New research by e-learning provider SkillSoft shows that organisations in the financial services sector have implemented e-learning more successfully than companies operating in other industries.
The qualitative study questioned employees across 16 global organisations – over a third of whom worked in the financial services industry. It found that 94% of employees in the financial services sector (10% more than employees working in other industries) are really making the most of the e-learning opportunities available to them by actually applying the new skills they have learnt online in the workplace.
When asked how they were putting their new knowledge into practice, almost half (49%) of the sample said that they were drawing on what they had learnt online on a daily basis – typically citing improved communications with customers and colleagues as a major benefit. 28% said 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) and 6% believed that they were better at coaching and mentoring.
However, it isn’t just the employees themselves who are benefiting from learning in this way. More than half of the sample (55%) have also passed on their new knowledge to people them work with; and 98% would recommend e-learning to friends and colleagues.
Kevin Young, managing director of SkillSoft EMEA, praised both companies and employees within the financial sector for their proactive approach to e-learning. 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 on-line 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%).”
The survey found 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 continued:
“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 organisations 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.”
Free copies of a management summary of the full research findings are available from Kay Baldwin-Evans, head of research at SkillSoft on +44 (0)20 8283 1811 or email: email@example.com
Additional comment from Kevin Young plus end-user quotes from employees in the financial services sector are available from Louise Jaggs at TextOnTap: tel: +44 (0)1242 257770; mob: +44 (0)7712 011246;
Notes to editors:
16 global organisations using e-learning as a critical component of their training delivery agreed to contribute to this study: 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 research participants (204 users) were based in 14 countries across EMEA and were randomly selected by their organisations. Approximately a quarter of the respondents were located outside the UK. They represented a diverse range of functional and occupational groups. The only criterion stipulated by SkillSoft was that each participant had to have experience of at least one course online.
The fieldwork took place between June 2003 and January 2004. In-depth qualitative interviews (of around 20 minutes in length) were undertaken either face-to-face (68%) or - where participants were unavailable or located outside Europe - over the telephone (32%). The findings were launched to the research participants on the 18th March 2004. The findings for the financial services sector have subsequently been analysed and were launched on 7th April 2004.
Other generic information:
Gender: Male - 54%; Female - 46%
Age: 18–15 (14%); 25–35 (47%); 35–45 (25%); 45–55 (12%); Over 55 (2%)
PC skills (self-rated): Bad - 8%; Not very good - 3%; Average - 17%; Good - 46%; Excellent - 27%
Additional data regarding employees working in the financial services sector:
This group represented 33% of the total sample (68 users). Generic information as follows: 58% male; 42% female - age range 18-25 (15%); 25-35 (46%); 35-45 (24%); 45-55 (13%); over 55 (2%) – PC skills; Bad – 8%; Not very good – 3%; Average – 17%; Good – 44%; Excellent – 28%
Users were asked what they liked about e-learning (all answers were spontaneous) 35% cited the design, content and interactivity of the courses; 23% said they like the way they can go at your own pace; 22% said it's easy to use; 20% said that they like the way they can apply it directly to their job.
When asked what they didn't like about e-learning 43% couldn't think of anything; 29% cited individual elements of particular modules; 10% said they didn’t like the audio; 7% thought it was ‘too American’; 6% didn't like the lack of human intervention; and 5% didn't like the window size.
About SkillSoft (www.skillsoft.com)
SkillSoft is a major global supplier of integrated e-Learning solutions that provide the workforces of corporate organisations with management, business, computer and information technology skills.
SkillSoft focuses on generating tangible business results through both formal and informal learning processes – providing learners with the tools to access information, training modules, reference material and other resources at the point they really need it – i.e. when they are actually trying to complete a specific task during a working day.
SkillSoft’s customers include international corporate organisations such as AT&T, FedEx, Hilton, Lloyds TSB, Nestle, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Royal Mail, Siemens, Telewest and Wolters Kluwer. The company works with a wide range of technology suppliers to ensure that its SkillChoice blended learning solutions can be seamlessly integrated into an organisation’s existing systems and software.
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