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Any Answers Digest #1 – cultural issues and e-learning, online succession planning, utilising Intranets for training


TrainingZONE Any Answers Digest - Issue 1
Wednesday 28 November 2001

....The cultural issues attached with introducing e-learning to
a business... online succession planning tools... utilising
Intranets for effective interactive training........

Welcome to the first edition of our brand new Any Answers
Digest, which every two weeks will bring you a digest of the hot
issues being talked about in the training and development

As one of the most active areas of TrainingZONE, Any Answers
attracts a wide range of questions and answers from the community
every day. Edited for you so it's easy to read, compact and to
the point, the Any Answers Digest brings you the latest
discussion topics straight to your inbox. You'll automatically
receive two copies of this digest - to continue to receive it
free of charge, we just ask that you profile yourself on the
site at

Any questions or comments, please e-mail the editor at
mailto:[email protected]

What you asked this fortnight:
New questions posted include:

How do others approach training staff in using their computer
system?, asks Phil Knott

Please can someone tell me how to draw up a good e-learning
strategy for a newly created department, asks Karen McKee

There's lots of stuff around about e-learning but what about
mentoring on line? Has anyone got any experience of it or know
any good references on it?, asks Frances Storr

Click on the link to respond to any of the questioners now.

Featured question:
What are the cultural issues attached with introducing e-learning
to a business? Products and portals aside, what are the human
factors we need to consider when introducing e-learning to an

Question submitted by Rob Foster

Members responses

(Edited version appears - see the site for the full text)

Here are a few important things:

1) Know your audience. We were commissioned to deliver some e-
learning modules for doctors, but researching their attitudes to
online revealed that their levels of IT skill are mixed and their
access to the web is fragmented - we had to develop something
which addressed these needs before we could deliver e-learning

2) Community. People like to learn from each other i.e. peer-to-
peer. The beauty of online is that it allows you to facilitate
more and better communication between them. Will they learn more
from your training module or by opening a discussion with two
others who are facing the same challenges?

3) Learning styles. If you are starting from scratch it would be
a great shame to end up with boring pages of text with dull
multiple choice assessments and 'back' and 'forward' buttons. Ask
instead for something that really takes advantage of the medium.

Tris Benedict Taylor


E-learning is fundamentally about learning, it is facilitated or
delivered using technology - the same human factors apply to 'e'
learning as to traditional learning. E-learning should not, and
probably will not, replace traditional face-to-face learning
methods. What organisations must remember is that there should be
a Fusioning approach which encompasses people, process and
technology aspects. An important question to ask in order to
ascertain whether e-learning could work, is whether the culture
of the company and its employees are open to change and the use
of technology?

Katherine Jones


I suspect that, as other respondents have noted, the cultural
forces at play are similar whether or not it's e or non-e
learning happening. Our experience in delivering blended learning
for senior management development is that culture has played a
much bigger part than we expected in the struggle or ease to get
a new method of learning embedded. Although Hofstede (and others)
differentiate national from corporate culture I think it is worth
reviewing his dimensions and asking where we can predict
reactions from the culture and its inhabitants.

Clive Hook


(Edited version appears - see the site for the full text)

The human factors you have to consider in introducing e-learning
are in many ways more important than they are in classroom

Privacy: The Internet is a much more intimate and personal medium
than the classroom. Respect the intimacy.

Security: Online learners know that their performance is more
open to scrutiny (and abuse) than in the classroom.

Techno-wariness: Don't put barriers where they do not need to be.

Social networking: The best reason for putting learning on the
Web is its power to connect people with people.

Empowerment and responsibility: It's hard to find the discipline
and self-motivation to get into an e-learning curriculum.

Service and support: When e-learners have an administrative or
technical problem, they need help immediately.

Godfrey Parkin


(Edited version appears - see the site for the full text)

I'm particularly concerned by the support pro-actively given to
the passive learner. Many keen e-learners will make good use of
the support/coaches available, so they are less of a worry. But
it's the inactive learners - those most at risk of dropping out -
that really need the support.

The introduction of e-learning needs to have strong support from
the top. It's not sufficient to roll it out and expect staff to
get on with it.

My final thought is about the company's expectations of when
people with undertake online learning. There seems to be an
inherent assumption in some organisations that because e-learning
is 'anywhere, anytime', staff can squeeze it into 'off-moments'
or even do it in their own time at home. This mentality needs to
be strongly challenged. As with any learning programme, planning
it and protecting the time for it plays an important role in its

Tim Pickles

Read the full discussion and add your own views at

Any Answers Answered:
This fortnight, new responses have been added to the following questions:

Q - What accreditation organisations are out there for IT
training teams?
A -Tim Pickles and Jeffrey Brooks suggest the CPD Business School
and ITOL

Q - Can anyone help locate some online succession planning tools?
A - Maggie Mosley suggests trying

Q - How can we best utilise our Intranet for effective
interactive training?
A - Anita Wild advises linking intranet training with other
methods to get the best of all worlds, Gareth Pugh says it's
important to define your training requirements at this stage

Q - What is the European equivalent of the CIPD Certificate in
Training Practice?
A - Megan Borysiewicz Cole says there isn't one, but says that
the old CTP equivalent, ITD Certificate was considered useful by
contacts in other European countries

Any Answers would cease to function without all those who
regularly share their knowledge and experience. If you've
benefited from receiving advice from an Any Answers question but
have yet to post a response yourself, why not do your bit by
responding to one of the questioners now at

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receiving the TrainingZONE LearningWire. The first two issues
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digest in the future, please profile yourself at

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Copyright (c) 2001 Sift Group Ltd. All rights reserved.
May be reproduced in any medium for non-commercial purposes as
long as attribution is given.

TrainingZONE, 100 Victoria Street, Bristol BS1 6HZ
Tel:+44 (0)117 915 9600 Fax:+44 (0)117 915 9630 ISSN 1474-2225


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