Hewlett Packard (HP) Education Services has launched an education consulting service to help companies get better return on investment (ROI) from their training programmes.
The firm has also introduced service level agreements into the training programmes it delivers to customers, following concerns that companies are gaining little value from their training and particularly their e-learning implementations.
Jeen de Boer, learning solutions manager, Europe, Middle East & Africa, at HP, said that education needed to be regarded as a strategic business tool rather than something that was simply nice to have.
"About 40 per cent of the companies that talk to us have already implemented e-learning but aren't getting any value out of it," he explained. "Half of the requests we have to implement e-learning are so that companies can spend less time on learning. No one thinks in strategic terms about what success they expect from your training."
"Training is just like any other service: it helps solve business challenges and directly contributes to the bottom line," he added. "Consultancies have traditionally been measured on their ability to deliver against business objectives. HP has just extended this business model to education."
HPs discovery workshops take between two and five days, depending on the size of the organisation, at a cost of between $5,000 and $8,000.
"We are so confident that our offering adds value to business that we're willing to enter into pay performance schemes," said de Boer.
He blamed a lack of focus on change management programmes for the failure of e-learning in many companies. "It's a mistake that we made at HP. We put a lot of self-paced training courses on the web and said: 'Here you are'. That's one of the reasons why the consulting approach is so important," he said.
De Boer maintained that companies should expect an ROI of between 200 and 400 per cent from new application training in the first year. Companies that implement learning management systems to manage their own training should expect an ROI in the first year of at least 400 per cent.
But Nick Mitchell, of the Institute of IT Training, warned that the immaturity of the e-learning market meant that experienced e-learning consultants were few and far between. "A lot of consultants don't know what they're doing. They're just one page ahead of you in the training manual," he said.
New regulation expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 17 million metric tonnes between 2020 and 2050
Molybdenum ditelluride is a two-dimensional material that can be easily stacked into multiple layers to create a memory cell
New light-guiding nanoscale device can control and monitor a nanoparticle trapped in a laser beam with high sensitivity
Optical traps are scientific instruments in which a focused laser beam is used to exert an attractive or repulsive force on a microscopic object to hold it in place
Scientists estimate that the exoplanet has already lost up to 35 per cent of its mass over its lifetime