The last time you learned about something new, whether it was something about your state of health or a computer program; most likely, you used some eLearning tool that facilitated your learning experience, and that is eLearning.
ELearning used technology to enhance, facilitate, and broaden the contents and access to education. eLearning also helps in tracking training progress. Although it was initially developed as a computer-based information delivery system for schools, eLearning is now used in all types of organizations, start-ups to large businesses, non-profits, government, and trade associations. eLearning is used for more purposes than just content delivery. Electronic learning, which is referred to as eLearning refers describes the delivery of training information and materials through electronic devices.
The idea of eLearning started in the 2000s when consumers started using electronic devices and the internet. eLearning has evolved over the years with technological advances. Technological advancements have seen eLearning advance form dial-up internet, AOL chat rooms, and DVDs to self-paced modules, web conferencing and virtual reality.
Today, eLearning can be done online or using a local network commonly suing a Learning Management System, LMS. The content of eLearning comes in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes that include videos, interactive modules, documents, slide shows, webinars, podcasts and much more. As technology keeps advancing, so does our options for information sharing.
eLearning has continued gaining popularity over the years since it broadens the possibilities of creating exciting and educational content. A survey showed 77% of the American corporations used online learning and that 98% have incorporated it into their programs in 2020.
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Why eLearning is so popular
eLearning is popular because of several reasons; they include:
- With eLearning, you can reduce staff-hours needed by building automation.
- Digital platforms give room for the creation of content that is more engaging. Such content keeps students engaged.
- eLearning offers a platform that offers instructors and students more flexibility to be part of the learning process despite their location and time.
- Using digital platforms is eco-friendly because students do not have to travel to the school to attend their classes.
eLearning offers three types of learning, blended, synchronous, and asynchronous learning. Every kind of eLearning requires different tools and different practices. Although some eLearning tools are much better for training topics, what matters the most is for you to know your subject matter and to understand your audience.
Synchronous learning involves teaching a group of people at one time, like how it happens in a class where a group of students listens to one lecture. With synchronous eLearning, you may organize a virtual classroom of students, or have students participate on the message board. The most common tools for this learning include:
- Virtual Classrooms
- Live Session/Webinar
- Audio Conferencing
- Live Whiteboards
- Online Chats
- Online Collaboration Tools
Synchronous eLearning is the right choice for learning a development program that encourages interaction among students, and it allows for quick feedback from the instructor. However, the challenge is that it can be quite hard getting a group of people to attend a learning session at the same time.
Asynchronous learning is a type of eLearning where a group of people can learn at their own pace and during their own time. With asynchronous learning, for instance, a group of employees of a given company will be able to access an educational video in their own time. Here, you can download a podcast and listen to it later, or you can program a self-paced module. The popular tools used for asynchronous learning are:
- Discussion Groups
- Self-Paced Modules
- Message Boards
- Pre-recorded Video and Audio
While asynchronous learning enables one to study at their own pace and to fit their schedule, some people find it difficult using this technology or they may find it isolating when they lack instant feedback from their instructor. Blended learning comes in to save the day.
With blended learning, you will employ both synchronous and asynchronous learning styles and tools. For instance, an instructor can conduct a session he needs and then give the students an assignment that requires them to complete self-paced modules.
Custom-Built and Off-the-Shelf Programs
With the growing trend and demand for eLearning, there are two directions you can take to make your program. You can choose a custom-built plan or an off the shelf program. It is best if you decided which one suits you best
Custom Built eLearning
A custom-built program may be a necessity for training programs that are made specifically for a company’s process. A company may need a custom program to be able to have control over branding, the look of the content, and the functions of these platforms. Despite the high costs that a custom-built eLearning platform may require, the ROI can be higher with increased functionality, and employer retention. To make the most out of a custom-built eLearning platform, you need to find the right partner.
Off-the-shelf learning might be suitable for companies that have shorter deadlines and need to teach on compulsory topics like management and problem-solving skills.
Although the cost of off-the-shelf eLearning is lower, you will lack customization abilities. You will have to adhere to the capabilities of the platform.
Advantages of eLearning
eLearning is cost effective – most eLearning platforms need a start-up cost. However, you can generate high ROI when you have more students in your eLearning platform.
Not limited to location – with either synchronous or asynchronous eLearning, you can access either or both of them from any location.
Time-efficient – one can have an eLearning session whenever they find it convenient like during the weekends or when having a break. Instructors can also create their content when it is okay with them and post them on your eLearning platform.
Disadvantages of eLearning
Isolation – when one uses eLearning for long, they miss face-to-face interaction with their peers and instructor, making them feel lonely and isolated.
Self-pacing fails without self-discipline – when using a self-paced eLearning program, it can be hard to motivate yourself to log in and access the information materials. Instructors can institute deadlines, giving rewards, and using engaging content.
The trouble with technology – issues to do with technology can be forgetting your password or someone finding it hard to use technology and keep up with the developing technological trends.
Is eLearning good for you?
We have shared everything about eLearning and how you can get yourself started with this program. We have also informed you about the positives and flaws of eLearning, so it is your turn to choose whether eLearning is right for you, or not.