Research Carried Out for the British Open University Shows More Companies are Considering Online Training
A recent survey of 1,021 companies with 500+ employees indicated that almost
30% had already used online staff development programmes, and another 30% would
consider online training. The survey was carried out by telephone by Croydon
Market Research Centre (CMRC) for COROUS the corporate arm of the British Open
University between January 11 and February 4, 2002.
The research also ranked the Open University as the most trusted potential supplier
for online learning packages. The survey, which sampled companies with more
than 500 employees, revealed that businesses are not planning to reduce their
training budgets for next year, despite the current downturn in the economy.
Companies surveyed said that the advantages of online learning included staff
being able to learn at their own pace and in their own time. They described
online learning as being convenient and flexible, easy to use and available
to a wide audience.
Others commented that the disadvantages were that online learning is impersonal
with no interaction with teachers or peers, offers no personal feedback, is
not suitable for all subjects and requires a degree of computer literacy before
Marion Baldwin, Commercial Director for COROUS which develops online learning
for corporate clients, said the survey highlighted some of the popular misconceptions
about online learning.
"Many people assume that online learning is an isolating experience but
this is simply not the case. Well-developed online programmes engage the learner,
offer personal feedback, stimulate interaction with an online tutor or moderator,
and can include group working with colleagues in their own or other companies,"
"It is very encouraging to see how many companies are already using, or
considering, online learning, and to see how many employees have access to the
internet and e-mail. This will make online learning a more viable option in
The research showed that the percentage of staff with a PC on their desk and
access to the internet and e-mail ranged from 38% for the wholesale and retail
sector up to around 90% for national government.
COROUS is devising online learning packages for numerous companies including
insurance giant Royal and SunAlliance, Shell International Exploration and Janssen-Cilag,
and established a collaborative online discussion forum for the Cambridge Programme
for Industry in 2001. It has also established the COROUS Connect Network, a
designated forum for companies to share their ideas and experiences about e-learning.
The Network holds quarterly meetings for members, hosts online discussion topics
each month and offers online resources, presentations and information. All Network
members are interested in e-learning and plan to use online learning for staff
development in the future. More information about COROUS can be found at its
website at www.corous.com.
Contact details (for interviews and photographs)
OU Media Relations Fiona Leslie 01908 653256