News story

eLearning saves time and money for disability charity

Learning NewsCharity Learning Consortium

United Response, the national disability charity, has won the Charity Learning Award for the best means of engaging their eLearning audience, with a multi pronged approach which ensured that a new money saving online learning programme was adopted by staff. Judges were impressed by the well thought out marketing campaign, which took account of challenges and learners' needs, and ultimately resulted in eLearning take-up being a real success.

United Response identified that it could save an impressive amount over a three year period by using eLearning as part of a new blended approach to L&D.

Just eight months after making the decision to replace purely face to face training with a more cost effective blend, to include online learning from The Charity Learning Consortium, it made its new eLearning programme live - a fantastic achievement in such a short space of time.

But how did its L&D team manage this huge shift in learning culture, so that its 3,000 strong staff - based in 250 locations across England and Wales - really bought into the new way of learning?

The L&D team decided on a multi-pronged approach:

• Local roadshows helped to engage managers and front line staff face to face

• Promotion through internal communications helped

• An eLearning champion was appointed to each division, to offer users' support

• IT training courses were set up across the country, to help increase confidence with using technology

• A flexible approach towards learning was also adopted - so staff can complete online courses where and when it suits them, even at home.

The results speak for themselves - with a front line member of the United Response staff recently tweeting:

"I am LOVING the E-Learning that @unitedresponse has brought in. So much easier :D "

Natasha Furness, Learning & Development Officer at United Response, explains: "As a nationwide organisation it is often challenging to implement such radical changes, and we knew this. Because of the steps that we took to counteract this, our new approach to learning was received very positively from employees across the organisation."

Martin Baker, CEO and founder of the Consortium commented: "This is an inspirational example of what can be achieved with a well thought out campaign to market eLearning within an organisation. United Response realistically assessed the challenges that it faced, and then took positive steps to meet them."

The benefits of replacing face to face training with a blended approach:
According to Natasha Furness, Learning & Development Officer at United Response

Cost savings:"There are certainly cost saving benefits to the organisation which means in the difficult economic climate, with cuts being implemented, we are ahead of the game and prepared to continue offering the same quality of support."

Time saved: "The time that eLearning has saved, as employees spend less time away from the work place, means we can offer more support to our clients."

Quality of learning: "ELearning ensures consistency of the subjects, which is one thing we were not able to offer before."

It's all in the blend! "It is important to recognise that eLearning alone is not the solution - the learning we offer still requires a blended approach and face to face training is always going to be a vital means for delivering some training."