Abstracts: January 9th, 2008

Senior managers across local government are missing opportunities to hone their skills, as they fail to make use of the online resources available to them. This is the conclusion of a report from the Chartered Management Institute. The report identifies technological and cultural barriers that are hindering widespread uptake of online learning in the sector, despite recognition of the benefits it brings.

A key finding was that 69 per cent of respondents spend 30 minutes or less using the local authority intranets, the internet or e-learning materials to solve any one problem. Only 58 per cent have made use of online management resources in the past year and just 27 per cent in the sector have participated in a structured e-learning programme.

Whilst there is a widespread recognition of the benefits of online information as a powerful resource, 46 per cent of respondents claim resistance to e-learning is caused by the ‘loss of the human touch’. 74 per cent still prefer face-to-face conversations and 28 per cent suggest ‘tutor-led’ development is most effective.

The most common goal employers had for introducing online-learning was to enable cost-effective, rapid and regular updates to employees. A key driver in this process was the need for compliance training, with core topics including discrimination and health & safety.

The report revealed low use of online resources for personal development with 43 per cent saying they have ‘too many distractions’ diverting them from PC-based development and 19 per cent arguing the content fails to ‘engage’ them. 26 per cent said they lack the motivation to complete online courses, with 17 per cent blaming lack of ‘appropriate support’.

The report is available from the CMI. www.managers.org.uk