The concept of e-learning, meaning any type of learning delivery and acquisition taking place in the digital media, is relatively new, more specifically its penetration to the market, then widespread usage in different industries have only occurred in the last decade. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has fuelled the need for organizations to leverage technological platforms in order to drive learning initiatives, so that their staff stayed up to date with the deep, unprecedented transformations they needed to embrace as the “new normal”.
Opinion article by Denisa Simion, Corporate Forensics Services Manager, Deloitte Romania, and Dilek Batmaz, founder of the DB Academy e-learning platform
Deloitte research reveals that over 95% of global companies had already implemented and used virtual learning solutions in the wake of the pandemic, while over one quarter of them were looking at the “virtual delivery” of both learnings and services as a top priority on a 3 to 5-year time horizon and mentioned the lack of digital savvy talent as a standing challenge.
E-learning solutions have become increasingly popular in Romania as well, a trend that is likely to accelerate in the coming years, mainly driven by the need to catch up with international, cross-domain and cross-geography learning standards and methodologies. On the other hand, against the background of the generational switch and the growing relevance of millennials, Gen Y and Z on the labour market, as well as the need to train people on new emerging hot topics on the global all more dynamic and “virtualized” market, among which integrity or anti-fraud, engaging and interactive digital learning instruments are becoming a matter of necessity and responsibility.
Transitioning to a new learning and skills-upgrading era, while mitigating financial and reputational risks for the business
With the advent of high-speed internet and all more accessible technology, the transition from exclusively in-class training to online or hybrid formulas has become easier. It is increasingly difficult for professionals to maintain attention during lengthy classroom training sessions, especially since learners’ attention spans have decreased significantly over the years, and research shows that e-learning is more content acquisition-efficient, as it reduces the space between the learning needs and the work routine. Thus, virtual learning is not only more engaging and effective, but also more convenient, allowing employees to train and improve their knowledge and skills remotely, at their own pace, on their own time, through company-tailored and learner-centric content.
On the other hand, diffusing virtual learnings simultaneously to large audiences in remote offices, on different time zones, helps creating a standardized culture of integrity and compliance across geographies. It is not by chance that Deloitte research also found that 53% of companies identified the alignment of learning objectives to the business outcomes as their “number one priority” and key to the business development and stakeholder relationship.
For instance, training the company’s staff on fraud awareness, sharing conceptual framework in the field in different geographies and jurisdictions, examples, case studies and best international practices, all that on integrated learning platforms, is essential for protecting the organization from possible financial and reputational damage at home and abroad. Employees and leadership are taught how to detect, recognize and report potential warning signs and red flags regarding fraud and misconduct, how to understand the types of fraud and their implications, how to identify suspicious behaviour, but most importantly how to comply with policies and procedures and to demonstrate a commitment to ethical behaviour, individually and team based.
E-learning can contribute to building a culture of zero tolerance to fraud and irregularities
One of the main features of e-learning is it can lead the access to information once inaccessible. Speaking of the field of Corporate Forensics, even though such areas like Operational Risk, Money Laundering, Fraud and Corruption are traditionally regarded as high-risk areas for East-European countries, including Romania, training sessions on those matters are rarely easily accessible for companies and individuals.
Numerous Western countries have adopted anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws and regulations in their jurisdictions, that not only compel companies to act within a specific legal frame in their home country, but also to obey to the same standards abroad. For example, if a multinational German company also operating in the US bribed a government official elsewhere in the world, it would expose itself to a sanction or a penalty for not respecting the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in the US.
This type of scrutiny brought much focus on the overseas businesses of multinational companies, since such remote operational risks can have significant financial and reputational consequences for companies, including direct financial losses and increased costs for investigation and remediation.
Creating fraud awareness, training employees and stakeholders of the company on related topics, as well as familiarizing them with principles relevant for other jurisdictions and with best international practices, using a wide range of learning models, including digital, are effective tools for building an internal culture of zero tolerance to fraud and irregularities, and preventing costly financial and reputational damage.