Opportunites and barriers – latest thinking from Learning Technologies

by | Feb 13, 2008 | Articles

Every Exhibition attendee who entered the e-skillsUK stand area at Learning Technologies 2008 was asked three questions:

  • how will learning technologies add most value to your company this year?
  • what is the most significant barrier to achieving this?
  • What help do you really need this year?

Biggest challenge – engaging learners

This informal straw poll does not reveal any startling new truths, the big area where the majority need help is in engaging learners. Not surprisingly the barriers described frequently talked about culture changes, staff buy-in and similar issues.

Participants in our minipoll included business users ( 33%), commercial suppliers (42%) and the rest from education.  Most participants were established users of learning technologies (47%) or developing an e-learning strategy. It was clear that as users gain experience of e-learning so a greater percentage appreciate the challenge of getting learners to use e-learning, only 30% of those who said they were new to e-learning or were sporadic users felt that engaging learners was something they needed help with.

A major emphasis of the Towards Maturity work is to find the key ingredients that unlock this demand; the “superfoods” of e-learning.

Less mature users are more likely to need help in engaging managers and demonstrating business value.

implementing collaboration

One item that showed wide fluctuations between groups was implementing collaboration. It may be that this area of e-learning is one in which established users have least experience; novice users may be just as likely to be using this approach to e-learning.

How will learning technologies add value this year?

Business user organisations regularly cited e-portfolios, consistency, global delivery, standards, and time to become competent as opportunties to add value.

For education providers e-assessment and personalised learning dominated and for commercial providers added value is based on a wider reach for delivery, an alternative offering and the capability to prove compliance.


Barriers were a little more uniform in that selling the idea to senior managers, managing change and cultural issues were mentioned equally frequently by all  three groups. However commercial providers found cost a barrier, mentioned also by education providers less so by user organisations whose comments were dominated by cultural change and, to a lesser extent relationships with internal IT departments.  Perhaps the most depressing groups of comments were those which indicated that e-learning still “had a bad press”.  Clearly the positive news about e-learning, and the positive examples, does not reach the right people.

Full Results of the Poll

We (I) need help on:

  • Engaging Learners                               53%
  • Examples of Good Practice                  47%
  • Engaging Management                        44%
  • Demonstrating Business Value            35%
  • Effective Content Design                     30%
  • Implementing Collaboration                26%
  • Advice on learning Platforms               14%

The Towards Maturity team will be working on even more examples of good practice – please see our employer stories and podcast section of this site. We will provide an in depth focus on engaging learners and managers and demonstrating business value over the coming months.

We would also like to congratulate Melanie Price of Oakleigh Training and Development for winning our prize draw on the stand!

This article was originally created by the Work based e-learning project at e-skills UK and is reproduced with kind permission.

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