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Any Answers Digest #3 – e-learning vs traditional methods, SVQs for adult carers, useful ice-breakers


TrainingZONE Any Answers Digest - Issue 3
Wednesday 16 January 2002

********** THIS WEEK'S TOPICS ***** THIS WEEK'S TOPICS **********
E-learning versus traditional methods?...SVQs for adult
carers...seeking useful ice-breakers...equal opps workshops...
********** THIS WEEK'S TOPICS ***** THIS WEEK'S TOPICS **********

Just two weeks into the new year, and already Any Answers has
seen 31 questions and 73 answers from 59 respondents at the time
of writing. The new facts box now appearing on the right hand
side of the Any Answers home page continually updates so you can
see how many people are posting and responding to questions.
It'll be interesting to see what the figures are by December
2002! In the meantime, make sure you're a statistic by helping
someone out with an answer, or getting that thorny question
answered once and for all. It's all possible now at

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What you asked this fortnight:
New questions posted include:

Can anyone recommend any good providers of training on dealing
with the press?, asks Gary Cookson

Does anyone know of an SVQ award for a member of staff who
supports families who 'foster' adults with mental health and/or
learning disabilities?, asks Ann Marie McKenna

Can anyone give me some ballpark figures for what the daily rate
would be for a training designer and classroom trainer in South
Africa?, asks Tim Drewitt

Got a question you need answered? Post it now, free of charge at

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Featured question: E-learning versus traditional methods?
Is e-learning an effective substitute for traditional corporate
training methods? How can you justify the elimination of social
interaction? Can e-learning be used in isolation or is a more
blended approach more effective? Has e-learning really made a big
difference? if so in what way? How do the supposed benefits
outweigh the drawbacks?
Question submitted by Laura Bryant

Members responses
Traditional methods have worked for many years, and have a proven
record. I believe that a blend can compliment eachother. Theory
can be delivered via e-learning. But teaching a person a 'job'
must be done practically, does it not state that people learn by
'doing the job' i.e. they teach themselves, we as trainers just
give them a 'nudge', we can also interact, and pass on
experiences. I hope the day never comes when the social
interaction and fun part of courses is taken over by a
computer!!. My view, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. On
saying this, I do see that we must move forward and embrace new
methods, to help the learner, but never, never must e-learning
replace 'OTHER METHODS' i.e. traditional.
Steve Dann


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

E-learning can certainly replace traditional methods but if it is
only seen as a substitute it will fail. E-learning should not be
approached as an adaptation of traditional methods to the web. It
is a new and unique animal and needs new creative approaches and
thinking. Even with traditional methods learners need to interact
and engage with the learning. If learners are not engaged with e-
learning it is not the responsibility of the e-coach to motivate
them but rather the job of the designer to offer the learner an
experience that not only invites the learner to engage with it
but is irresistible to them.

Blended learning solutions are not the answer. If a piece of e-
learning is not robust enough to stand alone then the inclusion
of real world social interaction will not solve the problem.
Mark Knight


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

The whole point about that it isn't about
teaching, it's about learning. Of course, you need people to be
motivated about learning online, otherwise it will fail. Those
who want to teach online need to understand the difference
between coaching and e-coaching, and believe me, there is a world
of difference in how you facilitate the learning process. What
the e-learning system does is allow a greater control over major
organisational training needs. It isn't about putting a
PowerPoint presentation online and getting people to sit and
watch, it isn't about doing a simple question-and-answer session
and check-box form on a website. True e-learning will only come
when you can transfer the classroom interaction and social
collaboration to an online environment. I have some more
information on this area if anyone wants it.
Douglas King


E-learning in isolation is not the answer - blended learning is!
We are social beings and like to interact, plus we get vital
insights in this way which e-learning just cannot replicate.
E-learning has its benefits, and some people love it.
But a word or warning. These alleged 33 percent better learning
statements. Most results are based on US college students - I've
yet to see any evidence produced across a whole organisation in a
busy - and noisy - workplace!
Colin Russell


Is e-learning the elimination of social interaction? No, no, no
and no again. Or only if you want it to fail. Mary is so so
right. E-learning without a blended solution will only work with
strongly self-motivated learners. Research estimates all of 4
per cent of us like to e-learn this way. To get e-learning
working more generally: make it part of a blended solution.
Example: Manchester Health Authority introduced e-learning, by
getting its people to commit to 20 weekly two hour classroom
sessions - using online materials, and using them in between
classes. This combined the structure and support of the
classroom with the flexibility of e-learning. The result: 89
percent completion, 92 percent exam pass rates (ECDL), 8 percent
productivity gain, 160 percent return on investment and massive
boost in morale. Virtually nobody with e-learning experience
now advocates using it in isolation. Use it where it works - as
part of a blended solution.
Henry Stewart


E learning must be used in conjunction with social learning I am
an Open University tutor on their course (code T171) which is
taught entirely online. It was the OU's first online course
introduced three years ago. Tutors have discovered that you can
teach an academic subject online, but social interaction is vital
if students are to get the most out of the course. So we have a
couple of face to face tutorials in the year and encourage
student self help groups to form as well.
I am also a psychologist and there is no doubt we are social
animals. Hence, e-learning may sound fine in theory, but it will
not work if course developers fail to take into account the
social needs of their students.
Graham Jones


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

Hi, I'm a training manager. Lots of people in our organisation
value 'traditional courses' as one of their few opportunities to
meet people from other parts of the organisation- gain insights
into the rest of the organisation to help them in their work - so
I'd be loath to replace all courses with e-learning. I've
started making e-learning courses available to people - the most
effective use has been when someone is desperate to learn
something but a traditional course is not running for a while or
they don't want to attend one/can't get to the venue easily. In
contrast- a pilot where we used e-learning instead of traditional
courses had much poorer take up and more importantly most people
dropped out.
Mary Worrall


Read the full discussion and add your own views at

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

Q - I'm working with a group of (male) engineers, who don't
particularly adhere to our equal opps. policy. Could anyone help
me with some ideas for training which would help to change their
perception of women, older people, ethnic minorities etc. They
are not out and out racist or sexist or ageist, however they are
somewhat old fashioned in their views. Thank you.
Ceri Bailey

A - Have you come across the Tale of 'O', suggests Graham Price
- I Don't know if you have used this video, but it gets the
message across in a humorous way.

Q - Has anyone ideas or resources that can help me to introduce
new warmers and ice-breakers into my training sessions?
Nigel Bould

A - Have you tried 1 to 1 interviews between delegates about
hopes/fears for course followed by plenary/flipchart feedback?,
suggests Bill Chadwick.

Bob Rice says, this ice-breaker is a bit long (about 20 min),
yet is great fun and works well. (see site for full details).

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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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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