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Increased use of e-learning and collaboration will help cut costs, say local government L&D professionals


Local government learning and development professionals predict more e-learning and collaboration will help cut costs while improving service levels, according to new Brightwave research.

Two thirds of UK public-sector learning and development and training professionals expect to improve the level of service they can deliver to their organisations thanks to an increase in e-learning and collaborative working.

The report found 88% plan to increase their use of e-learning in order to meet new Government cost-reduction targets. A further 58% predict more collaborative working and 49% will reduce classroom-based training to help cut costs.

The projected increase in the use of e-learning has continued, rising by 76% over the past two years. At the start of 2009 only half of L&D professionals expected to increase the use of e-learning, whereas 88% currently anticipate an increase. In addition, more L&D professionals expect to collaborate – rising from 42% saying they expect to take this approach in 2009, to nearly 60% who currently expect more collaborative working.

Charles Gould, managing director at Brightwave, said: "The age of austerity is clearly having a deep impact on the way we all work, both in the private and public sector. The role and anticipated use of e-learning is growing, but we must be careful not to look at learning technologies as simply a way to cut costs. Quality e-learning initiatives with engaging content that address clear organisational objectives are crucial to delivering real value.

"In fact, many councils are already working together and building their e-learning services to deliver engaging and effective training. We recently met a number of Scottish councils in Glasgow for an event on ‘delivering change’. They are embracing this technology and finding ways to collaborate. However, there is an inevitable skills gap, and many councils are now choosing whether to build their e-learning capabilities internally or use external support to take e-learning to the next level. We want to help them implement the best solution," concluded Gould.

Paul McGhee, leadership and development manager at the City of Edinburgh Council, added: "Our e-learning platform has substantially reduced the costs in providing training. To date savings have amounted to over £800,000. It has enabled high-volume training delivery at lower cost and greater speed, facilitated a quicker response to educating policy and procedural change, and improved the quality and diversity of training and development options available. It has also freed up valuable time enabling the corporate learning team to move to a more consultancy led, bespoke service, adding increased value across the organisation."