The Training Foundation launches e-Learning initiative to crash content development costs
Following a £2m Research and Development programme spanning four years, The Training Foundation has today launched a unique e-Learning product suite. Targeted at the issues that have restricted the take-up of e-Learning and inhibited its potential, this initiative makes blended learning an affordable and realistic option for every organisation.
- The Training Foundation's unique, easy-to-use, online authoring system for trainers, tutors and subject matter experts with no e-Learning experience. Not just a software tool, Acce-Lerator includes an integral instructional design course, Screencraft, and the unique Learning Object Design Assistant (LODA). It uniquely empowers all trainers to quickly develop online materials. Available to license from just £595 plus vat pa, Acce-Lerator will change the price-performance dynamics of e-Learning for good!
"Acce-Lerator is excellent!!! After having access to it for an hour, I produced my first e-learning object, with the minimum of fuss and bother. I have to say it DOES do as promised. I do think 'ordinary' members of staff could use this tool with great ease with some support. I LOVE IT!"
Vicki Weavers, e-Learning Co-ordinator, Weston College of Further Education
• Customisable content libraries
The first two content programmes launched, The Responsible Employee and The Responsible Manager, were developed under the supervision of Director of e-Learning Clive Shepherd. Each comprises 11 one-hour online courses developed with Acce-Lerator, designed as customisable induction programmes.
Courses are available to license for a one-off fee from just £1,500 and an entire 11-course programme from just £12,950, these libraries will empower trainers to quickly produce a customised programme tailored for their specific environment.
Clive Shepherd explained the background: "Since the mid 1990's, e-Learning has consistently under-achieved its predicted take-up levels. In August 2000, our strategy team identified three main reasons behind the disappointing 'first wave' of e-Learning. Entry costs were too high. Trainers had not generally engaged with the medium. Business and job specific learning content were scarce - most of the budget was going on the technology and not the content."
Nick Mitchell, The Training Foundation's Chief Executive; "Since we were convinced of the substantial benefits that effective online learning can deliver, we defined an R&D plan to address these issues. The key component was to develop an extremely easy-to-use authoring tool, usable by all teachers and trainers without any previous online experience. It had to be accessible to all, hence online, and to meet all best-practice accessibility standards. It had to empower a total novice to create a learning object inside two hours from first accessing the product. It has been a long road because the technical challenges were immense, but we have finally met every design requirement. Since early 2004 we have made Acce-Lerator available to tutors in around 150 colleges, through a collaborative project with learndirect and the LSC, and the results have shown that Acce-Lerator fills a major ease-of-use gap.''
What makes Acce-Lerator unique is that it's not a product designed by software engineers, it's a product developed by software engineers, but designed by learning professionals.
Mitchell said: 'We also really wanted to empower trainers to achieve some 'quick wins'. To do that, we developed libraries of generic induction courses and selected subjects where current legislation is making great demands on employers. All the courses have been completely developed in Acce-Lerator which delivers two important benefits. First, they have proved the effectiveness and capability of the system! Second, they are all 100% customisable, so that the generic material provides the kernel, and the specifics of the customer's business can be added alongside. And since we expect - and encourage - the customer to tailor and add to the content, we do not think it reasonable to make annual licence charges. So this is another great innovation for e-Learning! We are introducing the concept of the Perpetual Licence, where a one-time licence fee only is payable. Some businesses will not require customisation and they may license access to the generic programme online via our new ASP service; the portal is wwww.trainforwork.net. Each learner is given their own home page to track progress, with full online reporting and monitoring available to the employer.'
'Acce-Lerator is a British software invention and has been entirely self-funded. We believe it offers a unique approach that enables every trainer and tutor to create their own content - this is today the biggest trend in e-Learning. And Heads of Learning & Development will be delighted when they see the cost - we are defining new price-performance and crashing the cost of developing online learning for good!' "