Employees have given top marks to e-learning, with more than nine out of 10 describing it as an enjoyable and effective way to acquire knowledge and skills.
A survey of 200 e-learning users across EMEA, conducted by online training provider SkillSoft, found that 92.5 per cent of respondents had learnt what they needed even where they had not completed full courses, while 93.5 per cent found the technology enjoyable.
Kay Baldwin-Evans, SkillSoft's head of research, said: "Even where individuals criticised specific courses, they were still very positive about the technology generally, demonstrated by the fact 98 per cent of the sample said they would have no hesitation recommending it to colleagues."
When asked why they liked e-learning, the key reason given was that it allowed employees to train at their own pace, with 93 per cent citing this as 'important'.
Over three quarters liked the fact that they were able to learn wherever and whenever they wanted, and 85 per cent pointed to the flexibility of the technology.
Baldwin-Evans explained that different users have different motives for preferring online to classroom training.
"Younger employees, typically ambitious graduates, like e-learning because they can go fast without being held back by slower people in a classroom environment," she said.
"At the other end of the spectrum, a lot of older and less technically literate people said that they preferred it because they could go slowly without feeling embarrassed."
But while Baldwin-Evans believes that e-learning will form an ever greater part of organisations' training programmes, it will not usurp traditional training entirely.
"I believe classroom training will always be part of corporate learning, but what's beginning to happen is that before people go into the classroom, they carry out a certain amount of e-learning first so they're at the same level when they start," she said. "And they are also tending to follow up with more e-learning afterwards."
SkillSoft's eLearning Benchmark Survey was conducted between June 2003 and January 2004 among e-learning users at 16 blue-chip organisations including AT&T, FedEx, Lloyds TSB, Nestlé, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Royal Mail.
Respondents included those who had used e-learning to acquire technical skills and those training in softer business and management proficiencies.
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