Last updated: 05.11.11

Integrated strategies 'make e-learning a success'

Companies should devise an integrated internal strategy to go alongside their e-learning training programs, according to one online expert.

The International E-Learning Association (IELA), founded in 2007 as a catalyst for the development and exchange of e-learning information among universities, educational institutions, government agencies, funding agencies, conferences and businesses, suggested that in order for businesses to make the most of their online learning programs, they should make a conscious effort to fully integrate them into everyday practices and employment strategies.

Dr David Guralnick, president of the IELA, said: "Organisations new to e-learning still face a number of challenges. One is coming up with the right e-learning strategy, so that employees appreciate the technology - rather than finding it a burden."

He added that this mainly comes down to the overall design and vision for a company's e-learning products, such as industry-specific courses or just-in-time systems.

Employees using e-learning solutions to train their staff or exchange information can often find it boring if the platform for the technique is one-dimensional, dull and too simple, according to the doctor.

Mr Guralnick suggested that linking the virtual classroom to what employees would do in their everyday lives like social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook would make these systems more accessible and interesting as well as practical, as they would already know the basic operational skills to get on with the program.

He mentioned that companies should look to create an integrated performance strategy that uses technology in service or performance goals, rather than focusing on traditional classroom methods and the former page-turning ethos of this type of learning.

"An emphasis on just-in-time tools and on learning-by-doing methods for the training pieces tend to work well," he added.

A report by the Don't Waste Your Time e-learning blog showed that Russell Group universities such as Oxford and Cambridge have begun using social networks to convey information to staff and students.