|How distance learning benefits employers and employees|
|Wednesday, 21 April 2010 07:41|
Implementing a cost effective training programme.
Implementing a cost effective training programme.
Training takes a tumble during the recession
One thing which is clear, however, is that many employees - who until now been happy simply to keep their jobs - are starting to express frustration at their stilted career progression.
Invest to retain valued staff
A 2009 report from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) revealed that 46 per cent of managers have lost key members of staff by offering inadequate levels of training. When post-recessionary recovery depends on retaining talented employees, investment in training becomes a necessity rather than a luxury.
In fact, according to our own research, hopes that Britain’s economic prospects will pick up in 2010 are not shared by the majority of UK employees. An omnibus survey we conducted in December 2009 showed that 74 per cent of British adults did not see their employment prospects improving in the coming year. In fact, 10 per cent thought things will get worse before they get better.
When asked about their current job, a quarter said they feel bored, unfulfilled and unappreciated. The negative impact of the recession on staff development was also highlighted by the fact that 37 per cent said that their employer takes no interest in enhancing their skills through internal or external training.
Implementing a cost effective training programme
Employees, it would seem, are only too happy to enhance their skills if they can see the clear benefit of doing so. Our research showed that 47 per cent have previously studied while working more than 20 hours per week, and 37 per cent have undertaken some form of study since the age of 25.
With this in mind, you may be heartened to hear that there are cost and time effective ways in which to engage employees through relevant, industry-recognised vocational training.
The distance learning model represents an attractive alternative over traditional day release or evening class programmes, which can be restrictive for all parties. Without doubt, one of the main advantages of distance learning is the significantly enhanced level of flexibility. Rather than being tied to academic term dates - which might mean waiting almost a whole year should an enrolment deadline be missed - distance learning can start and finish at any time.
In today’s increasingly busy society, distance learning also circumvents the need to attend classes at a set time every week, which can test the commitment of even the most dedicated student. Learning can be fitted around existing professional and personal responsibilities, allowing people to gain a new qualification while maintaining their earning power, family life and leisure time.
In fact, in our study almost two thirds (57per cent) cited the ability to continue working while studying, and to progress at their own pace, as the key benefits of distance learning.
These points aside, distance learning also performs well when compared with the grades and pass rates achieved through classroom-based education. A recent US-based study showed that 62 per cent of Chief Academic Officers rated learning outcomes for online instruction as the same or superior to those for face-to-face instruction.
Distance learning embraces internet technology
In the past, distance learning may have rightly been viewed as a lonely and somewhat isolating experience, which has been seen as a negative factor by some people. However, the recent explosion in communication technologies – particularly those accessible via the internet such as the Home Learning College Virtual Learning Community (VLC) – means that students can now experience as much a sense of community and dedicated tutorial support as those who attend traditional face-to-face classes.
The value of developments such as the VLC is clear. A third of respondents to our survey said it was very or quite important for them to be able to interact with a community of likeminded students studying the same course over the internet.
Not all distance learning courses are the same
If you are considering distance learning for your employees then you may be interested to hear that this broad phrase encompasses a range of teaching methodologies. For example, it is useful to be familiar with the terms ‘synchronous’ and ‘asynchronous’ learning. The former requires the teacher and student to interact simultaneously and may involve web seminars, phone calls and video conferencing. In contrast, asynchronous learning allows students to complete work at a time of their choosing.
Distance learning can be facilitated by a tutor or un-facilitated, where the student is entirely independent. It can also take place online or offline, with the latter including mobile technologies. Some courses even combine these techniques with varying levels of face-to-face teaching to offer a blended or mixed approach.
Bearing these variations in mind, it becomes clear that distance learning can vary from just a printed course book to a fully interactive blended learning community, with knowledge transfer becoming more effective as the learning model increases in sophistication, as below:
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