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07 November, 2000

NEW SURVEY REVEALS ONLINE LEARNING IS INEFFECTIVE

Sydney, 7 November - Online Learning has proved to be a widely used but
not highly effective as a training tool according to a recent national
survey conducted by The Leading Edge Market Research Consultants Pty Ltd
for Com Tech Education Services.

The survey targeted Com Tech's top customers at Training Manager level. It
captured responses from 57 Training Managers from blue chip companies
representing over 80,000 employees and the results were strongly
indicative of the Australian IT Industry's current views.

Although 60 per cent of companies surveyed said they were using some form
of online learning, an overwhelming 83 per cent rated online learning as
not particularly successful.

And even more alarming, where staff participation and enthusiasm were
involved, 44 per cent (? of training managers surveyed considered online
learning to be completely unsuccessful. For gaining skills only 3 per cent
found it extremely successful with 30 per cent finding it not very
successful.

The Human Touch
Steve Ross, General Manager of Com Tech Education Services commented: "We
were not surprised by the outcomes of this survey. We believe that humans
learn best from humans and that online learning is not an acceptable
substitute for face to face training.  Staff enthusiasm for this type of
learning is low because it is mass personalised and a very sterile and
artificial form of communication. People are different, yet online courses
are pitched to everyone in the same way."

Steve Ross continued "We need to be realistic. Online learning focuses on
how streamlined training can become without realising the sacrifices made
to achieve it - namely losing human interaction and personalisation.  It
is all about the learner adapting to the medium instead of the medium
adapting to the learner.  The emphasis needs to be on learning and the
outcomes."

But the paradox is that even though eLearning is not seen to be that
effective it is seen to be cost effective and convenient way of skilling
up your staff without taking them out of the office.

For convenience, 50 per cent found eLearning either extremely or very
successful and for reducing the cost of IT training 66 per cent deemed it
a success.

However, respondents rated its overall effectiveness fairly low with 29
per cent claiming it was not very successful and 3 per cent saying it was
not at all successful.

"The research confirms that online learning is being undertaken for
logistical and practical reasons but it is not the solution for effective
training.  Corporates, although well-intentioned, are largely basing the
decision not on the effectiveness of learning but on the cost," said Mr
Ross "There is a role for eLearning but it appears to be best for more
simple task based applications and gaining skills in specific areas. In
these terms the best way of using on line training would appear to be as a
subsequent refresher of course based skills."

Net*Working 2000 Online Debate
Steve Ross, General Manager of Com Tech Education Services is taking part
in a ground-breaking global online debate about the pitfalls and pleasures
of online learning on www.flexiblelearning.net.au/nw2000
http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/nw2000 on Wednesday 8th November at
3pm.

This is the third online conference from The Australian National Training
Authority, which focuses on vocational education and training within
Australia, and the whole program runs from 1-14 November 2000.

The NSW Department of Education and Training is managing this year's
online conference in partnership with the Canberra Institute of
Technology.

The online debate will be featured in the Main Arena of the Net*Working
site. For more information about the participants and the online program
or to register for the event please go to:
www.flexiblelearning.net.au/nw2000


1. The survey this year by The Leading Edge Market Research Consultant Pty
Ltd centred upon IT Training Managers. It is the first on line survey to
canvass the opinions and attitudes of Com Tech Education's top clients.
The survey was drawn from a random selection of CTES's valued customers
who were willing to respond to an e-mail survey. All respondents had
authority to plan and instigate training for their organisations' IT
staff. This survey forms an important part of CTES's regular monitoring of
opinion within the IT training market and is planned to be repeated.

For more information on Com Tech Education Services or for interviews with
Steve Ross please contact:

Liz Kirby/ Tippy Kavalee
Howorth Communications
T:  9904 4533
Email: pr@howorth.com.au

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