EPHEC is becoming a connected e-learning platform with ENI



Yves Orlent
Teacher and e-learning specialist
EPHEC University

Can you briefly introduce us to your school and explain what it is that you do there?

EPHEC is a graduate school located in Brussels and Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium, specialised in teaching marketing, e-Business, foreign trade, accounting, law, computing technology, electromechanics, information management systems, human resources management and insurance, amongst others. The school has approximately 5500 students.

EPHEC is also dedicated to social development and offers lessons outside the normal hours.

My job here, as an e-learning specialist, is to teach the uses of office software. I also teach and coordinate internal training courses on new technological materials.

Before using MEDIAplus eLearning, how were your IT training courses organised and what made you want to change?

At EPHEC we have always favoured a hands-on approach, the IT lessons are carried out in small groups in computer rooms and each student is provided with a PC on which to carry out their practical exercises.

We have not altered this approach, which for us remains the best, as it provides students with an ideal learning environment. However, certain factors have led to us completing our learning scheme with an e-learning solution.

The increasing number of students, the heterogeneity of their IT skills and difficulties in assimilation for some, combined with EPHEC’s desire to become a connected e-learning platform. These practical problems have led us towards a technological solution which promotes an active learning environment, thanks to the complete integration of the software in the MS Office suite, allowing the student to fully master the topic.

What were the different phases of the project?

The project was implemented in three phases.

The first phase, which I would qualify as a discovery phase, consisted of handing the solution over to a few pioneer professors who tested it with a small group of students in order to find out how to integrate it within our training courses.

During the second phase, we made MEDIAplus eLearning, ENI’s e-learning solution, available to all our students for self-study in basic communication tools such as the Word and PowerPoint applications. Concerning the other applications in the Office suite, MEDIAplus eLearning was mostly used for remediation.

In the third phase, which is gradually being put into place, we are creating personalised courses which are adapted to the specific aims of certain lessons, as an addition or substitute to in class activities. MEDIAplus eLearning is also used for self-study and keeping skills up to date by all the teaching and administrative staff at the school.

What type of set up was required?

The strong point of MEDIAplus eLearning is the fact that training takes place in the software, making it possible for users to carry out the exercises with the help of videos demonstrating the correct techniques.

We have made all the resources available to the entire community through a connection to our portal, therefore, promoting its use, within the school or elsewhere, as a full programme or part of blended e-learning. Aside from the obligatory aspects of certain courses, the platform is mostly used by students wishing to remediate before retaking their exams.

Aside from updating the skills of our staff when changing Office suite versions, we also use MEDIAplus eLearning to validate the skills of students with different learning backgrounds.

How have you chosen to accompany your students and why?

We have chosen to accompany them in two different ways. Firstly, with technical help and tutoring from teachers who will be using the platform for their lessons and secondly through technical support provided for all users.

After several months of use, what conclusions can you make?

MEDIAplus eLearning is a wonderful tool for teaching, learning, remediation and evaluation of the Office suite, in French, and is sufficiently flexible to suit numerous different learning and blended programmes.

It can also play an important part in ongoing staff training to better face the changes in Office suite versions throughout time.

The observations of our users are the same, they consider that MEDIAplus eLearning is easy to use and meets their expectations.

Lastly, what advice would you give to schools who wish to use the e-learning solution?

Implementing MEDIAplus eLearning in an academic setting requires prior thought concerning the balance between the aims set and the means available. For example, in terms of the support that the establishment is willing to arrange in collaboration with the teachers concerned.

If the school is considering MEDIAplus eLearning as a substitute for in class learning, a part of the resources made available must be reinvested in the management of the database and in support for users.

If the aim is to use it as additional resource, the establishment must reduce the quantity of products proposed (to just one version of the Office suite, for example) and help users obtain the correct techniques to minimize the need for technical support.

Including students in the thought process is also important, because encouraging their adhesion and allowing them to overcome their reluctance towards change are factors that should not be underestimated in the success of a learning project which involves changes for both teachers and students.

This cohesion between means, expectations and aims is without a doubt a key component to successfully integrating MEDIAplus eLearning in an academic environment, in which the balance between an adapted learning programme, efficiency and resources can be difficult to obtain.