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Rapid elearning: dumbing down or gearing up? May 23 London

Few topics have divided the elearning community more than rapid elearning. Rapid elearning tools and processes are shaking up established views about what can be achieved at what cost and in what time.

For some, the very concept of rapid elearning is a threat to its reputation for quality content designed and built using painstaking processes. For others, rapid elearning provides a way to respond to a fast-changing work environment and an opportunity to democratise the process of content creation.

These are the controversial issues that will be discussed at the eLearning Network’s next event, Rapid eLearning: dumbing down or Gearingup?.

eLN chairman Clive Shepherd who will present on rapid skills for rapid elearning designers at the event said:
“It's time we sorted out once and for all whether rapid elearning is a question of dumbing down or gearing up. Is it a threat to hard-won standards or a positive force for change? Is the long-established ADDIE model on the way out and, if so, how can we be sure that quality will be safeguarded?”

The eLearning Network (eLN) is the UK’s foremost professional association of users and developers of all forms of elearning and holds a range of seminars and webinars on hot topics in the elearning industry. Speakers at the rapid elearning event will include Karen Hancox-Barringer from Bowie Castlebank, Patrick Dunn from Networked learning, Steve Rayson from Kineo and Mike Alcock from Atlantic Link.

In addition, delegates will get the chance to join main advocates from each side as they come together head to head in a debate.

Clive Shepherd continued:

“You'll hear the arguments and get to vote on the perspective that most convinces you. This is not a time for compromise - there can only be one winner on the day!”

Anyone interested in attending is urged to book early as this stands to be a very popular day. The cost is £100 for eLN members and £150 for non-members; members are also able to attend for free when using their event credits.

Please register online at
The eLearning Network is a non-profit making body that exists to promote information and best practice among the elearning industry. Anyone interested in joining the eLN’s and would like further information please see


Notes for Editors:

About the eLearning Network

Formed originally as The Association for Computer Based Training (TACT) in 1987, the eLearning Network (eLN), is the UK’s foremost professional association of users and developers of all forms of elearning. It is a non-profit making body that exists to promote information and best practice among all those who are involved in the elearning world, as well as act as a networking forum for its members.

For more information about the eLN and other forthcoming eLN events, please visit

Please see attached event agenda and speaker information.

Issued by:
Kim Peatfield
Write Stuff PR

Tel: 01335 350476
Mob: 07966 478781

Rapid elearning: dumbing down or gearing up?
May 23 London


Strange bed-fellows: rapid tools and creative approaches to e-learning

Patrick Dunn, Networked learning

Rapid tools emerged as a response to pressures to reduce time and cost of elearning production: a classic software response to a pressing real-world problem. But their rapid adoption has broken the mould, not just of elearning production, but of elearning thinking, and it is at times like this that creativity and innovation can prosper…as long as we adopt appropriate mindsets and approaches, and cultivate appropriate skills. This presentation will challenge the view that rapid tools inevitably lead to poor quality learning, and present a challenging view that, on the contrary, rapid tools will help to move e-learning development onto a more creative trajectory.
Patrick Dunn has been designing, producing and thinking about various forms of learning technology for nearly 20 years. He has an MBA from Warwick Business School, an MSc in Networked Learning, and a music degree from Oxford University. He has worked for leading e-learning companies in the US and UK, including DigitalThink and Line Communications, and for major consultancies including PricewaterhouseCoopers. His specialism has always been in looking for creative approaches to help people learn more effectively. Although his background is in training and education, he has worked with world-leading creative agencies such as Landor Associates, major branding agencies such as Sterling Brands, and on UK government projects such Creativity Incubator.

Rapid skills for rapid elearning designers

Clive Shepherd, Independent elearning consultant

Rapid e-learning tools and processes empower subject experts and generalist trainers to participate in the development of e-learning content and respond to training requirements where deadlines are tight, audiences small or shelf-life short. But even rapid e-learning has to be fit for purpose, to be ‘good enough’. So, given limited time to train these new designers, what skills would you regard as essential, and what can be left to the professionals? In this session, Clive explores the role that rapid e-learning can play and explains what you can do to develop non-specialist e-learning designers in your organisation.
Clive is a consultant specialising in e-learning, blended learning and communications. He was formerly Director, Training and Creative Services for American Express in EMEA and co-founder of Epic, the UK’s major producer of custom e-learning. He is widely acknowledged as one of the UK’s foremost experts in e-learning, with more than one hundred published articles and four books/e-books to his name. He speaks regularly at major international conferences and contributes regularly to his blog, Clive on Learning.

Transforming the Business with Rapid E-learning

Karen Hancox-Barringer, Bowie Castlebank

Two years ago BCG were losing 13.4 million per annum due to the unprecedented speed at which the photo processing market changed from analogue to digital.
In order to survive in the business BCG had to rethink not only their business strategy but their people strategy too. In hard times many companies cut their training budget, seeing it as an expendable cost. BCG took a different approach and decided to invest in training and to use this as their platform for future success.

Their plan was to ensure all staff were equipped with the skills and knowledge required, on the front line, to turn the business around.
In 2 years they are now running at a loss of 1.4 million which is still a loss but is a considerable change from situation they found themselves in two years ago. Recruitment costs have been reduced by 43%, due to a fall in attrition in the last 6 months, feedback suggests this can be directly related to the introduction of e-learning.

Mystery shop results have also shown an increase since the introduction of e-learning, with September figures showing that their total score hasn’t dropped below 60%, compared to an average score of 56% in 2006, so things are definitely heading in the right direction. The last two studies have identified them to be top of the class against their competitors.

The training strategy has been revolutionised to ensure all staff in all areas of the country receive generic training that meets the needs of the 3 year business plan. Historically learning and development carried a cost of £500,000 annually this has been reduced to £165,000.
The latest set of reports show a take up of 81% of staff completing all their e-learning modules with anecdotal feedback from the field suggesting that motivation has not been so high in 5 years!

Modules are designed quickly by non IT professionals, using in house staff to meet the needs of an ever changing industry. E-Learning has played a significant role in transforming BCG and placing them in the strongest position they have been in for a number of years.

The debate:

A first for the eLN, you get to hear both sides of the argument and then make your decision.

Arguing for formal elearning and the ADDIE process:

Phil Green
Richard Naish

Arguing for rapid elearning and streamlined processes:

Steve Rayson
Mike Alcock

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