eLearning In Finance: Theory or Practice

Have you ever hired a financial intern? A recent graduate who had straight A-s in all financial courses after having listened to the lectures of renowned professors. Their bookshelves are loaded with textbooks on accounting, corporate finance and financial modeling and their mind is blown by the idea of applying and expanding their knowledge base. Coming to the job interview they have no problem in telling how to calculate core indices and even designing sophisticated models. Then comes the first day of work. And all these indices need to be applied in a range of different very specific situations. And this is where they get their first job life-lesson. Theory met practice.

So how to be prepared for this kind of challenge? How to train your employees so that no practical task would make them come to a deadlock? In finance the interconnection between theory and practice is much stronger than in many other areas. Just like there is nothing you will be able to do without particular theoretical background, theory is nothing without a good portion of practice. But the thing is that in finance every topic has a lot of peculiarities that influence the way of applying them into practice.

eLearning In Finance: Theory or Practice

So while designing online courses in finance management it is vital to compartmentalize topics as if they were different skills to train. Theoretical base on particular topic should be immediately added up by practical training wherein the topic is drilled by placing the learner in multiple different situations until the employees start to whiz right through them. This way every time employees stumble upon certain finance problem they will easily recognize which theoretical knowledge they need in order to solve the issue.

A point to consider is that the ways to drill the learners depends on a number of aspects. First of all there should be very sharply defined distinction between the areas of financial studies. Thus financial modeling courses in Excel demand software practice while for instance those about IPO require thorough examination of all possible steps, including the issues connected to legal paperwork and teamwork organization. Apart from taking into consideration the area of studies, the catalog of online courses needs to be developed in accordance with the employees level and department. Financial courses are requisite not only for the financial department: all departments that somehow communicate with the financial one need to have a minimum level

of financial literacy in order not to slow down the working processes. Moreover even those who are not involved in the work of financial department would gain a lot completing courses on finance. But the key point here is that all of these employees need not only different level of sophistication (which is obvious), but also different types of drills. Thus for non-financial employees lectures and tests need to be filled with additional elements to stimulate the process of information perception (those like animated presentations, images, schemes, etc.). As for those who specialize in finance, they need to be challenged by being placed in a simulation of business situation where they would have to act exactly as if it was a real-life issue.

Any eLearning management system has a certain pattern how the courses are designed and structured. But certain areas demand special approach. And this is exactly the case of finance. The unique relation between theory and practice results in the necessity to treat financial topics as skills to train. And only taking into consideration the specificity of the subject and adjusting the LMS according to the learners and topics, companies will be able to master the financial skills of their employees.

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