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"Eduson Has Changed Our Attitude to
E-Learning"

We are continuing the discussion about e-learning with corporate education professionals. Representatives from Lafarge – a world leader in building materials with annual revenue of $14 billion – told about their experience of using e-learning platforms.

Lafarge tested the online learning platform Eduson.tv during a project called “Knowledge Month”. Ekaterina Tselova, Head of the Recruitment Department for Staff Selection, Evaluation and Adaptation, and Svetlana Bondarchuk, Head of the Department for Evaluation, Development and Staff Training talked about how the company’s attitude to e-learning had changed.

Lafarge Speakers

- Why has Lafarge started to use distance learning to train its staff? What are the positives about using this kind of format?

Svetlana: The positives are very clear. First of all, it gives you time flexibility. When you learn online, you aren’t constricted to a place or time, and you can work at your own pace, setting up your individual learning plan. So that it’s becoming really very individual.

Ekaterina: Another important point is that it covers a wide range of topics. With e-learning you can include anything you want. At the same time, it also uses a combination of various different formats as you can see at Eduson.tv. It includes lectures and presentations, and then afterwards exams and certificates.

- How has e-learning been arranged at Lafarge?

S.: In the company’s Russia office we’ve always had a rather cautious attitude to e-learning. Working with Eduson is setting a unique precedent.

The thing is that all the company’s offices in more than 60 countries all over the world are using the global corporate e-learning system. However, in Russia, it’s hardly ever used because its users aren’t comfortable taking courses in foreign languages. So as a result people don’t want to and can’t learn with that system. We went to find an alternative, and found it with Eduson.

- Which members of staff learn actively?

Е.: Our most popular online courses are used by the sales, marketing, finance, logistics and HR departments. If you look at the statistics for our test month, then around 150 members of staff were signed up. So they went to 900 courses and passed 5000 exams, which is more than 30 exams per staff member.

- Our service has the option to assign individual tracks to staff.
Do you find it useful?

Е: We do assign tracks to people, both for staff as a group and individually. It was very useful for us during an internal project we had called “Knowledge Month”. During a month, each week was dedicated to a different topic. With that project and the course catalogue together, we could create specific tracks. Individual tracks are very useful, as they ensure that staff do not get lost amidst the large variety of courses. HR has a preliminary filter which helps to direct staff and learn in a more focused way.

- But surely it’s important that staff don’t just take the course that they need but also maximize and engage what they’ve learnt in the process?

Е.: Sure, engaging with the material is the most important thing, and there are a lot of factors in distance learning which influence this. I think that the most fundamental thing is how comfortable the system is to use, and how attractive or intuitive the interface is. A system which is difficult to use just won’t be used, we’ve already seen that.

Feedback can help us to evaluate staff’s engagement with the material. People want to learn more about material which is interesting. In the company we’ve got a lot of staff who, once the project is over, ask if they can access Eduson courses in future. It was clear that our staff were really interested in it.

S.: If we’re talking about figures, then 5000 tests were taken by 150 staff members, which already show a high level of engagement. Eduson completely changed our staff’s relationship to e-learning.

- How do you evaluate the effectiveness of the training? Which indicators do you look at?

S.: We collect feedback from our staff after the training. This is usually our main indicator, and we orientate our programmes and future material around this feedback.

In some companies, the results of the training are evaluated by business indicators. We think that doing this in a manufacturing company isn’t right. There are too many factors which influence the results, and it’s hard to clearly establish where and when the effects from the training exactly begin.

But if you’re talking about, for example, a large bank with enormous amount of client offices, then it’s quite different. They have product, retail and client training, which has a direct effect on these business indicators.

Е.: That’s true, and a big chunk of our training is focused only on manufacturing. It’s hard to link the effectiveness of training to the number of accidents or equipment failure. Say, if the equipment is old, then even highly qualified people won’t be able to stop it breaking.

- What are your plans for the future?

S.: By and large, we are starting from scratch and so this can be a negative due to certain stereotypes. Many people are used to a model when a teacher is saying everything and the students are just doing what he says.

Learning with Eduson has been a big breakthrough for us, and we are planning to continue using e-learning at our company. For example, all our “live” programmes are planned without fail to be accompanied by e-learning. We will be completely recommending e-learning to all our staff, even to those who want to work out an individual development plan by themselves.

S.: I’ve seen that the growth in e-learning is happening not only at Lafarge but also in other large companies. This is because this format has already been acknowledged as a proper alternative to live learning with a guest speaker. Companies always try to find the best optimal route in terms of content and cost.

From our part, our positive attitude inspires confidence not only in e-learning as a whole, but in your services specifically. It’s also a lot cheaper than services from the majority of consultancy companies that do learning.

Another positive is the option to add your own content, which is really important and useful.

- Which courses do you personally like?

Е.: I really like the format in the animated presentations; it’s got brief information on this or that topic, it’s designed in a really pretty way and the presentation is accessible. Another advantage is that the foreign speakers are experts in their field.

The new business-cases is also an interesting and unusual section. Difficult things are explained in a way that isn’t dry and formal, and are sufficiently lively and close to the business realm that we operate in.

Another good thing is the free access catalogue where you can look at courses according to different industries. This is a chance to increase your business knowledge, and it’s useful to learn about your colleagues’ work in the finance or legal department, so you can develop yourself further.

S: In the near future I think that there will be an increased interest in anything to do with management changes, optimizing processes and new ways of working with clients. An advantage of this is that everything to do with the current crisis will be in demand, such as financial information.

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