Headlines: December 17th, 2001

Learners in local government are to use cheap file-sharing technology to both increase accessibility to quality training – and to drive down cost.The Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA), set up by Government to improve the performance of councils has launched the Learning Pool. This uses the same “Napster-style” file-sharing technology used to copy music from the internet to offer every council access to high-quality, constantly updated learning materials.

The package will also potentially offer massive economies of scale. Even if only five per cent of local authority training moved online the savings to local government could be more than 30 million pounds a year.

Councils that subscribe will be able to search a central register of training materials, download software and make their own materials available to the network. Anyone from frontline staff to directors and councillors will be able to log on and learn at their own level and pace.

To kick the project off the IDeA has commissioned and produced 30 high quality learning objects. Subscription revenue will be used to commission new courses.

The Learning Pool, developed in partnership with Epic, a developer of bespoke e-learning programmes, will go fully live in April 2002.

Link: www.idea.gov.uk/elearning/aboutlearningpool.htm