View from the board: e-ducation

Few would deny the internet has become integral to our lives, from
communicating with friends and colleagues to keeping up to date with news,
sports scores and share prices. And for some time now, it’s been playing a
significant role in CPD through e-learning.

In fact, a report just out from US industry analyst Ambient Insight last week
says that in the US alone, companies spent $ on e-learning products in
2007. In the UK, we’re following that trend as business and individuals wake up
to the benefits – both in cost and productivity terms – that learning
electronically can offer.

E-learning describes any form of learning that uses an ‘electronic’ platform
as opposed to traditional face to face learning – from CD ROMs to online
presentations to MP3 podcasts.

Delivery mechanisms aside, e-learning offers some useful advantages. As an
alternative to face-to-face courses, e-learning is cost-effective – not just in
terms of the cost of the product but also in terms of time saved out of the
office or travelling to a venue.

It is flexible, allowing you to learn whenever and wherever is convenient for
you – during a lunchtime at work, or back at home after you’ve put the kids to
bed. You can dictate the pace of learning and unlike classroom-based approaches
to training, are in control of your learning experience. As the CPD year end
draws to a close, e-learning presents a perfect opportunity for you to meet your
CPD requirements without having to book out blocks of time out of the office and
miss too many Christmas parties.

Predictions made during the boom that e-learning would replace
traditional learning have proved little more than hype. The reality is that
traditional face-to-face courses remain the most popular and effective way for
many people to learn – currently e-learning represents around 25% of all
corporate learning.

But the market is by no means embryonic and new buyers are demanding new
types of products. Just as for face-to-face courses, e-learning should be clear,
engaging and relevant and the learning environment must be intuitive, making it
easy for the user to navigate around the material and access specific topics.
Going forward, it will see more creative use of video through the influence of
websites such as youtube and the impact of social networking.

Stuart Warner is head of E-Learning at BPP Professional Eduction,

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