eLearning & Face to Face training: Why we should all learn to love the term ‘Blended Learning’

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It’s not just me that struggles with the terminology. It goes back to the time when eLearning first took its place in the annals of training. The people trying to motivate organisations to buy (salesmen) proposed the blended approach to ease the recipients away from a totally classroom based environment to this ‘some and some’ offering.  Back then eLearning was pitched as a quick, economical solution. It could fulfil a number of the training needs without an expensive trainer but the reality was it was viewed by many as an ‘also ran’.  Organisations were still wedded to the standup delivery method (a bit like mid-wives of the same era).

This paper isn’t about how much I now love eLearning. My view has not changed. I still believe face to face training is still the best experience a learner can have (as long as it’s delivered by excellent experienced consultants who have been practitioners themselves – as FSTP do)! However, the blended approach has improved beyond expectations over time and solutions, using both the classroom and virtual delivery method have rightly earned their place and are a must in any annual L & D programme for any organisation.

In March 2015, FSTP joined forces with Unicorn training to provide firms with quality, innovative, sector specific eLearning. We provide the engaging content and they do the clever bit and make it a great learning experience. When we were asked to partner Unicorn it was a unanimous decision by the partners in FSTP because of the reputation Unicorn have for a ‘best in class’ suite of eLearning programmes. The blended solution becomes far more palatable when you are blending superior quality with superior quality. Enough of the mutual appreciation society let’s get down to the nitty gritty of why a blended solution is right for today’s financial service firms. A good way to do this is look at a case study, a worked example:

The Learning and Development Manager from Bank X required training on the New Individual Accountability Regime in Banking and called FSTP and enquired what support we might provide. All of the client facing partners in FSTP have held L & D budget so are very aware of the need to use it wisely as we know it’s very difficult to get the business to give more so we will always recommend what is right for the business; in financial services you need to start with the things you need to do from a regulatory point of view with the relevant audience first and foremost.

There are 4 areas you need to address with the new individual accountability regime:

• The Senior Managers Regime

• The Certification Regime

• Fit and Proper

• The New Conduct Rules

Once the areas that need to be “trained out” and the relevant audiences are confirmed (people and numbers) we find the base way to illustrate this is by way of a table as we did with Bank X . See below fig.1.

If the fundamentals are not complex and can be trained using eLearning then the face to face sessions can be utilised to cover the areas where questions can be asked and discussion needs to take place. All of the eLearning created by FSTP and Unicorn is validated by testing the learning undertaken.


Activity No.Learning ActivityDelivery MethodContentAudienceDelivery
1An Introduction to the New Banking RegimeeLearningWhy this change now

Who and what is affected and why

A high level overview of the component parts
2An Introduction to the New SMR in BankingeLearningThe implications to the current Controlled Function population

Who else needs to be included - role and responsibility

Prescribed responsibilities

The Responsibilities Map

The Handover

Fit and Proper
Everyone who will hold
either an SMF
A to be taken
after activity 1
3The Certification RegimeeLearningIndividuals affected

Key Implications

Fit and Proper

Everyone affected by the
Certification regime (i.e. current CF30’s and their line managers)
C to be taken
after activity 1
4How you will be assessed under the Certification RegimeFace to faceHow you will be assessed

The standards

The Failure Policy

Everyone affected by the
Certification regime (i.e. current CF30’s and their line managers
D to be taken
after activity C
5The New Code of ConducteLearningWho’s affected – the wider population?

Change in practice and terminology

Training required

Individual examples for job families
EveryoneE to be taken
after B for SMF’s, after D for those under
the certification regime and after
activity 1 for everyone else.
6The responsibilities of an SMF under the new Banking RegimeFace to faceCore competencies of a SMF and SRF

The implications of failing Fit and Proper standards

Identifying risks

Setting controls (preventative and mitigating)


Accountability and the implications

Notifying the regulator
Everyone who will hold
either a SMF or SRF
B to be taken
after A

Once we compiled the table and Bank X could see the proposed content the question was raised about Standards under the certification Regime – they did not have standards for some of the job roles that would come under the certification Regime or a robust assessment process. They did not have the experience or the resource to do this in-house so we were able to supply one of our senior consultants to assist them with this. To help them, go back to the business to ask for an increase in budget to address this need we were able to provide them with the necessary information to support a strong business case.

By doing it this way it was clear to Bank X where and how they needed to spend their budget and also identified the areas they had not initially identified. Budget is distributed according to the priority and impact which ensure the individuals who will be impacted more receive the right training, in the right way at the right time.

The world is getting smaller. The way we communicate and the way we like to learn is evolving.  An article from Forbes in August 2014 reported that market research firm Global Industry Analysts projects eLearning would reach $107 Billion in 2015. It also pointed out “content is still the winning card for this market” and face to face training was not going away anytime soon – the impact of financial regulation on individuals will mean there will always be a need to discuss and clarify understanding.

If you need help with any aspect of the new accountability regime in Banking or a blended learning approach to all your regulated requirements please contact philippagrocott@fstp.co.uk

Philippa Grocott