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Financial services get the most from e-learning

30 April 2004 - Businesses in the financial services sector have been more successful in the implementation of e-learning than firms in any other industry, according to research by e-learning provider SkillSoft.

SkillSoft's qualitative study involved employees in 16 global organisations: AT&T; Deloitte; FedEx; Hilton Group; Intelligent Finance; Lloyds TSB; Nestle; Norwich Union; Price Waterhouse Coopers; Prudential; Royal Mail; Siemens; Schlumberger; Telewest; Wolters Kluwer and Xerox. The researchers found that 94% of staff in the financial services sector - 10% more than employees working in other industries) are getting the most from the e-learning opportunities offered to them by actually applying the new skills they have learnt online in the workplace.

Asked about the extent to which they were putting their new knowledge into practice:

- virtually one half (49%) of respondents said that they were drawing on what they had learnt online on a daily basis. Improved communications with customers and colleagues were cited as major benefits.
- 28% stated that they had applied their new skills to specific presentations and projects.
- 11% felt that they had significantly improved their database creation techniques (predominantly Access and Excel)
- 6% considred that they were better at coaching and mentoring.


- 55% of respondents had also passed on their new knowledge to colleagues, and
- 98% would recommend e-learning to friends and fellow workers.

Praised both businesses and employees within the financial sector for their proactive approach to e-learning, Kevin Young, managing director of SkillSoft EMEA, . He said:

"When we asked employees in other industries what they felt the barriers were to e-learning many talked in terms of lack of company support, lack of awareness, unavailability of equipment and the inevitable lack of time and workload. Although lack of time and workload was cited as a barrier by 11% of employees working in the financial sector, more than half of those surveyed (51%) didn't perceive any barriers to online learning at all - suggesting that their organisations had already successfully addressed many of the issues being experienced elsewhere.

"The commitment to training is also more pronounced within the financial services industry. Companies operating in the sector are much more likely than those in other industries to have invested in the creation of a dedicated training area for their employees to use (32% as opposed to 10%)."

Other findings from the survey were that employees in the financial services industry are:

- more likely to have trained online in the last three months (98% against 92%)
- prepared to learn in their own time if necessary. 26% learn before work, during their lunch breaks or at the end of the working day - 10% higher than in other industries - and 5% regularly learn at home (as opposed to 1% of those working in other sectors)
- able to select which courses they do themselves (100% against 94% in other industries)
- adept at accessing the learning they need as and when they need it. 62% typically spend just 30 minutes online in any one learning session - in contrast to 33% in other industries.

Kevin Young went on to say:

"In view of the sporadic nature of these training patterns we asked employees whether, when learning online, they completed a course in one go. 78% said no but, despite this, 98% of these employees said that they still learned what they needed to - 6% more than employees from other sectors. This proves categorically that organizations which insist on measuring the effectiveness of e-learning against the number of actual course completions are missing the point. Employees don't need to complete a whole course to learn what they need in order to be effective."


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