Such traditional management worries as time-and-cost constraints are proving to be key barriers to the use of e-learning techniques, a study by the Conference Board of Canada indicates.
The Ottawa-based organization says cost is the greatest barrier to companies starting to use new learning technologies.
Time to develop technology was listed by the employers surveyed as the No. 2 roadblock to e-learning — which the conference board defined as “electronically enabled information and communications technologies that provide learning content, ranging from television and video to CD-ROMs and the Internet.”
A third problem for companies was a lack of appropriate content, the board said.
“We found that much of the learning content available for delivery by e-learning is either not suited to the Canadian market or wrong for specific sector or organization’s needs,” said report author Debbie Murray.
However, despite the reluctance of some employers to adopt new e-learning techniques, 75 per cent of the employers surveyed told the conference board they already use some e-learning technologies.
The Internet and intranets (information delivered over the Internet in a format accessible only by approved people) were popular learning channels, the group said.
“Forty-seven per cent of employers have used the Internet for employee development, and 82 per cent expect to use it some time in the future,” Murray’s report said. “Fifty-eight per cent of employers have used intranets for skill development and 93 per cent plan to do so.”
Murray said that the study’s findings indicate a need for “just-in-time” skill development that e-learning technologies seem suited to fill.
“Sixty-six per cent of employers surveyed said their employees will not have the skills they will need in three years, and 68 per cent said their employees do not have the skills they need for new initiatives,” the report said.
The findings are based on a two-year research project financed by the federal Human Resources Development Canada department.
The Conference Board is developing a Web-based tool to help employers implement e-learning in their organizations. The board describes itself as a not-for-profit, non-advocacy organization.