Wednesday, 31 December 2008

New Year resolutions

One of my New Year resolutions is to try to communicate more clearly, using plain English whenever possible, eschewing jargon, and of course avoiding clichés like the plague.

We all know the sort of clichés to avoid – the ones that come up far too often, such as:

Pick the low-hanging fruit
Don’t reinvent the wheel
It’s not rocket science
Hit the ground running
The elephant in the room
Keep in mind the big picture

… and so on.

I was amused to find a link to the Encyclopaedia of Business Clichés here.

One of those listed at that link (#11) is the new language of Web 2.0. A more historical example, #77, “let’s run it up the flagpole and see who salutes” dates back at least as far as the 1957 movie Twelve Angry Men (the line is spoken by actor Robert Webber). So perhaps I’m wasting my time and clichés will always be with us.

But I promise to try.

I’d like to wish all my readers a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous 2009.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Talent Management

Pop quiz. Is talent management about:

a) smarter recruitment,
b) succession planning, or
c) key talent development?

The answer is at the foot of this post.

Can you describe something as flavour of the month if it’s been around for ten years and is still popular? Talent management is one such fashion that has stood the test of time. I can claim this with confidence, having just completed a literature review from the War for Talent (McKinsey report dating from a study in 1997) to the Talent Management Pocketbook, published last year.

And it’s still popular because it makes sense. For the first time, it offers a strategic framework for co-ordinating a range of HR activities, including recruitment, coaching, teambuilding, leadership and management development, and much more besides. Indeed, it goes beyond the remit of HR, to include activities like corporate communications and reputation management.

One of the things I like about it is the positive spin it puts on people’s contribution to our organisations. We’ve had the sterile jargon of “human resources”, which somehow has stayed with us, along with other inhuman expressions like “human capital”. Now we can talk of “talent” (where I come from, in the West of Scotland, this has a slang connotation – talent is what you go looking for at the dancing – but thankfully that sense is unknown to most who use the term). Much better.

What has prompted these musings is that I’ve just written the Talent Management chapter for CIPD’s Learning and Development manual, a subscription-based product that may be found here.

And the answer to the pop quiz question is: all of them, of course.

Friday, 28 November 2008

The learning organisation

Daniel Wain’s latest column in People Management magazine offers some resounding shibboleths about learning.

Learning is as natural to people as breathing
Learning is not mandatory, but neither is survival.

But I part company with him when he questions the concept of the learning organisation. Wain argues that ‘learning organisation’ is an oxymoron because “learning involves risk and innovation” (agreed) while “organisation equates to routine and predictability” (er, no it doesn’t - you could perhaps argue that’s what organising equates to, but that’s not the same thing). When he goes on to argue that only people learn, not organisations, it’s clear he’s missed the point about the latter.

Organisations are not impersonal bureaucratic monoliths, albeit sometimes some of them seem like it. Organisations are groups of people, who come together to achieve shared goals. They don’t comprise anything other than people, and the mechanisms people create (and can change). Can you imagine an organisation without people? Of course not - it couldn’t exist.

Peter Senge described the learning organisation as one “where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together”. That’s from The Fifth Discipline: the Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, originally published in 1990, and its sentiments are entirely consistent with those of Wain’s recent column. So it’s a bit puzzling that he rejects the concept of the learning organisation as “unsound” - time for a rethink, Daniel!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008


I have railed before against those who claim you need to be highly motivated to successfully undertake e-learning or distance learning or any form of self-study. It’s not that it isn’t true, it’s just that it’s economical with the truth. You need to be motivated to learn. In any way, using any method. Anyone who thinks part of the teacher or trainer’s role in the classroom is to provide the motivation is making a big mistake.

The only person who can motivate you is you. Others can lead, influence or inspire, but only you can provide the motivation.

I like the story of the football coach who shared his approach when taking on a new team. I paraphrase: “The first thing I do is find out which players need motivated – then I get rid of them”. The point being if they haven’t managed to motivate themselves up till then, they probably never will.

It never ceases to surprise me how much of an industry there is around motivation, including self-promoting gurus of motivational speaking, sources for inspirational quotes and superficial puff, and producers of tacky merchandise to make the workplace feel uncomfortable. In this context, I have been delighted to discover the web offers many posters subverting all that.
There are lots more if you Google “demotivational”. You can even make up your own at

And now seems as good a time as any to plug the Business Balls website, which gives a light-hearted overview of any business topic you care to name. Their take on motivational theory is here.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Management development

The current issue of Professional Manager magazine highlights a new research report from the Chartered Management Institute. Learning at work: e-learning evolution or revolution? looks at the application of digital technology for management development - in my opinion, a relatively neglected subject to date.

Interestingly, the report considers eight distinct technology applications: blogs, e-coaching, e-books, e-learning, online discussion forums, digital videos, audio podcasts and web-based social networking. For me, the inclusion of "e-learning" in that list sticks out like a sore thumb. Perhaps I'm quibbling over language, but for me, they mean "online courses", so why don't they say so? I'd say "e-learning" is an all-embracing term for all of the applications in the above list.

The good news in the report is that e-learning is no longer the sore thumb of management development. Work-based learning remains the most commonly-used, and most valued, approach, but there have been rises in all of the digital applications since the previous report in 2007, most notably among senior managers and directors, particularly in their use of discussion forums and social networks. The report warns that organisations need to harness these applications to their own ends to ensure management development is on-strategy and not random, inconsistent, or plain wrong.

The report can be accessed here.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Garth Heron, RIP

Last year, in reference to Anita Roddick, I wrote lightly about the phenomenon of going on holiday and missing the death of someone famous, only to be surprised when this is mentioned at the end of the year. I had no idea this could happen with someone I knew.

I was in touch with Garth Heron just before I went on holiday – his last email to me was on the evening of 25 August. On 28 August he died suddenly, and the next day I went on holiday. So it was a bit of a shock when I read yesterday - some two months later - the memorial tribute to him in the current issue of HR Network Scotland magazine.

Clearly, we weren’t close, and it wasn’t uncommon for months to pass without us being in contact, but we went back a bit. Garth was the HR Director at United Distillers when he invited me to his table at a charity dinner in the mid-90s at Glasgow’s Grosvenor Hotel, and introduced me to the then world snooker champion, Stephen Hendry (I still have the photograph). This was around the time he became Chairman of the Scottish Advisory Board of the Open College, where I was Manager for Scotland, and although we both moved on soon after, we kept in touch. I have Garth to thank for putting me forward for two jobs, when I was last in the market (one successful, one not) and we often had a coffee together when I was in Edinburgh.

I’m a bit late to offer a tribute to Garth, as it’s all been said by now, but I didn’t like to think of his untimely passing without at least acknowledging him. Garth was easily the most impressive HR professional I have encountered in my career, and the world is a lesser place without him. My condolences to his family and everyone who knew him.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Change of title

The book proposal I had accepted by my publishers earlier this year was for a work titled E-learning Strategy. The publisher didn’t like that title, and suggested changing it to How to Implement Successful E-learning. This then was the title I had in mind as I wrote the book. Now the publisher has decided to change it again, and the book is instead to be titled Delivering E-learning, with the sub-title, a complete strategy for design, application and assessment.

I can’t say I’m happy with the latest title, as the word delivery is a bit misleading. Those of us familiar with the classic training cycle will recognise delivery as just one of four stages of the cycle (after needs analysis and planning, but before evaluation). This is a familiar distinction for most kinds of service delivery, although in fairness, casual business-speak recognises delivery to have a wider meaning.

But what do I know? The publisher probably knows best, and that's the sanguine view I'm taking. Hopefully the new title will grow on me, unless they decide to change it again …

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Brand contamination

The concept of brand contamination is familiar to marketers, who strive to protect brands from negative associations. Once a brand is “contaminated”, who will ever trust it again? Just ask Gerard Ratner, who described the jewellery sold by his eponymous shops as “crap” and lived to regret it – the business continues, its products still sell, but you won’t see any Ratners stores in the high street any more, as the brand was irredeemably contaminated.

“E-learning” may not strictly be a brand, but I wonder if the name is irredeemably contaminated?

The case that digital technology is all-pervasive in the modern world is surely now irrefutable. The idea is not so strange that people should be as comfortable using digital technology and the Web for learning, just as they do for day-to-day work, for information gathering, for mobile communication, for games-playing, for music downloading, for movie watching, etc, etc, etc.

Yet the 2008 CIPD learning and development survey yields two disturbing statistics: only 50% of respondents (HR professionals) think e-learning is an important way of learning, and hardly any of them rank it in the top three methods. Perhaps they have negative associations with the name.

This is not a conclusion I approach lightly. My own book on e-learning is now complete, although you won’t be able to buy it until April of next year. Will the term e-learning – and my book title – be obsolete by then?

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Step away from the screen!

Yesterday I heard a devastating critique of e-learning, from a source not just close to home, but actually in my home.

My wife is preparing for her ACCA professional accountancy final exams, and was explaining to me why she – and many of her accountancy colleagues – chose to attend classes rather than take the e-learning option. Basically, she spends all day slaving over hot spreadsheets, and doesn’t like the idea of spending even more time in front of a computer. This led into a discussion of the precautions she takes to avoid RSI, and how she always chooses, whenever there is a choice, to do things away from the PC.

As more and more of us spend more and more of our work time in front of computers, is this the fundamental problem with e-learning?

I think this helps explain why some people are reluctant to choose online courses. But it also illustrates a common misconception about what e-learning involves – it’s not all self-study in front of the PC.

Most importantly, this critique is not actually about learning at all. Instead, it points at how we interface with digital technology in general. See my post of 14 May re new interfaces – the time is near when we’ll no longer use a keyboard and mouse, but instead will use more natural interfaces. This is the problem my wife was highlighting, and for the time being, it remains an issue not just for e-learning, but for all applications of digital technology, especially those we deem less urgent or important.

And no, that's not my wife in the picture.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008


The other day, a prospective client asked me if I was a zealot – an e-learning zealot. I thought it was an odd question. I responded that I regard e-learning as one of a number of useful approaches to learning and development, alongside classroom-based learning, work-based learning, coaching and mentoring approaches, innovative approaches, and others. This response seemed to go down well – apparently I had demonstrated that I wasn’t a zealot.

But who exactly are these “zealots” that my prospect – and perhaps other learning and development professionals – fear?

Surely there isn’t anyone out there now (there may have been ten years ago) who seriously believes e-learning is the best or only approach to learning, or should be the default approach? Surely nobody actually thinks we should abandon all – or even most – of our learning approaches and put everything online?

I used to think trainers who feared e-learning meant their jobs would be replaced by computers were hopelessly naïve, but perhaps this sort of fear is more widespread than I thought?

What sort of message have e-learning vendors been getting across for the past ten years if this sort of fear persists?

Monday, 16 June 2008

Birthday greetings!

This blog is one year old: yesterday was the first anniversary of my first post - and this is my fortieth post.

This week also sees me complete my forthcoming book, How to Implement Successful E-learning, which will be published early in 2009. I hope to discuss the ideas in this book, as well as some other stuff, in the months leading up to publication.

My resolution for this 'new year' is to try to network this blog more. I’ve mentioned my LinkedIn network already, and I’d like to invite all readers to join me on LinkedIn.
View Kenneth Fee's profile on LinkedIn
I’m also going to create some links to other blogs with similar themes to this one. I’d like to expand the readership of this blog, and build it into more of a community. Any further suggestions for ways to develop the community would be very welcome.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Innovative approaches to learning

A couple of years ago I was introduced to the chocolate factory, a large-scale learning exercise offered by the Wizards Network. In this exercise, groups of learners work together to design, manufacture, and package luxury chocolates, using the finest Belgian chocolate, under the supervision of a professional chocolatier. The exercise may be used to learn about teamwork, team building and team leading, communication skills, customer focus, and much more. A skilled facilitator may use learners’ experiences to help them achieve all sorts of learning outcomes that may have real meaning for their business. And of course, it has particular appeal for chocolate lovers.

The point of this sort of exercise is to find ways to engage learners, in order to get them into a positive frame of mind for learning. Rather than the same old boring routine of sitting in a classroom, looking at a flipchart or a PowerPoint presentation, the idea is to excite minds by doing something new and different – without losing sight of the learning, and business, objectives.

Of course, the chocolate factory wouldn’t excite factory workers in the food industry, or perhaps any sort of factory workers. But it would be extremely innovative for most of the rest of us. What I recommend is finding out exactly what interests a group of learners, and designing a learning experience around that – be it sport, art, music, animals, the outdoors, magic, drama, or whatever.

Unfortunately, many people perceive this sort of thing as frivolous, but there’s a wealth of theory about innovative approaches to learning, and why they are successful. For starters, my 2006 article on the subject is here.

There are many situations where innovative approaches work well, and I’d be happy to discuss them further. Any interest?

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Don Draper on e-learning

BBC Four has just finished the first series of Mad Men. If you haven’t caught this drama about advertising execs on Madison Avenue in 1960, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Super-cool creative Don Draper opens the climactic pitch to Kodak with these bon mots:

Technology is a glittering lure. But there is the rare occasion when the public can be engaged on a level beyond flash”.

He was talking about the slide carrousel (1960, remember) but today he could have been talking about e-learning.

Many people are drawn to new technology applications because of their “glittering lure”. Elsewhere, I’ve described this as the “gee whiz factor”. But just because technology is impressive doesn’t mean it’s going to work for e-learning. The reason certain applications engage the e-learning public is because they are effective tools to create interactive learning experiences. And that derives not just from the intrinsic properties of the technology, but also from how imaginatively the learning experience is designed.

I’ve seen some great technology applications that offer simulations, games, 3D panoramic images, avatars, dynamic mind maps, and all sorts of other techno-doowhackery. Without exception, each vendor believed theirs was a world-beating product, but most of them turned out to be no more than a “glittering lure”. The successful ones partner with learning and development professionals, if they want to get beyond flash and engage learners.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

New interfaces

How’s this for a piece of over-engineered old technology? I heard recently that the standard keyboard we take for granted is actually counter-intuitive. The QWERTY layout was apparently designed to slow down typists. In the 19th century, old manual typewriters had a design flaw – when typing speed increased, the keys used to stick. So some bright spark had the idea of laying out the letter-keys in such a way that it was more difficult to type quickly. The more commonly used letters (a, e, s, etc) were placed at the (weaker, for most people) left hand, and the more common letters were also placed towards the edges, so that they had to be struck by the weaker fingers like the pinkie.

Amazingly, nearly twenty years after Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, with almost everybody using a keyboard every day, we still haven’t got round to replacing it with something more intuitive, more natural to use.

But I don’t think that day is far off. Voice recognition software, touch-sensitive screens, handwriting recognition software are developments that point the way ahead. When Mr Spock first talked to the computer in Star Trek, it must have seemed impossibly futuristic, but now that day is near. And the keyboard and the mouse are on borrowed time.

Friday, 9 May 2008


I finally got around to joining LinkedIn yesterday. I say "finally", because it seems I've been a bit of a laggard on this.

Last year I accepted an invitation to a free month's trial of eAcademy, pursued it with enthusiasm, as it seemed like a great idea, but found it virtually useless, so didn't renew at the end of the month. Only to discover I'm still registered to this day, still get loads of emails from them, and can't unsubscribe without re-entering my (long-deleted) account. Hmm.

But at the time, a couple of contacts invited me to LinkedIn, and suggested I try that instead. I didn't - how many networks could I possibly need? But I've found more and more people mentioning it. A few weeks ago, in casual conversation with a couple of friends - one in HR, one in IT - I found they were both members.

So yesterday I joined. They told me the average new member already knows 15-20 people on LinkedIn - I found more than 40 within an hour. So I'm going to give it a whirl. Just with one of the free personal accounts - I'm not yet ready to spend whatever the Sterling equivalent of $200 for a souped-up business account. But we'll see what value there is in it. I'm open to suggestions as to how to make more of it.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

New partnership needed

I must admit, I thought my last few posts would have generated more of a reaction. They could have been interpreted as a vendetta against vendors. But they’re not.

Software vendors have made a significant contribution to encouraging e-learning, by introducing learning and development professionals to useful applications of digital technology. But for the efforts of vendors, the ‘e-learning industry’ would never have got off the ground. And they have invested a lot of money in developing e-learning tools.

The downside is that they have misunderstood or underestimated what learning is about, and so have unwittingly set back the cause of e-learning.

But that doesn’t mean they should now be ignored. On the contrary, learning and development professionals need to engage more with e-learning vendors, and explore ways they can work together to create new and better e-learning solutions. This will involve binning most current offers from e-learning vendors, and this will be painful for them, but in the long run it is in everybody’s best interests. We need a new partnership to take us forward.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Top ten bad behaviours

E-learning vendors cause a lot of problems in the market – here are just ten of their most common faults.

1. Vendors’ definitions of e-learning are often misleading because they are devised to lend disproportionate importance to their own offers.

2. Vendors rarely know much about learning, yet profess to be experts in e-learning – they’re not.

3. Vendors’ simplistic understanding of learning leads to technology of limited value, missed opportunities, and poor e-learning implementations.

4. Vendors often claim to offer complete e-learning solutions, when in fact their core competence lies in just one part.

5. Vendors use technological jargon to mystify e-learning, when they should be trying to make it more accessible. “E-learning 2.0” is a term used by vendors to cover up their past failures, while offering the same products as before.

6. The benefits vendors claim for e-learning serve more to make the vendor’s business case than to identify real benefits for their clients (e.g., ‘scalability’ helps vendors target larger clients, but is meaningless for small-to-medium-sized clients).

7. Vendors typically just sell their products, rather than helping identify clients’ problems and finding solutions for them.

8. Vendors tend to have a better understanding of technology issues but don’t share it in an open and honest way.

9. Vendors over-emphasise the importance of e-learning technology standards.

10. Vendors sometimes offer misleading price information, excluding items such as updates or expenses, which can be a high proportion of the client’s real costs.

Friday, 4 April 2008

They’re not listening

As I mentioned last month, I spent a few years at the eLearning Alliance mediating between vendors and their corporate clients, bringing together two different communities who spoke two different languages, and encouraging them to learn from each other. This experience left me with the conviction that a lot of the problems of e-learning are down to the vendors.

HR and training managers are rarely technology specialists, and often inexperienced buyers, and vendors have exploited this to win (short-term) business, at the expense of learning more about their clients’ needs and adjusting their offers accordingly.

This is a theme I shall explore in some detail in my forthcoming book, How to Implement Successful E-learning, so I don’t want to give away the farm right now. What I am prepared to say is that e-learning vendors, on the whole, have misunderstood and underestimated what is involved in learning, and so have failed to take advantage of huge potential in the market. They have frequently opted for quick fixes rather than best solutions.

And this has been a causal factor in poor e-learning programmes and thus widespread learner dissatisfaction with e-learning.

Vendors need to re-examine what learning and development is about, and re-think what sort of technology tools they can offer to facilitate it. This is enlightened self-interest, as those who don’t will hasten their own demise.

Thursday, 27 March 2008


How many e-learning vendor staff does it take to change a light bulb?

I don’t know … one to execute the task, one to adapt for the Web, one to provide the hosting, one to provide the annual software support and maintenance contract, one to explain the e-learning standards specification, one project manager, one to manage the account … how big a budget do you have?

Sound familiar?

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Venus and Mars

One of the regular complaints from learning and development professionals about technologists (hereafter, techies) is that they talk ‘Martian’, so much a specialist jargon that it's an alien language that serves to exclude everyone but themselves.

It’s a harsh judgement, but I think a fair one. There’s just one problem, though.

Learning and development is just as bad! Our professionals have their own alien language that often excludes others. If techies speak Martian, trainers speak Venusian.

When I worked with the eLearning Alliance, I found my main task was to bring together these two distinct professional communities and get them to communicate. Which was when we found great synergies, as both sides realised they had a lot to learn from each other. Effectively, we were bringing Mars and Venus down to Earth.

I used this metaphor once too often, and one wag looked me straight in the eye and said “you’re talking from Uranus”. There’s always one!

Have I got a serious point? Yes, I think we could all stand to use a lot less jargon and a lot more plain English.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Social networking

There’s been an explosion of interest recently in social networking as it applies to learning and especially e-learning. Hence the appearance of the pointless jargon “e-learning 2.0” and “learning 2.0”. There’s an ‘idiot’s guide’ here.

As someone who has posted regularly on discussion forums for at least six years, I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. I suppose it’s about the increasing numbers of people starting to use the Web to participate, rather than just to read. These opportunities have been about for years, but perhaps they are only now reaching critical mass as more and more people have computers with broadband connections.

Some HR managers have been getting worried about what people are talking about on their Facebook, MySpace, or Bebo sites. Which is a bit like worrying about what people chat about in cafes and pubs – the only real difference is that these comments are written and saved. I understand CIPD have been conducting some research into this, and have concluded that there’s nothing for employers to worry about.

As for learning, it represents a step in the right direction. The more people can use this sort of connectivity to support their learning, the better. And anything that encourages active learning, not just passive reading, has got to be a good thing. I'm glad to say that blogs, discussion forums, wikis, etc, seem to be here to stay, in the world of learning.

Friday, 22 February 2008

L plates

I’ve been having debates on-and-off for the last twenty years about what to call learners. Twenty years ago, trainees was going out of fashion, but people were slow to embrace learners. All sorts of other terms were mooted: students always sounded better-suited to the world of academia, and had too many other connotations. Just referring to staff or employees was a copout. Organisers of public courses would use delegates, but they might as well have just said customers or clients.

One term I still occasionally use is participants, suitably vague and devoid of any pejorative meaning. But is learners now acceptable? I’ve often been told people don’t like to be referred to as learners because it implies they’re thick. And, although we were all learner drivers ourselves once, people do tend to sneer at drivers with L plates.

I sense that learner has come of age, and is now more widely acceptable. There’s always a danger that I am too immersed in my profession and have lost touch with what people in the real world think. But I prefer to believe developments like e-learning, and the work of the learning and development profession, have contributed to the proper term becoming more acceptable. Am I right?

There I go, worrying about language again. But it is important – how we speak to each other conveys all sorts of unintentional meanings we should be more guarded about.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Writing Again

I’ve just noted that my last post was over a month ago – I think this is the longest gap between posts since I started this blog. As you can guess, this points to me having been very busy recently. I’ve just completed a major consultancy project, setting up a corporate university for a client, including initiating their first e-learning. I’ve also started work on a new project, writing a book on e-learning strategy. Clients I’ve helped with this subject, and delegates to my public workshops on the same theme, will recognise some of the ideas when the book is published.

But don’t rush off to Amazon just yet – the process is akin to the gestation of an elephant. I submit my final manuscript by the end of July. Not literally, of course – put aside your images of me and my quill pen, blotting my vellum and leaving it to dry. Then the publisher’s work begins: reviewing, editing, index-compiling, typesetting (again, the word doesn’t really describe the modern process), designing, print and production, etc. All of which means you shouldn’t expect to see my magnum opus until early in 2009.

Working title is How to Implement Successful E-learning. I’ll keep you posted on progress, and if anyone’s got any ideas to contribute, I’d love to hear them.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Limits of e-learning?

People often tell me that they believe e-learning is great for information exchange but not for behavioural change, that it’s good for factual, knowledge-based learning, but not skill or competence development.

I don’t think this is true.

The reason people believe this is because of the limitations of e-learning programmes they have seen or can imagine, not the limitations of e-learning’s potential. It would be true to say that, so far, it is easier to develop e-learning that meets knowledge rather than skill needs, but this is changing.

I’ve created a matrix to show the impact of different kinds of e-learning. Each of the two dimensions that form the axes of this matrix is a continuum. On the horizontal axis, the continuum is from knowledge to skill.
Learning can include varying proportions of knowledge acquisition and skill development, some learning being very fact-based and other learning being more about acquiring a capability. Thus all learning can be placed somewhere on this continuum.

On the second, vertical, axis, there is a continuum from generic to bespoke content.

The content of a learning programme can be common to the needs of any organisation, or it can be specific to the needs of a particular organisation. It needn’t be entirely generic or 100% bespoke, but can be placed somewhere along the continuum.

Putting the axes together yields a classic two-by-two matrix, so beloved of consultants. In the bottom left-hand box, we have most e-learning programmes, especially those offered by vendors of off-the-shelf courseware, typically very generic and very knowledge-based – I describe this as the cash cow. But few vendors of generic courseware offer more skills-focused programmes, so I call programmes that fall into the bottom right-hand box question marks. Companies implementing e-learning, perhaps for new employee induction or to introduce corporate systems are getting quick wins in the top left-hand box – these are stars.
But we’ll know when e-learning has really arrived when organisations can readily develop bespoke programmes that impact on employees’ skills and competences – thus the top right-hand box is the holy grail.

There are many ways to use this matrix, but I hope it at least shows it is possible to do more with e-learning than simply transfer information from one to another. Perhaps I’ll revisit this in future posts.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Happy New Year!

At this time of year, I'd like to wish my family and friends, clients and associates, and everyone who reads this blog, all the best for a peaceful and prosperous 2008.

May the New Year bring you everything you want, and if there's anything I can do to help bring that about, please let me know!

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