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Home > News > January 2003 > 12-Jan-2003

Research suggests the need for a broad-based approach to meeting learning needs

Although e-learning is, as yet, a relatively new mechanism for the delivery of learning, a third of workers in Europe have experienced some form of e-learning.

That's one of the findings of a research project undertaken by the European School of Management (ESCP-EAP) and sponsored by training provider, John Matchett Limited.

Nearly 50 per cent of those aged between 20 and 29 years, and over 30 per cent of those aged between 30 and 40, had had experience of an e-learning programme. The two age groups that had had the least amount of exposure to e-learning were those aged between 40 and 49 (21 per cent) and those aged over 59 (22 per cent).

The subjects most commonly delivered via e-learning were: ‘technical subjects’ (27.8 per cent); IT skills (26.4 per cent), and language learning (22.2 per cent). The next subject area most commonly delivered via e-learning was finance/accounting (7.4 per cent).

The most frequently used methods of learning were, in order of preference: asking questions; using a mentor; attending conferences/presentations; attending training courses; using e-learning; reading books, journals and newspapers; attending seminars and lectures; browsing the Internet.

When asked to state their favourite methods of learning, respondents expressed a preference for formal training courses, closely followed by asking colleagues.

Commenting on these findings, John Matchett, chairman of John Matchett Ltd, said: “This research shows that, although e-learning is rapidly establishing itself as an invaluable and cost-effective addition to the trainer’s armoury, suppliers of learning materials must be flexible in their approach and have a wide range of learning options available.

According to the survey, almost every respondent agreed that, in the future, e-learning will dominate the delivery of learning.

The greatest advantage of e-learning is seen as the flexibility it offers to learners (35 per cent). The next most popular advantage is its ability to cater for individual learning styles (21 per cent), followed by its cost-effectiveness (14 per cent).

Among the other survey findings:

* Age does not seem to have a significant effect on a person’s motivation to learn. Members of all age groups within the working population share the feeling that it is necessary to keep skills and ‘know-how’ up-to-date.

* Over 66 per cent of respondents believe that additional training would have a positive impact on their careers. However, the strength of this belief decreases with the age of the respondent, with most of those over the age of 49 failing to see any advantages to their career if they undertake additional training.

* People who have spent ten years or more with the same company are less interested in additional learning in order to advance their careers. They display a preference to spend more of their time on different (non-work-related) areas of interest.

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