Using e-learning in a University setting to take management development to the next level

15th August 2018

Nick Gallagher-Hughes, known to many within Higher Education as Chair to the Executive Committee of the Staff Development Forum ( 2015-18) was Staff & Organisational Development Officer at a University in England from 2002 to 2018.

He was responsible for the provision of staff and management development, from somebody wanting to learn office skills or minute taking, through to management skills and online learning.

Nick described how management development at the university started back in 2005.

“When I joined the University, management development was approached in a very ad-hoc fashion, with stand-alone workshops roughly set to generic themes that attempted to reflect development thinking at that time. This approach gave way to a more focused approach to management development, using the Chartered Institute of Management in association with a local University to deliver an accredited management development programme.”

The programme comprised of a two-day workshop per month and took two years to complete. Between 2005 and 2012 a series of development programmes were offered at different levels of seniority.

But due to the modest size of the institution, by 2013 the vast majority of managers and potential future managers had attended the programme and there was now a need for on-going, alternative forms of development to maintain and update skills whilst ensuring that managers remained informed of legislative changes and best practice initiatives.

Turning to Marshall E-Learning for support

Nick explained how he considered that University staff had changed their preferences in terms of learning styles

“Staff seemed to prefer “just in time” training – I have a particular need, where can I go to get information on that? That change has moved away from theoretical, classroom-based learning and on to online, on-demand learning. Managers wanted to know the day-to-day skills and they needed development opportunities to be more immediately available and accessible.”

Marshall E-Learning’s Learning Management System (LMS) was used as a platform to enable staff to access the information where they are, when they want it, in a place that suits them – at home, on the train, at work – downloading that info wherever and whenever they need to.

Nick had also previously worked with Marshall’s on an equality and diversity course.

“Marshall’s course in equality and diversity has been great, which had then opened the door to what could be done with e-learning. With a bit of guidance, staff could work through a process that previously was time consuming and inflexible.”

There were also other benefits to the university in choosing e-learning, as Nick explained.

“Students and staff numbers had grown, and so workloads had also increased. Trying to get staff or managers into a half or full day workshop is a challenge. Online e-learning gives you an alternative learning platform.”

“To bring a trainer in to run a one-day workshop can be expensive and you can’t necessarily measure the impact that’s making. But with online e-learning, you can measure the difference that the e-learning programme can make. The benefit is in having that element of measuring – recording what staff have done – but also how that is reflected in their day-to-day work.”

 

Developing an inclusive management development programme

Because of this success, Nick felt that Marshall’s could also help with an inclusive management development programme

Nick commented that the approach recognised that everyone has the potential to be a manager and a leader; the training can help bring those skills to the fore in an inclusive way.

Nick brought in Marshall’s Inclusive Managers Toolkit as an aid to an inclusive management development programme.

The Inclusive Managers Toolkit was developed with Dan Robertson, Director of Vercida Consulting. The 16 modules in Marshall’s Inclusive Managers’ Toolkit help build an inclusive culture and ensure managers are equipped to thrive in the 21st-century workplace.

Nick described why the Inclusive Managers Toolkit was a good choice.

“The management development programme has previously seen staff sent on courses, but the inclusive management toolkit, which follows the natural progression in development, with facts, videos, and learning scenarios, so as a learning resource was more flexible”

All Marshall e-learning courses are highly interactive with rich graphics and audio-visual content blending a variety of question-types to encourage learners to apply concepts to their daily work routine, which Nick saw as being better for staff learners.

“Marshall’s e-learning approach suits all the different types of learners needs, whether that’s reading text or through to a nice 5 minute video, which is more engaging and sticks in your brain that much more.”

Would your organisation benefit from inclusive managers? The 16 modules in Marshall’s Inclusive Managers’ Toolkit will help you build an inclusive culture and ensure your managers are equipped to thrive in the 21st-century workplace.

Find out more about the Inclusive Managers’ Toolkit or contact Marshall E-Learning for a free trial.

 

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