In a world where law professionals are busier than ever, keeping one's knowledge base and skills set up-to-date is a challenge. With that in mind, firms are increasingly turning to e-learning to train staff.
E-learning is flexible, keeps valued team members out of the classroom - making more efficient use of both their and the firm's time - and more importantly delivers what they need to know, when they need to know it, regardless of geographical location or timezone. There are three core types of e-learning: simulation-based, self-paced interactive modules and synchronous (real-time) virtual classrooms.
#Simulation-based. Users learn how to use software applications via high-fidelity simulations of the actual software processes, via case-scenario and walk-through. This method increases efficiency, reduces help-desk support costs and improves the overall adoption of new software applications. The downsides include its heavy reliance on the software, the difficulty of keeping programmes up to date and in some cases reluctance from users.
#Self-paced interactive. These are modules for black-letter law and technical training. Courses are packaged and delivered via an interactive combination of text, animation, videos, audio and graphics. These courses are built once and deployed thousands of times, improving consistency across the firm and making it considerably less costly than classroom learning. Users learn at their own pace, access sections relevant to them and decide how much time they dedicate to each section.
#Real-time virtual classroom delivery. The interactive classroom experience is taken online and instructors are connected to learners in real time via the internet, reducing travel and time costs. However, like other forms of e-learning, there is the risk that social interaction and relationship development is somewhat diminished.
E-learning is becoming an important tool in the workplace. For law firms in particular, where staff are time-poor and employers need to use the most efficient training techniques, e-learning is a practical answer.
But it is not enough just to pluck a product off the shelf and install it, especially when e-learning is 100 per cent user-focused and driven. A system needs to be customised to a firm's culture and the needs of staff for maximum take-up, completion and results.
The firm must also have an e-learning champion who can motivate, support and ensure that the business benefits are realised.