EDUCATION PLUS

Neeeded: cost-effective e-Learning

BINDU GOPAL RAO

Training takes place at one’s own pace and schedule

In times of economic uncertainty, companies are likely to cut back on learning and training budgets. However, considering that training is essential, there needs to be a trade-off between its cost and utility. Offering continuous, affordable e-learning is one way companies can ensure their workers retain the skills needed to drive customer satisfaction, without breaking the training budget.

“In 2009, we see more and more training moving to online media. In response, companies will create the online reference systems needed to access information easily. We also see e-learning being created specifically for small hand-held devices and the rise of collaborative contextual learning. In the light of the current economic environment, we expect that the traditional methodologies to create e-learning will be used selectively due to time and cost pressures. The focus, therefore, will shift to quick and thrifty modules that can be created for ‘just-in-time’ learning,” says Maheedharan Thiagarajan, Director of Business Services, HR Management, Convergys.

There is also an increasing focus on collaborative learning, sharing knowledge and best practices utilising the online networking tools available. The information that is generated via these tools can be packaged quickly for use and re-use.

Benefits

E-learning provides benefits to both the user and the developer. From a user/learner perspective, training takes place at one’s own pace and schedule. In addition, interactive e-learning, which includes detailed work simulations, results in higher retention of employees as the learner actually gathers vital on-the-job experience before entering the work floor. From a developer perspective, e-learning programmes are massively reusable, even when updates to content need to be made, saving both time and money. In addition, technology can help track the progress and performance of learners, ensuring a high level of compliance.

With the wide availability of the Internet, e-learning can be imparted to many users at different schedules and different locations worldwide. Costs related to travel, logistics, classrooms, etc., are virtually non-existent. “Almost all industry verticals including manufacturing, technology, financial services, retail and healthcare use e-learning solutions for various needs ranging from compliance and new product training to new hire orientation,” says Thiagarajan.

Convergys has a gamut of products. These include e-briefings (example, site awareness) that are presentation-level courses. Application simulation (training course on a new product) refers to teaching the ins-and-outs of complicated software in an interactive way. Simulations (role play, strategy) solutions (example, sales planning) involve the user going through multiple scripted scenarios to learn and practice specific tasks. All these solutions can be developed wholly by Convergys or in collaboration with the client based on content type and need.



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