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Feature: E-learning trends for 2004


As part of our focus on training trends for 2004, Tony Probert of Dotworld Communications predicts the five key drivers for e-learning in the coming year.

Feedback from the training industry indicates that business unit (BU)managers are increasingly not only the sponsors but the decision makers in today’s e-learning projects.

E-learning must deliver measurable benefits
This means the issues aren’t around standards, compatibility or re-usability of content but around effectiveness and the ability to deliver change that has tangible business benefits.

It also means that relevancy is the key e-learning issue going into 2004, as managers require solutions that are focused on their department or function’s specific needs rather than more generic corporate requirements.

Ten-minute learning objects will grow in popularity
E-Learning modules are getting shorter. One or two hour applications will be replaced with multiple short, highly relevant modules.

Designed to meet a specific need, they can be used in isolation, particularly when highly profiled to the individual or as one module in a larger strategic suite of solutions.

This modular approach not only delivers a learning solution that meets the participants expectation, but also addresses the conflicting needs of the organisation (interoperability) and the manager's requirement for relevancy.

Blending will move to ‘blurring’ learning solutions
The logical move to mixing e-learning with the classroom and alternative delivery methods will become more creative and ambitious as organisations add initiatives such as; coaching on demand, team collaboration, knowledge management, product encyclopedias, learning communities etc to the mix.

Where personal development stops and the organisational infrastructure starts will become increasingly blurred, as learning solutions are integrated deeper into the DNA of the organisation.

Market consolidation will continue
As the big software multinationals continue to put the mid market and small vendors under pressure, prepare to see more mergers and takeovers in 2004.

Although, the enthusiasm with which organisations like Siebel and Oracle joined the market appears to be waning, there is no doubt that it is strategically important for them to have a credible offering in the LMS market.

This means as these players get frustrated with lower than expected sales in the large corporate market sector they will go for the mid-corporate market as they did with CRM and this will put smaller vendors under increased pressure.

E-learning needs to demonstrate it makes a difference
Using analytics to measure the impact of e-learning on the organisation as well as the individual, based on ‘the total value gained from the investment’ rather than simply return on investment will become far more common.

This will be a result of organisations trying to be more sophisticated in the way they evaluate e-learning success.

As a result, what constitutes total value and how it is captured will be high on the agenda for most large e-learning project strategies in 2004.


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