Last updated: 29.03.12

Australian govt 'embracing e-learning'

E-learning is being embraced by the Australian government as it looks to improve the methods it uses for staff training.

According to Government News, several departments, including the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and the Australian Electoral Commission, will begin using the method for educating their employees.

The administration has enlisted the help of consultant ILX Group to assist with the training programme and country manager for Australia and New Zealand Michelle Phillips said using e-learning for training purposes has many advantages.

It can be tailored so it is unique to each department and the fact that staff can learn remotely will cut the travel and accommodation costs associated with traditional training sessions.

"Research by ILX highlights that departments can save up to 40 per cent on training programme costs by using e-learning techniques over traditional training methods," she stated.

Using e-learning enables staff to progress through sessions at their own pace and at a time that suits them and Ms Phillips explained staff are likely to be more receptive to it than they are to the "'text-on-screen' approach" to learning, which leaves workers "uninspired".

"Learners are able to repeat sessions to develop a better understanding of each module without holding back the rest of their class," she stated.

AusAid and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship are also making use of online learning facilities and such offerings are also in use within UK government.

A report released by the National Audit Office (NAO) late last year revealed HM Revenue and Customs is currently the biggest user of the virtual classroom and spent a total of £96 million on staff development in 2010-11, offering 723 e-learning courses.

However, just over half (54 per cent) of staff had the ability to access online learning offerings where needed, the NAO report showed, indicating access still needs to be improved.