The virtual classroom environment is proving very popular both from an individual perspective as well as in terms of corporate investment in skills development.

This is the viewpoint of Teryl Schroenn, MD at Accsys, a national provider of HR and payroll management software, a company that has largely spearheaded the establishment of e-learning within payroll administration.
Accsys demonstrated its belief in the market potential of an online education system when it introduced the first online payroll administration course available in Africa, the eLearning Payroll Diploma. Now a comprehensive eight-module course, the introduction of this study option is seen as a milestone for the company and its campaign to entrench this form of education into the industry.
The company has tailored its e-learning offering as a service to both individuals (job seekers as well as those already employed and looking to formalize their experience) and companies. There is method in this approach, says Schroenn, because of the vast need for skills in this sector as well as to create employment opportunity, especially for school leavers.
“Payroll administration, like most other industries, is dependent on the availability of skills. E-learning is an effective method of providing access to tuition and negotiating any obstacles that stand in the way of qualification and recruitment,” says Schroenn.
The sector has traditionally been limited in its capacity to formally recognise education and experience. The introduction of e-learning and an online qualification offers the student a flexible, instant and well organised means of acquiring the necessary education and improving his or her ‘marketability’ says Schroenn.
Accsys has 33 registered online students at present, the majority of whom are already employed in the field and require formal qualification, and the number is expected to increase significantly during 2007.
“The course content is always updated and adapted to the changing requirements in the market. This is a virtual, automated environment and therefore a lot easier to make changes quickly and with minimal disturbance. Aside from the obvious advantage of being able to bypass physical and other logistical considerations in ‘getting to class’, students have the benefit of a secure, immediate means of interaction. They have access to notes, course material, study guides and, of course, the lecturer,” adds Schroenn.
The availability of the Internet and intranet is another key advantage of the system says Schroenn.
“Students can make use of search engines, virtual study groups and other resources to improve their understanding of the work. The reality of the marketplace today is that there is skills needed, there is competition for placement and companies only want the very best of the best. With this in mind it helps to have a resource that is literally at your fingertips on a daily basis, where results are instantaneous and progress is measurable from day one."