What is e-learning?
e-Learning is simply learning and teaching through electronic media. Nowadays that means it’s viewed online. Before the internet, it meant computer-based training courses installed on CD or disc.
A simple way of thinking about e-learning is that it can be any learning that is delivered online (or via mobile) that helps someone do something better. That can include training courses, apps, websites, quizzes, simulations, games and much more.
Typically e-learning comprises a course with some sort of test delivered on a platform. So you can see already there are three things to consider:
- what is going to be taught or learnt?
- how will you know if it has been learnt?
- where will learners access the course?
In these sessions we’ll look in detail at all of these questions, but for the moment let’s stick with learning in general.
When you’re thinking about training staff, or learning a new skill, there are lots of options out there. You could:
- enrol on an academic programme
- visit a conference
- participate in a workshop
- read a book
- have a conversation with someone
- take a class (at work or at home)
- join a network
- subscribe to a blog
- speak to your mentor
- … Google it!
So why choose e-learning instead of any of the above?
e-Learning isn’t always the answer, but when applied in the correct situation it offers considerable advantages, particularly over classroom training:
- scaleable – you can teach 50 or 50,000 people with the same course
- sustainable – you can update and refresh the course quickly and easily
- consistent – the same message is delivered every time
- effective – learners remember more of what they learn using e-learning than they do in the classroom
- repeatable – learners can retake the e-learning multiple times, allowing them to repeat, refresh and reinforce their learning
- flexible – e-learning can be studied any time, any place, anywhere, on any device
- interactive – learners can participate in roleplays, respond to questions, solve problems, and get instant feedback
- targeted – you can Google ‘how to’ for just about anything, but your e-learning is targeted to your learners in your organisation in their jobs
- on demand – you can support your learners when they need it
- cost-effective – because of all of the above, you get more bang for your training buck than with classroom training