FITEC, a specialised IT training centre, has introduced a tutor supported distance training offer which is proving very popular with its customers. For training in office applications, FITEC has chosen the MEDIAplus eLearning solution from ENI, the only system where learners work in real software environments, which remains the most effective way to learn.
With over 20 years of experience, FITEC is a training centre which has made its reputation at the specialist end of the IT training market. Through its Adhara network, FITEC is present in towns and cities throughout France.
In 2005, FITEC opted for distance training to expand its training catalogue and satisfy the wider requirements of their customer companies. "We took this new direction because it gave us an ideal opportunity to combine our software skills and our teaching expertise" says Bernard Sebban, FITEC's managing director, explaining FITEC's choice to develop its own distance training software, except for training in office applications. "Creating our own e-learning modules for office software would not have been cost-effective, because these applications evolve so quickly and the training content constantly needs updating." remarks Bernard Sebban. "We decided on MEDIAplus eLearning for office applications, because we are convinced of the value of learning in real software environments, and we appreciate the methods of assessment, which are really very accurate," he adds.
For its office software offer, FITEC adopted a style of distance training which includes assistance and accompaniment for each learner. "The role of the coach is primordial in providing effective support for distance training. He is there to encourage and motivate the learners, and is a condition sine qua non of successful training," explains Bernard Sebban.
The course begins with a ½ day at the training centre, where learners are introduced to the MEDIAplus eLearning application. The coach takes them through the training method, analyses their individual requirements, draws up and attributes personalised training programmes. Then the training continues with regular telephone appointments at which the learner and the coach discuss progress and set interim targets. "We ask our learners to spend at least two hours per week working on the programme, so that they can get the best results from their training," specifies Bernard Sebban. Customer companies have indicated that training tends to take place in the context of a professional education plan. Some trainees log on from home, or in their lunch hour, for example.
FITEC also offers interested companies the opportunity to put their learners through the Microsoft Office Specialist certification. "The possibility of obtaining official recognition of the level of skills achieved can prove an important factor in people's motivation," Bernard Sebban points out.
The results are very satisfactory not only for FITEC but above all for their customers and individual learners. "With MEDIAplus eLearning, we can propose an entirely personalised training programme, centred on the learner's needs. It is something that just cannot be done in classroom-based training," observes Bernard Sebban. Of course, the inherent advantages of e-learning are well known and play an important role in the programme's success: less travel and better use of time, working at one's own pace, flexibility of organisation and the relative ease with which the system can be set up in the workplace. For big companies, there is the added advantage of being able to offer the same training opportunities to all their staff.
"With hindsight, I should advise training centres wishing to implement this type of programme to check that they are in phase with the legislation, so that the training is covered by companies' training budgets," mentions Bernard Sebban. "Also, it is important to recruit specialist coaches, who have particular coaching skills over and above their teaching skills. Finally, one aspect of the programme which cannot be overlooked is preparation, taking time to explain the method to the learners, making sure of their motivation and commitment, checking that the computers are configured properly, etc," he adds.
"What is clear is that, thanks to tutor supported distance training, we have been able to reach a new group of customers who would not have been interested in a classroom-based offer," notes Bernard Sebban. "We have trained employees of small, local businesses who have never had any training before; the programme has a certain social value," he concludes.