David Gamble discusses the thinking behind an international project to spread the word
Parkinson's law that work expands to fill the time available is out of date. The pressure of instant, ubiquitous communications means that work has become interwoven with what used to be private time. Those using their office computer, blackberry or mobile phone find their personal and work lives running side-by-side on the same screen.
Online training has the great benefit that people can choose when they access it and also how long they wish to study. This flexibility fits in with
busy life styles, while face-to-face training has a significant opportunity cost when staff are taken away from their work. The content is then easily forgotten and, even with the cd rom of the presentation, it is not so easy toreview and act upon.
For companies with far flung operations the internet is the best way to provide up-to-date training to all staff. The most effective systems offer those who want to train a variety of paths to choose from. They can swallow the whole course down in a day, even one like Practical Online Risk Management ( PRORIM), which comprises nine hours of e-learning, although that way lies indigestion.
Or they can download sections and go at their own pace, taking several weeks to complete the course, and always being able to go back and review previous session, check facts and print out interactive exercises to compare their perceptions with their colleagues.
Most of those taking the course, we find, prefer a third way, which is to sign up for the course to be sent to them every day in ten minute bites.
As they click on and complete a bite, they are sent another bite the next day. If they are too busy to proceed they receive a nudge in the form of a daily email, until they have the time to take the next session. Using this approach the course takes two to three months, longer if there are work or holiday distractions, but revision is easy and the gentle push approach helps the trainee to continue. Most choose this path and find it assists them to complete the course while retaining the key points.
“There are few right or wrong answers in risk management
PRORIM is a thinking tool. There are few right or wrong answers in risk management; it is all about greater awareness of the risks the company is facing and their consequences. The online course allows this thinking to be developed using individuals' and companies' own experience of risk.
People and companies with different risk appetites will have different responses to situations and the development of their strategy; the PRORIM course allows for this individuality of experience.
In January 2008, we sent the cartoon shown here to our database, partly because it is an amusing cartoon, but also because we did not provide the answer to the comment we made, which was 'Even way back in 1915 the younger generation had a better grasp of technology than their parents, but nevertheless there is a better solution than cutting the hosepipe.' Rather, we wanted to get people thinking, and perhaps, because it was the holiday season, to get their children thinking too.
We face more risks than ever before and we must manage them more adroitly in the time available. Online training allows us to raise our game.
The motto of the Risk Publishing Online site is Think Risk, Smarter Decisions, or from a different perspective, Think Smarter, Risk Decisions.
David Gamble is chief executive of Risk Publishing Online (RPO), publishers of PRORIM. www.airmic.com