Wednesday, April 30, 2003

  • Assignment : Module 2 e-Learning in Practice.
  • Instructor : Anne Bartlett-Bragg
  • Due Date : 03/05/2003.
  • Subject : 015402 e-Learning Experiences.
  • Student : Mark Cotter - 01028392.

Introduction :

In this essay I will discuss what is meant by Return On Investments in the e-Learning environment. I will then compare 2 e-Learning case studies to demonstrate my understanding of e-Learning in an organisational context.

My understanding of R.O.I. is that it is used in planning a learning project and in this case an e-Learning project. It is a method of precisely calculating the benefits that will be generated once the project has been implemented. It is sometimes extremely difficult to completely measure the benefits of an e-Learning project before it is implemented because not all the benefits are clear prior to the implementation of the project.

I definitely believe that there are definitely two types of return on investment outcomes.

  • Firstly, there are the extremely obvious return on investments such as reducing travel costs for both the instructor and student. A real figure can be calculated and properly documented. These could be called measurable return on investments.
  • Secondly, there are the not so obvious return on investments that should also be considered and documented. These returns could include an increase in student motivation and participation or a positive change in the work place culture. These benefits are subtle and sometimes become more obvious once the project is up and running. These benefits could be called non-measurable return on investments.

I personally feel that in order for e-Learning to become a successful mode of corporate training in the future then the return on investment must be properly measured and documented.

Return on investment is probably the most important aspect of e-Learning projects in the modern world today. There are very few organisations that have an unlimited budget to spend on training and development. I do not believe that any corporate manager in today's economic climate would agree to an e-Learning project unless there were proper documentation detailing the future returns on investment.

Case Studies :

  • Speed and Reach - A case study of e-Learning in Ford Australia's Dealership Network.
  • The First Five Years - A case study of QANTAS College Online 1996-2001.

Ford Motor Company.

The Ford Motor Company is the world's second largest automotive company with motor vehicle brand names such as, Ford, Mercury, Mazda, Martin, Jaguar, Lincoln, Volvo and Land Rover. The Ford Motor Company also incorporates FordCredit which is the world's largest automotive finance organisation and also Hertz the world's largest car rental company.

FORDSTAR is the e-Learning, instructor led satellite system used for training staff employed by Ford dealers. The system was conceived and developed in America and was first implemented in the USA in 1995. The system was not used in Australia until 1998 after 18 months preparation.

The main purpose of FORDSTAR is to provide training to over 300 dealership networks throughout Australia. This includes dealerships in built up metropolitan areas and also remote rural dealerships. Previously, training would be provided by teams of FORD trainers who would travel to each dealership and conduct face to face information and training sessions. Not only was this wagon train an expensive system, it was slow and did not always reach the entire dealership.

Measurable Returns on Investments :

  • Remote dealerships are now able to receive training via the FORDSTAR e-Learning network rather than sending their employees to Ford Head Office. This has greatly reduced training costs. It has also meant that staff are not away from the dealership for long periods of time.
  • FORD Australia has also been able to reduce costs by not sending training staff to remote locations.
  • Programs are now being designed to reach all employees of Ford Australia.
  • Interactive training programs are now delivered to all dealerships throughout Australia almost instantaneously. All dealerships are kept up to date with the latest information.
  • Feedback is received far more quickly than before.
  • Training sessions are evaluated and the results are recorded. This provides information for Ford Australia to greatly improve the quality of training programs.

Non-measurable Returns on Investments :

  • Greatly increased communication between the students and the instructors.
  • Redeploy training staff to focus on developing training courses.

QANTAS College Online :

QANTAS College Online (QCO) is an Internet-based learning system that was launched in 1996. It is one of Australia's first online learning systems.

In September 2001 QANTAS College had grown to include 60 company wide , tutor-facilitated programs to train and educate approximately 5000 registered users representing 20% of QANTAS staff.

Measurable Return on Investments :

  • Training budget reduced significantly.
  • Greater controls over course content and evaluation.
  • Training staff are now redeployed as consultants throughout the organisation.
  • People have now accepted that e-Learning is a viable stately within the business and it's taken us nearly 5 years to get there.

Non-measurable Return on investments :

  • Strategically reposition corporate learning and development within the company with a few to making it more directly relevant to business needs and integrating it with other elements of human resource management and organisational development.
  • Learning and Development people have been freed up to act as internal consultants and project managers.
  • Changing relationships between line managers and training personal to better improve the training product.
  • 78% of Qantas College Online courses are being completed during the staff's own time and not corporate time. This creates a more productive work force.
  • The work place culture became competitive as more and more employees started to realise the benefits of the QANTAS College Online.

Summary :

When you compare both FORD and QANTAS you can see that both e-Learning strategies have created real savings for each company. There are measurable return on investments and also non-measurable return on investments.

I think that overall, both companies would be quite proud of their achievements and also the future development of their respective e-Learning projects.

Overall, I think it is important to use these case studies to better understand return on investments so that they can be better predicted and documented to encourage more e-Learning training projects.

Bibliography :

Monday, April 28, 2003

Module 3

IBM Virtual Campus

I have decided to register for an e-Learning course called 'Decision Making and Problem Solving' which is provided by IBM Australia.

The course costs $150.00 but I think it is relevent to my current work.

Registration : Registration for the course was simply an e-form that I completed over the Internet. Over all the registration process has been difficult most likely
due to the firewall at TAB Limited. Everything is so restricted Work. I think I have registered for the course but I will not be able to start until I get home tonight.

Course Description : I found that a detailed course description was not available. I more detailed course description would enable me to properly match my requirements to what the course is offering. This will ensure that I am on the right track and I am not wateing my money. It also creates motivation as the student can see a use for the skills obtained in during the study.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Today's e-Learning thought.

e-Learning and the future.

I predict that the future of e-Learning will be incredible. Why do I feel that this will be the case. Let me explain.

I believe that there are 2 levels that people achieve in learning. The either learn to a level that they are satisfied at or they learn to a level that will enable them to teach the subject. Eg. I believe that there is a distint difference to the level that people learn to. Eg. A teacher would need to learn in depth the subject that they wish to teach but a student who will never teaxch the subject only learns enough to pass.

I therefore feel that e-Learning will become an interesting tool because it will allow all people to learn at a higher level by allowing them access to all information quickly and easily. There is also the thought that people learn much better when they are interactive. In the classroom setting not all students are interactive.. There are simply too many students per teachers and there simply isn't enough time. e-Learning will make it [possible for all students to enjoy the interaction from their personal work station at work or from the comfort of their own home.

The other point that I have found interesting and this is based on my personal experiences, is that when you create an e-Learning web page you seem to remember the information much better. I have found that the creation of web pages for my training subjects helps me remember the subject. It helps me transfer the information from my short term memory to my long term memory and I remember the subject much more clearly.