Duplication pushes up training costs

Organisations need to know the skill levels of their staff, says Pathlore's Bruce Duff, so they can identify gaps when required skills change and when provision of training is inefficient.

Organisations need to know the skill levels of their staff, says Pathlore’s Bruce Duff (pictured), so they can identify gaps when required skills change and when provision of training is inefficient.

“We have known large companies where different divisions were buying the same training

from the same provider independently,” says Duff, a senior vice president with the company.

Pathlore’s software helps a company identify the gaps between current and needed skills, schedule and manage courses and update the skills database.

The company argues that ensuring everyone does a computer-based course in a topic before being allowed to go on a classroom course can cut costs and live training time. Computer-assisted assessment later verifies the employees’ new competence. Duff cites one large US company that cut a three-day course to one day and saved $US900,000, even with the expense of developing the electronic course.

Most organisations regard training as not part of their core business, and the mechanics of its management might also be better outsourced. The Ohio-based Pathlore claims a healthy hosting business in the US, running Pathlore’s Learning Management System on clients’ behalf. It has firm plans to offer this business in Australia, and possibly New Zealand, though there are no hosted users in either country yet.

Computer-aided administration of learning allows a company to push scheduling of courses out from an overstretched training administrator into the hands of departmental management, and perhaps ultimately to the student. “Why should a student or their manager have to depend on a training administrator to schedule a course for them?” asks Duff.

Well-managed learning can also reduce legal employee-employer disputes in an increasingly litigious world. An employee may sue for mistreatment or unfair dismissal when a failing is pointed out, saying it was the employers’ responsibility to provide adequate training. An informed employer can demonstrate that the training was provided and the employee’s supposed competence was formally assessed and recorded.

Pathlore produces only the management tools and steers clear of courseware.

“We did move into content at one time,” says Duff; “but we appreciated that it isn’t possible to do a good job of both.”

The experience of content providers who had tried to move into management software bears that out, he says.

David Hobbs (pictured) was appointed Pathlore’s director of sales and service for the Australia/New Zealand market at the beginning of this year.

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