WEB SIGHT: A shift in learning models

This issue of Canadian HR Reporter looks at the e-learning bandwagon. E-learning is one facet of the broader area of training and development. By now the message should be clear, it’s quality people who make the difference in organizations. While it is sometimes hard to measure, from an intuitive perspective, investment in people pays large dividends in terms of the future success of an organization. If nothing else, investing in people sends the message that staff are valued, which will certainly assist employers in the war for attracting and retaining talent.

The future of online learning
The Future of Online Learning is an interesting site that shares the views of author Stephen Downes with regard to e-learning. According to the author, it is not a question of if, but of when e-learning will bring about a shift from the current classroom-based education model to a model based on topic. Few sites talk dollars, a topic Downes faces head on in the page on “The Economics of Online Learning.” He notes that online learning comes with a high start-up cost in exchange for lower future costs. How these future costs play out will be interesting to see, since content is likely refreshed more frequently in an e-learning environment. This site is easy to navigate and easier to comprehend.

HRDC: Learning and training resources
When looking for information about training, the Human Resources Development Canada Web-site is an excellent place to start. Under the heading “Training and Careers,” there are four main subsections: learning and training resources; career planning tools and resources; self-assessment and aptitude testing; and entrepreneurship resources. Of interest to job-seekers will be the “Essential Skills” section which defines required skills for a multitude of jobs.

Learning technologies
The Office of Learning Technology (OLT) is linked to the HRDC site, but deserves separate mention. “The OLT works to raise awareness of the opportunities, challenges and benefits of technology-based learning and to act as a catalyst for innovation in the area of technology-enabled learning and skills development.” With separate pages directed to learners, instructors, and developers, this site has something for everyone looking to get involved in e-learning.

Innovative strategies for business
OnlineLearning Magazine is a trade journal, which would be of interest to HR practitioners responsible for developing and maintaining online learning tools. In addition to connections to providers supporting online learning tools, the site offers editorial comment on subjects such as content management and generating interest in online learning. The magazine is published monthly, making the site worthy of a bookmark for return visits.

What every student should know about online learning
Online learning is not for everyone. John E. Reid, Jr. offers up the article “What Every Student Should Know About Online Learning.” The article is a quick read and provides a reminder of both the advantages and disadvantages of “distance learning.”

Joe Nunes is an actuary and president of Actuarial Solutions Inc. in Oakville, Ont. He can be reached at (905) 257-2038 or [email protected].

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