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Seb Anthony

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I work in a local authorities Benefit office. A lot of the training we are sent now seems to be e-learning. This puts a lot of people off as many seem to have a block when it comes to self directed e-learnning. Do you use e-learning? If so, how do you get your staff to embrace it and how effective have you found it?
Craig Patching

2 Responses

  1. learning styles and culture
    Hi Craig

    E-learning provides an excellent resourse where the subject matter is predominantly “Knowledge” based rather than “Skill” based. Similarly it works well with certain people who’s preferred learning style matches the e-learning methodology.
    E-learning can work very well where the management culture supports it.

    E-learning is less effective for subjects that are skill based (with some exceptions such as systems type learning), it is less effective for folk who prefer a more active style and it falls totally flat as soon as a manager approaches someone undertaking a module at their workstations and says, “Haven’t you got any work to do?”.
    Similarly if the organisation has no cultureof e-learning you can’t expect people to suddenly embrace it overnight just because it is available.

    Many organisations overcome these issues by using a blended technique of e-learning, workshops, coaching and/or Action Learning sets. This approach covers all learning styles and provides depth and opportunity for self directed and facilitated learning. In this sort of approach however you still need to ensure that delegates do the e-learning if it is culturally new.

    I worked with two particular clients on blended programmes….with the first client (in the public sector)the take-up rate of the e-learning was about 15% of the delegates that actually turned up to the training workshops (this is another story, but the actual turn up rate at workshops was about 25% of bookings). The otehr client (in the professional services private sector) has a take up rate on the e-learning of around 95% and a turn up rate at workshops of around 90%. The former simply ask people to do the e-learning, the latter have a test at the end of the e-learning and actullay check it (as part of their IiP process), they also charge line managers for no-shows!

    I hope this helps


  2. Directing Self-directed Learning
    Hi Craig.

    I’ve been involved with e-learning for over 15 years now and at all times, I too have encountered issues around the notion of “self-directed” learning (not just with respect to e-learning either). Once when I worked with a large client on how they could increase the use of their e-learning resources, it became clear that the workforce were asking for “managed” self-managed learning, as they had no idea where to start.

    When this happens, it’s often not training method related, but more a systemic issue with how the personal development and appraisal process has been structured. People have been used to being “sent” on courses, not encouraged to think through their own development. And if the career management system is too rigid, then people lose faith that managing their own development will have any impact anyway.

    What reasons do your staff give as to why they have a “block” when it comes to this form of training? I actually believe that learning styles issues can be overcome by not only blending e-learning content with other methods, but by also informing learners how, regardless of their preferred learning style, they can embrace all forms of training. I did this way back in the 90s with my then retail bank employer and uptake rose considerably as result.

    More recently, I’ve been exposed to work in the area of behavioural preferences, that apply to the learning space too. Again, it’s possible to provide hints and tips for tackling self-study e-learning, when one understands how one prefers to learn. Keep it simple, show how they can involve others too, so that it’s not the solitary experience they first imagine and provide a supporting infrastructure. And make sure there is follow-through after each course. Now that doesn’t often happen either with face-to-face training, so it’s even more important that things happen after an e-learning programme.



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