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UK and US companies see different advantages in e-learning, says survey


With companies on both sides of 'the pond' increasingly considering e-learning as a method of delivery, new research reveals that they have very different priorities when it comes to examining the advantages e-learning may be able to offer.

According to the study, conducted by e-learning developers ebc, UK companies expect more from e-learning than saving time or money. With 42 per cent of those questioned currently in the planning phase of implementing e-learning in their organisation, the main drivers behind those initiatives are to offer an alternative to traditional methods of delivery - working to acomodate different learning styles, and, interestingly, to increase revenue. Cutting costs and overcoming geographical problems came next down the list, with only 9 per cent introducing e-learning to save time or accomodate working patterns.

A similar survey, conducted in the USA by the Masie Center found that 66 per cent of US companies adopted an e-learning strategy to save time, with 46 per cent aiming to decrease their training budget.

ebc's Robin Hoyle comments: "In the Masie study, instructional design was the least popular reason for investing in e-learning, where as in our survey of UK companies, it ranked joint first with revenue growth. Evidently, UK businesses appreciate the benefit of e-learning in terms of providing a new way of training, which will add value to the business by equipping their staff with new skills." He added: "The danger of seeing e-learning in terms of saving money and time alone, is that companies forget that e-learning cannot, and should not even attempt to replace instructor led training. UK companies are beginning to recognise that e-learning is a powerful and efficient training method, which needs to be blended into the training process."

The survey did not examine how companies expected to increase revenue through e-learning, but it suggests that at least some organisations have researched their expected return on investment from e-learning.

ebc questioned representatives from 100 organisations - among them, the British Medical Association, Legal & General, Carlsberg Tetley, Budget Rent a Car International, Sainsbury's and Xerox Ltd - at an event held earlier this year. Just over half of those questioned said that all of the people working in their organisation used a computer on a daily basis, with 53 per cent of learners with a computer at their desk having access to the internet.

When asked how the majority of training was delivered in their organisation, 45 per cent of respondents said that more than 75 per cent of training was delivered by short trainer-led courses. Only 12 per cent were using traditional methods for less than a quarter of their training delivery.


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