Last updated: 13.07.12

Companies 'can improve staff skills' with distance learning online

Employers are finding they can improve the skill set of their staff through online training courses.

Director of media consultancy firm Stephen Hoare wrote in Education Guardian that many people are taking part in distance learning online because they wish to develop their roles in industries including nursing, finance, law and banking.

Furthermore, virtual learning environments provide networking opportunities to participants, he remarked, highlighting the appearance of internet forums enabling online training students to discuss academic or course matters with students in rival businesses.

HSBC corporate banking analyst Dan Hiskey described these discussion boards as "an amazing professional network" in the article.

He revealed the online learning course he took part in dealt with basic elements of his industry and featured assignments in which he was encouraged to refer to workplace tasks.

"Theories are no longer theories: I can apply them to my everyday job," he added.

Distance learning courses can be adapted to deal with the educational needs of busy adults and can provide them with instructors based on their personalised needs, Mr Hoare asserted.

He pointed to archaeology as a career that can be "notoriously hard to break into" but declared that former lorry driver Bob Willis is attempting to do so.

Mr Willis managed to network with his lecturers and fellow students through distance learning online and has begun to volunteer on archaeological projects.

He stated that he is now in a "good position to find work" after learning remotely and has toiled next to some of Britain's "foremost experts on Roman glass".

Furthermore, the budding archaeologist takes part in projects on "many sites" and believes working with professionals in the field is helping him to improve his knowledge base.

A number of other skilled jobs can benefit or be secured though e-learning, with Rochdale Online recently reporting that online training courses helped HDM Engineering's Aaron Davies complete an apprenticeship.