Last updated: 25.01.12

E-learning 'provides charities with affordable training solution'

Online learning could help charities provide affordable and effective solutions for the training of employees.

This is according to Martin Baker from The Charity Learning Consortium, who stated that continuing professional development is an issue that could be made easier and more efficient through the implementation of e-learning systems whereby staff can access information at their own pace without the need of extra company resourcing.

Writing for the Guardian's Voluntary Sector Network blog, Mr Baker said that social networking sites such a Facebook could even be used to share information between charity employees.

"In past recessions e-learning was seen as the saviour of learning and development purely on cost - only to fall out of favour when the good times came around again," the expert added.

"For a start, the internet has revolutionised the way that society communicates, forever. Technology is such a part of everyday life that the barriers to learning technologies are not anywhere near as great, even among the older generation. This has created a tech-savvy society with far higher expectations."

Mr Baker explained that the premise of online learning has evolved for the better in recent years, with the idea of spoon feeding as much information as possible to the user becoming somewhat obsolete. Nowadays, he said, education programs are increasingly carefully crafted and more useable.

Additionally, the expert commented that whether a charitable organisation uses its own online systems to deliver e-learning content or if Facebook is the preferred method, the cost will be in an area that is easily affordable for "cash-strapped" organisations.

Mr Baker's comments come in the wake of an announcement from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, which recently suggested that each member of staff should receive 40 hours of development training every year.

The organisation claimed that face-to-face and online training schemes should be a key point in the treatment of employees, with features including accessible mentoring and coaching projects for new and existing members of a workforce.