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E-Learning Study Forecasts Growth in Informal Learning Networks


New research shows that organisations are widely planning to invest in informal learning networks.

Three out of four employers who use e-learning for staff training plan to significantly increase their use of informal networks over the next three years, according to e-skills UK research.

The study highlights how organisations use and benefit from different types of e-learning, identifies critical success factors for e-learning success, and considers future trends.

More than 200 organisations across all sectors as well as 1,000 individuals were interviewed. Key findings include:

  • Eight in ten employers said e-learning provides a uniquely accessible, flexible and cost-effective method of delivering training.

  • E-learning allows organisations to respond rapidly to changing business needs with appropriate skills development, and increases morale and professional confidence among employees.

  • E-learning is used to support training in a wide range of skills, including communications, leadership and management, foreign language training, IT (both for technology professionals and those who use IT in their day to day jobs), health and safety and a wide range of company specific programmes.

Laura Overton, based at e-skills UK and e-learning champion for the Skills for Business Network, said: "In today's increasingly mobile and flexible business environment, e-learning supports tailored, 'just-in-time' learning that can be accessed quickly, widely and cost-effectively by staff regardless of where they are and their hours of work.

"The electronic delivery and support of formal training has been shown to make a significant contribution to staff productivity and motivation. Informal learning is being used by staff to share knowledge between widely dispersed teams in a way that is not easily captured through more traditional methods."

The study identified critical success factors for the introduction and use of e-learning, including a commitment to learning from senior management, the right IT infrastructure, effective internal management and support, and the sourcing of appropriate e-learning materials.

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