Online learning comes of age

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 1 April 2000




(2000), "Online learning comes of age", Education + Training, Vol. 42 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Online learning comes of age

Keywords Distance learning, Learning styles, Information technology

In a recent survey almost 40 per cent of companies were either using or planning to use online learning in the next 12 months. The research, commissioned by BT and Futuremedia for Solstra, examines attitudes towards online learning among human-resource and training managers in organizations with more than 500 employees.

The study reveals that 21 per cent of firms are using or implementing online learning, with a further 18 per cent planning to do so in the next year. Of the companies already using online learning, more than 30 per cent say they have seen a fairly significant return on investment. Some 53 per cent, however, say it is too early to tell. The number of firms using intranets has soared by 21 per cent in the last 12 months, to 72 per cent today. The numbers with access to the Internet have remained constant at around 86 per cent. General awareness of the Internet as a means of delivering online learning has tripled from 8 per cent in 1998 to 24 per cent today. Some 43 per cent of human-resource managers have seen online learning in action.

Awareness of the benefits of online learning is high, but there is still a strong perception that it would leave staff feeling isolated. Some 61 per cent voiced concerns over this, compared with 65 per cent in 1998. But the feeling that online learning would be unsuitable for group work has been overcome, with 52 per cent now seeing the collaborative benefits that online learning can bring.

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