The Project

This Project (September 2014 - August 2016) has, as its aim, to test and transfer e-learning practices that are common in the formal education sector to SMEs in order to address the vocational skills needed to develop and sustain SME growth in Europe. This will involve working closely with over 100 SMEs employees and managers and VET providers.

Research has shown that SMEs have limited resources for offering training and what they really require is “informal” training for specific problems they encounter, at a time to suit them. Bespoke training is not usually on offer from traditional training institutions. Therefore e-learning offers a great opportunity. However, there is reluctance on the part of SMEs, and their employees, to engage in this form of learning, despite the many advantages.

Project Objective

The objective of this Project is to ensure, by way of the creation of an “SME e-Learning Portal”, that SMEs are aware of the e-learning opportunities available to them, and, more importantly, how these can be used to best advantage to ensure acceptance by the Managers and workforce. Throughout Europe SMEs are increasingly important to the economic well being of the EU.

It is estimated that they account for 99% of all business with 42% of all turnover.

Meeting the training needs of SME employees is a challenge that requires review; their very survival may depend on an appropriately trained workforce. Established to provide real solutions to the challenge of embedding e-learning in the training practices of SMEs, the Project consortium seeks to promote the development of strong economies through the identification and use of innovative training systems.

Project Aims

By successfully transferring innovative practices previously developed within formal educative organisations including universities, colleges of further and higher education, this project will aim to:

(a) address the imbalance experienced by lack of access to, or knowledge of, the availability of e-learning initiatives,

(b) change individual and organisational perceptions of training needing to be only provided through traditional workroom/classroom based pedagogies,

(c) introduce innovative pedagogical materials to a previously hard to reach target group, initiating a heightened awareness of the importance of illustrating how e-learning can address difficulties associated with ensuring that employees receive fit for purpose training,

(d) recognise the role of accessibility to e-learning by emphasizing the many ways in which e-learning can be accessed using the latest technologies including smart televisions, smart phones, iPads and Android apps.

Project Results

The result of Project is to research/publish a "BEST PRACTICE GUIDE FOR SMEs & E-LEARNING DEVELOPERS" to accompany a new “SME e-Learning Portal” so that SMEs are aware of the e-learning opportunities available to them, and, more importantly, how these can be used to best advantage to ensure acceptance by the Managers and workforce. Seeking to address issues associated with access to information related to elearning and to provide a means of sharing best practice, this project will:

(a) develop, promote and maintain the “SME e-Learning Portal" to ensure that innovative training practices are shared and made accessible to European SMEs,

(b) create associative opportunities to embed an e-learning culture within participating organisations,

(c) engage the target group in the processes of elearning by ensuring that training materials are accessible and fit for purpose, and

(d) provide a web based Portal that will feature, promote and emphasise the importance of e-learning and blended learning as innovative, accessible and economically viable alternatives to traditional and often costly training practices.