Monash University has introduced a blended learning program for IT staff under moves to build the business skills base. This project enables participants to spruce their leadership skills and engage more intuitively with customers.
The Monash University's blended learning initiative taps into an I Contribute package. This is being sourced from four key learning providers including the e-learning specialist Skillsoft.
This package offers a suite of tools enabling staff to enhance their business skills and interaction with external customers.
Kerryn Newbegin, Monash University’s Manager of Administration and Business Support, said this blended learning initiative helps staff engage more effectively across the organisation, improve overall performance and build job satisfaction.
She said that building leadership, customer service, and business-facing skills are priority areas for Monash. The university has transitioned from many small IT support and development groups to a more centralised, shared services model.
Broader skills set
The staff profile has changed from technical support to a broader mix of skills and capabilities. These include business analysis, communications, change management as well as project management skills.
Monash has routinely invested in staff training, Newbegin said. But this investment was expensive and narrow. Funding pressures and a technology focus meant that investments overshadowed the broader business development skills.
The latest blended learning initiative offers a tailored and more flexible alternative to resource-intensive face-to-face learning. The staff feedback so far is positive, Newbegin said.
She attributed the program’s success to using multiple solution providers inside a blended learning framework. Each solution targets different skill development goals and leverages varied learning delivery methods. These include face-to-face, online and video learning.
Rosie Cairnes, Regional Director Australia & New Zealand at Skillsoft, told IDG Education that the demand for cloud-based blended learning remains high, increasingly so for higher education.
Subscription-based cloud models enable universities to tap into hosted off-shore services. These programs are tailored around on-going professional development that are specific to staff needs, she said.
Skilllsoft currently supports 9 million users globally, across 6,000 organisations. The cloud-supported e-learning modules come tailored for subscribers. Learners tap into these blended learning offerings worldwide across vertical sectors.
The company’s higher education subscribers include Monash University, the University of Melbourne, Melbourne Business School, RMIT University and University of New South Wales.
Increasingly, universities are investing in staff training and development through blended learning programs. Licenses for learning modules can range from one to four years.
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