Shorthand on the web

A Teesside educational company is marketing what has, until now, thought to have been impossible - teaching shorthand online.

Ranjit Sambhi & Elaine Galloway

A Teesside educational company is marketing what has, until now, thought to have been impossible - teaching shorthand online.

And the results to date have been what Elaine Galloway calls amazing - a 100pc success rate.

"It has taken a while to get there but the results we have been getting are showing the effort has been worthwhile," says Elaine, who heads up Technology House, of Stockton.

Elaine, who has taught in further education and universities for about 30 years, got the idea when she taught trainee journalists on a course at Darlington College of Technology.

"For those who didn't reach 100 words a minute on the course there was nowhere for them to go once they returned to their base," she says.

So in 1996 Elaine enrolled on a two-year Masters degree course at York University and her dissertation was learning shorthand from a distance, with trainee journalist perspectives.

"That was for using traditional home learning methods such as fax, post or email," she says.

"I had a 100pc success rate with the 16 students working from a distance but we have now devised web packages and innovative games to learn shorthand instead of using the regular learning route."

The breakthrough came with the introduction of Ranjit Sambhi, who joined the company from Teesside University on a Bridges and Routes programme which introduces graduates to companies on a 16-week trial with the possibility of a permanent job at the end of it.

"Ranjit is very special to us," says Elaine. "He is amazing in graphic design and he has devised the packages for us to make far more exciting ways of learning.

"It is being identified now that journalists know they have to write good notes and the package we have developed allows them to go from 80-120 words per minute depending on prior knowledge.

"It comes complete with an audio system which can be controlled by the pupil."

The system was unveiled at a recent National Council for the Training of Journalists seminar and Elaine adds: "One of our biggest clients is now news agency Reuters.

"We are working with journalists and PAs up and down the country and financial analysts are also coming on board because they have identified a need for shorthand.

"E-learning saves an enormous amount of time compared to classroom training and we can now make the system as bespoke as clients wish."

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