In the latest issue of the US-based Sloan Consortium’s periodical, Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, learning professionals say that corporate training (said to now be worth $31bn a year or a quarter of the US’s total spend on training) has been transformed by technology-based instruction.


“In little over a decade, corporations moved rapidly from face-to-face instruction – as practically the only actor on the training stage – to sharing curriculum significantly with e-learning,” said special issue editor Robert Ubell of NYU Polytechnic Institute. “The change was largely due to the overwhelming economic advantage of web-based instruction in corporations over conventional classroom teaching. Web instruction has also helped propel worldwide corporate expansion. In companies, self-learning modules are easily circulated to a globally scattered workforce at relatively low cost.”


Contributors to the issue include: John Ambrose and Julie Ogilvie of SkillSoft; Allison Rossett and James Marshall of San Diego State University; Kent Barnett and John R. Mattox of KnowledgeAdvisors; Frank Mayadas of the Sloan Foundation, and Kee Meng Yeo of Amway.


According to the journal, companies are now giving employees a wider choice of learning options beyond conventional face-to-face classroom training. Organisations are now blending online, social learning and other options to accommodate a multi-generational workforce, remote employees, ‘offshored’ and contract workers. In a study, Rossett and Marshall of San Diego State University revealed that learning professionals largely adopt e-learning for familiar instruction, such as product information, compliance and standardisation but, they report, e-learning is less effective at tackling such challenges as cultural understanding.


Comment: So, what this august journal is saying is that more e-learning is being done than was the case before e-learning came along; that e-learning can reduce the costs of training, and it’s well suited to knowledge-based learning such as product knowledge updates and compliance/ regulatory training.


The rest of the world has known this for about 15 years – ever since e-learning became e-learning. It’s nice to know that the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks has now caught up with the rest of us.