South-Western - Management  
Dow, Hewlett-Packard Take Advantage of E-learning's Strengths
Topic Human Resources
Key Words Training and development, e-learning
News Story 

Dow Chemical Co. has as its guiding principles that "training and knowledge should be available to every employee." As such, Dow developed an Internet-based HR system and an e-learning platform, known as Learn@Dow.now, that delivers online training around the globe.

Steve Constantin, global director of human resources development and workforce planning at Dow, states that successful learning requires a blend of classroom and online experiences. E-learning programs range from 20-minute just-in-time tutorials to highly technical safety training. Dow employees receive training and then need to pass tests on the topic. The program allows employees to learn at their own pace from anywhere in the world.

Hewlett-Packard's e-learning program is Learn@HP. Employees in nearly 60 countries use this program for keeping up-to-date. H-P continually reduces the amount of time its employees spend in the classroom. Last year, 25 percent of learning was e-learning, now it's up to 38 to 40 percent. This saves the company money in training costs.

E-learning allows managers to spell out what capabilities they need and employees to do their own skills assessment and look at what jobs and career paths are available. This enables the company to retain their investment in their people.

H-P's latest venture is a Virtual Lab, which offers access to a "live" training environment 24-7. Since the company cannot have all equipment everywhere in the world to train employees how to use and sell it, the Virtual Lab will increase productivity and reduce the cost of learners coming to the site. They are currently testing the Lab internally, but plan to eventually sell it to customers.

Questions
1.

What is e-learning, and how does it benefit a company and/or its employees?

2.

Name three situations in which you believe e-learning would be a better training vehicle than classroom learning. Justify your answer.

Source "Dow, Hewlett-Packard Take Advantage of E-learning's Strengths," Society for Human Resource Management, HR News, Jan. 8, 2004.
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