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Evaluating online learningpixel.gif (807 bytes)

pixel.gif (807 bytes) More learning
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THIS IS OUR THIRD and last opportunity to improve cost-effectiveness without sacrifices. Here's two ideas for increasing volume while maintaining effectiveness and keeping costs under control:
  1. Improve accessibility
  2. Run to capacity

Improve accessibility
In your organisation you probably provide a wealth of learning opportunities. But how easy is it to take advantage of these? In the ideal world, learning resources would be available at any time and in any place. Fortunately, advances in networking technology mean that this possibility is getting closer.

Online learning uses the Internet or company intranets to deliver learning wherever there's a computer and a network connection:

  • at the desktop
  • in a learning centre
  • at home
  • on the move, using a laptop

Online learning also makes it possible for learning to take place in any of the 168 hours available in the week - whenever it's convenient for the learner.

According to a study conducted in Spring 1999 by Epic Group plc for the UK Department of Education and Employment, improved accessibility is the principal driver for the introduction of online learning. Better accessibility means more volume for the same cost.

Run to capacity
Too often courses run with less than the ideal number of delegates. Why is this?

  • more courses are being run than are really needed
  • the courses are inadequately promoted
  • delegates pull out (or are pulled out) at the last moment

In the first case, it might be better to employ external courses (or use self-study methods) to meet minority needs, rather than to put on half-full internal courses. In the second, there's no excuse, given the array of communication methods now at your disposal, not least email and intranets. There's a simple cure to the last problem, but one that makes many training managers nervous - you charge a hefty fee for any cancellations.

The effect of more learning
Continuing with our previous example, this would be the effect of increasing volume by 20% while maintaining effectiveness and costs:

 

Before

After

Volume

500

600

Cost

£500,000

£500,000

Benefits

£600,000

£720,000

Return

£100,000

£220,000

Why have benefits gone up? Well, assuming benefits per student were £1200, an increase in the number of students would reflect in the benefits total. The training is not more effective, there's just more of it.

No monopoly
So there you have it. Six ways to improve cost-effectiveness without harmful side effects. Some may seem like common sense, but then if common sense really was common, we probably wouldn't need training at all. And some may seem like a right pain to implement, but then you've heard enough clichés from me without hearing about no pain, no gain.

Anyway, six is an arbitrary and, in this case, symmetrical number. There's probably many more ways of achieving the same goal. All further ideas will be gratefully received by the author.

END

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                                                     © Fastrak Consulting Ltd, 1999. All rights reserved.                                Last revised 27/8/99