An e-Learning Innovation Can Spark Demand : Sanjaya Sharma, Founder-CEO of Tata Interactive Systems

Sanjaya Sharma is the Founder-CEO of Tata Interactive Systems, an organisation that is a pioneer in the design and development of  e-Learning solutions.  Tata Interactive Systems has invested significantly in implementing business excellence systems. Sanjaya leads the excellence initiatives from the front and is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt as well as an external assessor for the Tata Business Excellence Model, patterned on the Baldrige Award. He also shares his expertise on the Balanced Scorecard, the CMM and People-CMM at various industry forums. Tata Interactive Systems has been certified at Level 5 in SEI CMM and P-CMM  (by KPMG) and ISO 9001 and TickIT (by DNV).

An MBA from the Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad), Sanjaya travels extensively around the world to meet clients and has addressed leading e-Learning events. Digital Learning explores more through his e-Learning expertise.

 ? What are the innovations taking place in the e-Learning space today? What are some of the critical points involved with creating e-Learning, especially those experienced by TIS?

The growth curve of the e-Learning industry has lately seen an upward trend, although the industry/market as a whole is still at a nascent stage.While extensive time-consuming courses are generally assumed to deliver most value, in recent times, organisations have begun appreciating the shorter, just-in time training programmes. Not only is the shift towards quick transfer of learning, but companies are looking at learning materials being developed as quickly. This trend in turn is creating an opportunity for development of new and rapid authoring tools for efficient e-Learning.

Apart from development technologies, market components such as shorter product lifecycles, cost pressures, and uncertain economic cycles are resulting in organisations partnering with  training vendors. Knowing that these partnerships are intended to accelerate the achievement of business objectives, these short-term partnerships can evolve into strategic long-term partnerships.

Also important is the increased usage of new instructional formats in e-Learning. The new formats, such as story-based learning techniques, are highly successful in involving the learner and therefore ensuing better understanding and retention of the learned material. From the learner’s point of view, learning moves from imposed curriculum, to learner-self-directed approaches. This is because in recent times, the learner is willing to adapt a blend of online learning, instructor-directed activities, group activities etc. in their approach to learning. Another point is the trend of publishers off-shoring major portions of their workflows. This is aimed at benefiting from the operational efficiency, process-oriented practices and the cost competitiveness of IT markets like India. However, although many large companies are expected to outsource their training function, any significant growth may happen only in the long term.

 ? How would you respond to the argument, that while e-Learning may be more efficient as terms of time and scalability, it’s not more effective in terms of learner performance?

e-Learning is the way of the future. Apart from the “anytime-anywhere” access and the ability to address large groups of learners effortlessly, there are other driving factors that lead up to this. The growing shortage of skilled instructors and teachers

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