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Firms in the UK and Europe are falling into two traps that cause them to waste money on unnecessary e-learning products, claims an industry expert.
Many companies are misallocating their e- learning budgets through buying inappropriate software and ignoring the need for change management, claimed a leading e-learning provider today.
European companies currently spend around £224 million on e-learning projects and much of this is wasted, says Christiaan Heyning, UK general manager of Icus, which has Axa, Visa and Nokia among its customers:
"Unfortunately, if past performance is anything to go by, much of the time and money spent on these projects is wasted. This is not because e-learning is useless hype - far from it - but because companies are falling into one, or sometimes even two, traps," he says.
In an article for an upcoming nationwide poll and competition to be launched on HR Gateway, Heyning argues that the first trap that companies fall into is implementing Learning Management Systems (LMSs) but failing to prove the concept of e-learning first:
"Not only does this often lead to companies buying technology that does not fit their needs, it also raises the bar for judging e-learning since implementing an LMS can be highly disruptive and capital intensive," he says.
The second trap that firms fall into is by assuming that e-learning implementation is finished when the software is installed and the technology works.
Far too many companies think that if they make courses available on-line, the participants will be naturally induced into enrolling and finishing the courses, he argues:
"A recent informal straw-poll revealed that take-up rates of courses placed on-line are 15% at best in these cases. Of course, this is not surprising when you think about it - why would employees do an on-line course if the benefits of doing it are not clear to them?" Heyning says.
Both of these traps can be avoided by simple means, he says, by using a hosted LMS in the first instance, at least for the duration of any pilot project, and by offering employees rewards in the second instance:
"Employees must be convinced that the e-learning courses on offer are of benefit to them and employees must be convinced the organisation rewards them for doing the courses. Companies must do a change management and communication campaign when implementing e-learning, to be targeted at prospective learners as well as their managers. The managers, after all, will have to give the rewards and provide day-to-day stimulation and encouragement," says Heyning.
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