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Learning and technology – what have we learnt? Blog Post by Martyn Sloman, Kingston University


Mon Feb 08 2010


We have now experienced ten years of e-learning and this is a good time to reflect on its impact. Sloman's (2009) paper entitled "Learning and technology - what have we learnt?" explores the progression of e-learning and its possible future directions. It extracts research conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), in the UK, from 2001 to 2008.

CIPD's research found that 57% of the responding organizations had used e-learning in some form, highlighting how e-learning has become an essential part of training delivery today. Although organizations seem to recognize some advantageous benefits of the delivery method, training managers on the other hand, did not consider e-learning to be as effective. Only 7% of training managers chose e-learning to be the most effective practice. This disparity highlights that organizations perceive greater benefits in e-learning than learners and trainers do.


This incongruity in perspectives acts as a great reminder of what organizations should be doing when designing and implementing e-learning programs for their employees. With a decade of experience in this subject matter, there is greater awareness of successful practices, which needs to be leveraged to help the future of e-learning. My article highlights the CIPD's view, that the following principles should be adopted to underlie any e-learning strategy, program, or intervention:

Start with the learner: Know your audience - acknowledge the needs, preferences, strengths and limitations of your target audience.

Relevance drives out resistance: Learners are more likely to engage with the e-learning program if they recognize its bearing to the organization.

Take account of intermediaries: Regardless of delivery methods, learners need both support and challenge. Intermediaries are essential in achieving this, even with e-learning.

Embed activity in the organization: E-learning cannot take place in isolation; it has to be integrated with other training courses and human management training systems.


Support and automate: E-learning should be used as one element, within a range of formal and informal support mechanisms which can help learners to work and learn.


Sloman, M. (2009). Learning and technology - what have we learnt? Impact: Journal of Applied Research in Workplace E-learning, 1(1), 12-26.

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