At our sister company Dever Solutions Limited we use our learning portal to host blended learning to support our classroom deliveries in business architecture and operating model development. The courses are delivered to a mix of corporate clients, in larger financial services organisations and to develop contractors that work within those organisations.
Historically folders were made up of all the slides, printed in colour, and then carried to events. The cost of printing and the time taken to collate the material was onerous. The difficultly of transporting thick heavy folders to events, especially when flying to Scotland was a real issue. In 2012 I saw the first use of tablets at an open course we held in Newport Pagnell and now nearly everyone uses them.
In the old days we had folders printed for stock because longer print runs were more cost-effective. This meant that changing course material was an issue and it stifled our agility and stopped us mixing and matching our material.
Delegates say that having access to course materials in advance of the event allows them to get acquainted with the subject and to do some foundation reading.
They also like the audio tracks on the modules that enable then to revise sessions in the following weeks after the course to embed, consolidate their learning. They like to complete the revision quizzes too.
I was concerned at first that the lack of a glossy folder would be seen as a negative, but feed back says that this concern was unjustified as softcopy of material fits in with clear desk policies and to be honest, no one has the room to store these things anyway now.
Colleagues have commented that “surely you risk having your slides plagiarised”. Well that is a potential risk; but we publish to PDF to make editing a little more difficult and the SCORM packages (audio enabled units) only run on our domain and are watermarked. The portal is accessed only by delegates with valid passwords and it tracks IP addresses to ensure multiple users are not using the same account.
I suppose if someone wanted to steal the IP they could as all these methods of protection are flawed in some way or another; but you must have some degree of trust.
Allowing access to the portal on receipt of payment also has the advantage of making people who have paid in advance more comfortable, as they wait for the face to face event, with a business that they only have just engaged via the web. So, portal access really helps to start and develop confidence in the relationship and provides immediate consumption of value,
My message here is that e-learning is not just standalone and it can form part of a blended proposition and certainly we find that it gives us currently a bit of a unique selling point; above and beyond more traditional trainers who still rely on classroom delivery with handouts.
One client recently said ” You don’t sell you portal hard enough as it is a real key selling point”.