Last updated: 30.09.11

Top tips from the voluntary sector on how to make e-learning work

Children's charity Barnardo's has seen the benefits of online learning first-hand since the technology was first introduced to its business nearly 15 years ago.

Lisa Johnson, a worker in IT training at the charity for more than a decade, has shared her top tips on how to engage staff with the virtual classroom in a piece written for the Guardian.

As the organisation's assistant director of information services, Ms Johnson said she is passionate about the dynamic and flexible nature of e-learning and has encouraged many people to experience the benefits since she started working at the charity's head office.

She commented: "My team and I are continuously exploring the range of learning technologies and trying to identify how these can be used in Barnardo's to support learning and internal communications."

In the article, she recommended how to get people interested in learning via the internet and also how to keep them hooked. She added that e-learning providers should recruit new learners early, schedule in at least one face-to-face meeting with each student and also that new recruits should be taught to review their own progress regularly to keep up to date with how they are performing.

As an IT worker, Ms Johnson has a lot of experience with the virtual learning world and she advised that new technologies should be embraced.

"Understand how to make best use of it [new technologies], so that the benefits and challenges the technology presents are fully understood. This allows the team to build up a toolkit of resources that can be used in any combination to provide the right solutions," she said.

But the Barnardo's team did not implement the full range of learning technologies overnight. Ms Johnson suggested that it took a measured approach, gradually introducing people to e-learning and taking valuable time to consider the advantages and possible drawbacks of the systems.

She mentioned that learning from what works and what does not always perform well is what makes an e-learning environment the best and gives it the edge.

Barnado's is currently campaigning to get orphaned children into homes as news released today (September 29th) shows a five per cent decrease in the number of children being adopted.