E-learning: Evolution or Revolution

E-learning: Evolution or Revolution
3 October 2011 John Moore

The Chartered Management Institute’s 2008 research report explored the growth of blended learning in the context of overall management development activities.

Blended learning is defined by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI)  as ‘a designed, integrated mix of training and development interventions and experiences, using different face-to-face methods and online technologies, intended to enable people to best meet their learning needs.

Management development has long been identified as a critical success factor in organisations with nearly two thirds of managers (64 per cent) strongly agreeing that their organisation gave high priority to developing its managers. However, it is disappointing that less than half of respondents agreed that all managers had a personal development plan; and less than half believed that their management development policy was aligned to their business strategy. In addition, only 52 per cent of managers strongly agreed that management development has had a positive impact on their organisation over the last three years. These statistics show that although management development can have a significant impact on both the individual and organisation, if not enough care is taken to truly understand the training requirement and if it is not aligned with the business strategy it can significantly reduce the impact of the development activity for the organisation.

As you would anticipate the most dominant form of management and leadership delivery was identified as work-related/ experiential learning with 92 per cent of individuals citing‘learning from their own experience’ as their most common development experience. Significantly, all the case study organisations interviewed as part of CMI’s report viewed blended learning as a valuable route for harnessing new technologies to better support experiential learning and integrating self-directed learning into organisational objectives.

The Growth of Online Learning

It is fair to say that the more traditional forms of instruction dominated the learning process in 2008 with reading management books/articles (72 per cent), on-the-job training (62 per cent), academic study (50 per cent) and management qualification/accreditation (47 per cent) all ranking highly amongst those surveyed as methods used in management and leadership development and learning in the last twelve months of 2008.

However, with this in mind it appears that a growing range of online management and leadership development activities are being offered by organisations which has seen a rise in recent times. Forty-seven per cent of managers reported having access to a virtual/ online learning environment and 38 per cent of managers responded that they could access blended learning opportunities for management and leadership skills.

The benefit of this form of development activity is that it gives individual managers increased accessibility and flexibility to learn, especially whilst in employment. The CMI research report identified that looking at the uptake of online resources among all managers surveyed, the most popular resources were case studies, with 61 per cent stating they sometimes/frequently used this format. Forty per cent also reported that they sometimes/frequently used e-learning modules and 35 per cent used online assessment tools.

Compared with the findings from the previous year’s research there has been a surprising surge in the use of some new media, particularly among Directors of organisations. The use of videos (increased use from 21 per cent to 51 per cent), discussion forums (increased use from 24 per cent to 40 per cent), and social networking sites (an increase from 12 per cent to 34 per cent) reflect greater engagement by Directors. In contrast, the use of blogs and podcasts among all levels of manager has remained at around 10 per cent.

To summarise, it is clear that the effectiveness of blended learning is substantially improved through controlling and actively promoting the quality and range of learning resources available. Crucially, it also appears to provide far greater engagement for the individual by giving them the responsibility for driving their own learning. Blended learning enables the use of different instruction methods to suit different learning styles and allows learners to work at their own pace and to suit individual work commitments/ time scales. With only 13 per cent of managers surveyed believing that blended learning is “just the latest fad which offers nothing substantially new” these statistics show that online learning is here to stay and has been successful in the short time it has been around.

To conclude, I think it would be very interesting to see the latest figures as this report was written towards the end of 2008. Over the last three years we at Exponential have observed a much greater uptake in our online programmes and feel that both organisations and individuals are becoming more receptive to the idea of a blended learning approach which includes online learning.

To download the full report from the Chartered Management Institute, click here.

Interested in Online Management Development?

At Exponential we believe that distance should not be a barrier, which is why we have developed innovative online qualifications capitalising on the advantages of working from any location worldwide. We’re committed to facilitating learning for individuals from all walks of life, from any location through our professional distance learning/ online programmes.

Our flexible management development programmes allow users to access our self-contained delivery platform, for which they will be given a personalised account upon enrolment. Here, users will have access to their learning resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Unlike traditional learning, this means that qualifications can be completed according to your timetable and yours alone, whilst tuition from the Exponential Training & Assessment team is on hand to provide consistent support and expert guidance.

Our affordable online programmes are accredited by the Chartered Management Institute which gives prospective learners distinct assurances that their qualifications and skills will be worthwhile for continued career success through professional accreditation.

Whether you are an aspiring first line manager or an experienced middle/ senior manager interested in gaining a professional qualification through online/ distance learning please visit: https://www.exponentialtraining.com/qualifications/management-leadership.

If you have any questions or require further information do not hesitate to contact us.

John Moore has over 20 years experience of training and developing Managers, Coaches, Consultants and businesses. As Managing Director of Exponential Training, John researches, speaks, blogs and writes about how to improve performance. He also designs and delivers engaging, fun and interactive learning programmes. John is a Fellow Chartered Manager and has worked with managers and organisations in over 20 different countries.

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