Last updated: 10.10.13

'Understand your company' to make e-learning work

Making e-learning work is down to understanding a company's goals, getting to grips with the demographics of employees and focusing on results.

This is according to Krissie Owen, a learning and development partner at insurance body RSA, who was speaking at this year's World of Learning Conference in Birmingham, Personnel Today reports.

She said these techniques have worked for her firm and are helping it to close all skills gaps among staff.

The expert said it is particularly important to know your workforce, as it could consist of a number of different groups, with RSA's made up of both female employees with an average tenure of one year and men in their 50s.

As a result, the organisation has had to work out how to appeal to and engage with each demographic, rebranding its educational opportunities accordingly through a "user-chooser" approach.

Ms Owen explained: "We had to make our learning offering different so that colleagues can select what is right for them. We keep our learning short, succinct and to the point. We also keep it fun and light-hearted so that people engage with it."

This is crucial to bear in mind when developing online learning resources for workers, as you don't want to overwhelm them with huge amounts of material that will take them hours to click through.

While online training has lots of benefits, including cutting administrative costs and freeing up time, it needs to be devised with the company goals and employees' needs in mind.

Patricia Riddell, professor of applied neuroscience at Reading University, also appeared at the World of Learning event and told audiences that UK firms should be looking at how the brain works in order to make training more "sticky".

This could involve repeating training sessions so that it is not lost before staff return to the workplace, or adding an emotional kick to them. "The emotion does not have to be related to the learning, it just needs to be evoked soon after the learning has taken place," Professor Riddell remarked.