be inferior to traditionalclassroom training. Teaching interpersonal skills or first aid are goodexamples. It is crucial not to view e-learning as a mere exercise in cost saving. Thisundermines one of its biggest benefits – adding value to the business. It istrue that companies will save money by avoiding travel costs, lost work timeand scheduling conflicts. But at the same time, it is important to remember e-learning’sother real benefits. It offers effective learning for individuals at aconvenient time and at the same time supports business objectives. E-learning needs to be about aligning personal and corporate performancealong with driving up standards. It is also a powerful way of investing inemployees and ensuring they have the right knowledge to perform optimally. Above all, e-learning is an excellent means of supporting the organisation’soverall performance. To do this, HR managers need to identify theorganisation’s needs and understand the benefits they want to gain from thetechnology. Having a plan in place to invest in employees and matching it toyour organisation’s business needs is the key. Ultimately, getting the most out of e-learning requires the content to befocused on supporting business goals as well as individual development needs.Explore the potential benefits of e-learning rather than putting the emphasison cost savings. As aptly conveyed by Charles Clark, e-learning is “notjust about the kit, but about what you use it for and how you use it”. www.sap.com/educationBy Lisa Clark, Education services director, SAPUK Related posts:No related photos.