E-learning is over-hyped, say firms

UK companies feel that e-learning has been over-hyped but still has an important role, according to a new survey

Half of UK firms surveyed feel that e-learning has been over-hyped, according to a report from the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Despite many concerns about overselling, all the organisations said e-learning had an important role to play in their educational strategies. Many demonstrated resource savings. None of the companies indicated that they would reduce their e-learning spending.

However, despite the successes enjoyed by the companies surveyed for the report, success of e-learning courses is hard to evaluate, the CIPD noted. Frequently the issue of tracking is ignored because of lack of resources. The reasons given for difficulty in measuring e-learning include a feeling that organisations don't wish to use different methods of evaluation to classroom-based methods, and a nervousness that people might feel that they were being observed by 'big brother' style intrusion if monitoring was too obvious.

Several of the organisations in the survey said they used systems with built-in tracking and recording. The Royal Bank of Scotland for instance, which created a bespoke evaluation e-learning management system built in tracking of completion of learning, online assessments and requests for learning materials.

For companies who do not have the resources to develop their own bespoke evaluation systems, management solutions provider Saba this week launched Saba Analytics, a tool designed to enable businesses to analyse and improve their e-learning programmes.

A development manager from another company surveyed said the solution had less to do with technology. "Our overall measure for all training is whether a person has been successfully up-skilled to carry out the job and can apply the skills they have learnt back in the workplace. This will be the same whether it is e-learning or classroom based."

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