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Wide Learning: combining classroom and e-learning

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Given that Wide Learning's Head of Content Martin Mitchell presented a talk at WOLCE entitled 'web-based versus traditional training methods - is it really a competition?', it was interesting to hear from him about a pilot programme the company have been undertaking to prove this doesn't have to be the case:

"We're trying to integrate classroom and e-learning. We're conducting a pilot project on this for a financial services exam which normally takes 7 days in classroom, but which has been reduced to only 2 days using a combination of classroom tutoring, web modules and a self-assessment workbook.

12 modules are undertaken, at which point the workbook picks up and builds on what has been learned. Those taking the course then take a mock-type exam to prove that they have reached a certain level, then they are put into the classroom. The classroom tutoring consolidates what's been learnt, and has the advantage that the tutor knows the standard which has been reached, and can be briefed on any problems beforehand.

The workbook has shrunk from 300 pages of A4 to 120 pages of A5. The results of the pilot showed a 90% pass rate compared to around 60% for the traditional course, and we've also found that people are enjoying it!"

On a more general note, Mitchell agreed that "there are lots of people looking for customers" in the e-learning world. Wide Learning do have a slightly different focus in that they concentrate on financial content, including budgeting, accountancy and business decision-making.

Mitchell added that there are are three strands to Wide Learning's business: set courses, tailored courses made up of a series of modules, and providing Business-to-Business-to-Consumer content, i.e. providing companies with bursts of short, snappy training for distribution on their websites. The latter, known as Quicksights, consist of 3-minute animated training modules which can be used to give advice to customers on how to manage their money and work with a broker, and help to explain issues like ISAs, OEICs and unit trusts. Interactive Investor International (http://www.iii.co.uk) has signed up to add the Quicksights sessions to its site, as has online broker DLJ Direct.


Background notes about Wide Learning:
Founded in 1997 by a team of finance, media and technology professionals, e-learning company Wide Learning is based in London and New York. Specialising in financial training, Wide Learning course content is developed by a team of ex-City practitioners and experienced financial training tutors.

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