Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What is Elearning and Why is it A Winner?

In a recent article in CertMag... www.certmag.com, Elearning was the topic. What is elearning? Is it good? Is it bad? Does it work?

First off, what is elearning? Well... the "e" in elearning stands for "electronic". So, elearning means.... the delivery of a learning, training or education program by electronic means. E-learning involves the use of a computer or electronic device (e.g. a mobile phone) in some way to provide training, educational or learning material.

E-learning can involve a greater variety of equipment than online training or education, for as the name implies, "online" involves using the Internet or an Intranet. CD-ROM and DVD can be used to provide learning materials.

Distance education provided the base for e-learning's development. E-learning can be "on demand". It overcomes timing, attendance and travel difficulties.

Let me say that again, it overcomes timing, attendance and travel difficulties.

For me the greatest advantage out there is garnered by those who have employees located in different areas of the country and need to deliver a cost-effective training program.

Enter elearning... a powerful way for them to save time and a ton of money. But what else? You can also give your employees the flexibility of allowing them to train on their own time.

When you pull people together for a training session, more often than not, you're pulling them OUT of their respective areas and therefore keeping them from doing their jobs for that time period.

According to CertMag... "However, there are a few things you can look for that definitely separate the best self-paced e-learning from the worst":

1-Interaction: Does the course require you to answer questions or perform a task every five to 10 screens?

2-Questions: Are multiple types of questions (multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, true/false) used?

3-Skill Assessment: Is a pre-test provided to determine your current skills? Is a post-test provided to determine your mastery of the content?

4-Content Quality: Does the content on which you are being trained match the types of questions you are being asked to answer within the course? If the course is preparing you for a certification exam, is the content of the course in line with the objectives of the exam?

5-Simulations: Are hands-on exercises provided within the course, permitting you to perform tasks you just learned?

6-Scoring: Does the course score the answers to your questions and the tasks you perform within simulations, giving you feedback on how well you did?

7-Efficient Design: As you move through a course, are the pages presented quickly, without significantly impacting your company’s network performance?

8-Same Look and Feel: Does each course have a similar look and permit you to navigate through it in the same manner?


So there are definitely some considerations that you need to make when taking your dive into the elearning pool. In a recent poll of CertMag.com, readers revealed their learning preferences.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What forms of learning do you most prefer?
Answer % of Votes
Blended 27%
Instructor-led 34%
Online 14%
Self-study 25%

So Instructor-Led ranked highest as I believe that people do learn best in an experiential setting, however... without the proper reinforcement and followup, subsequent to that training class... most learners forget what they've learned. That's why elearning poses a huge benefit and cost saver.

Here's the secret formula:

1-Train people via elearning on the material that you do not need to cover in a live setting, product knowledge assessments, etc., and keep your instructor led class time short. For example, if you training class usually runs a week... break out sections of the class and deliver it via your elearning management system in the weeks leading up to your training meeting... and cut your week schedule down to 2 or 3 days. 2- And then right after the class, have your elearning training schedule all set up for followup. With repetition, frequency and reinforcement - your employees won't be as apt to forget what they've learned at your class.

Also - in the weeks leading up to your meeting, you can give pre-assessments or exams to gather intelligence of what people know already, so you can concentrate on the areas they are lacking in... at your training class.

Here's the rest of the article:

CertMag.com

G.

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