More than eighty-eight thousand employees work for E.ON, one of the world’s largest investor-owned international power and gas companies, headquartered in Duesseldorf, Germany. For several years now, employees in various parts of the world have had access to virtual learning: Extensive content is available for self-study. How do staff take advantage of this material? Which topics are important enough to motivate employees to learn on their own? At OEB, Elisabeth Jaegle from E.ON will present the key findings of a recent study into the “soft factors” of e-learning in the workplace.
E.ON’s virtual learning environment consists of a wide range of materials for self-directed learning: presentations, e-learning classes, book reviews and other formats. The most popular choices include basic information on the electricity and gas industry as well as topics concerning personal development, for example communication skills or intercultural cooperation in a team. “This is the content that is directly relevant to employees,” explains Elisabeth Jaegle from E.ON.
Recently, the company took a closer look at the use of self-learning material between 2005 and 2009. “We wanted to gain an insight into the ‘learning behaviour’ of our employees – what is behind the ‘hard facts’ of usage or log-in numbers? Are there learning patterns? Which topics are employees interested in, and what does this tell us about the learning needs of our employees?” asks Jaegle.
One interesting discovery was that people across various countries seem to take similar “learning breaks”. According to Jaegle, learners seem to use content either first thing in the morning, just before or after lunch, or at the end of their working day. “We could use this finding, for example, to optimise the time we publish new material or to think about the ‘best’ format. For example, by looking at the ‘learning breaks’, it should take no more than half an hour to work through the content.”
Virtual learning content also expands employees’ knowledge of E.ON’s core business, according to Elisabeth Jaegle: “Staff working in human resources or controlling can learn more about the energy business. This bolsters the commitment of our employees and enables them to identify with the company.”
Information on the strategy, values and the culture of the company is available to everyone – twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
At ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN, Elisabeth Jaegle will talk about Sustainable Learning Across Borders – Added Value of Virtual Learning Worlds for Companies, as part of the session on Learning in Three Dimensions, Maybe Four, on Friday, December 3rd, from 11:45 – 13:15.