E-learning is not new, not by a long shot. In the last decade it has become a ubiquitous method of educating, training, and teaching within and outside of organizations. However, lately I have come across a lot of people who seem to misunderstand what e-learning is all about. Many are using e-learning as simply a way to publish and share material over the web. If this sounds like your application of e-learning, then you’re missing on the real benefits of the concept.
What e-learning essentially is interactive learning material – two-way education with input and feedback between the teaching software and the learner. This is different from self-educated learning from electronic documents where the learner simply reads information or watches media and attempts to glean education from it. I believe that to truly have an effective e-learning solution, it needs to embrace three concepts: education, communication, and collaboration.
Studies have shown that audio and visual tools better engage the learner and this should be an essential part of an e-learning solution. The latest technologies, such as HTML5, Flash, Silverlight, have made great strides in e-learning by transforming content into audio, video, and animated effects. To help educate, an e-learning solution should have user feedback features such as tests and quizzes that automatically generate graphs and reports to help the learner track their progress.
Learning is never one-sided, a teacher or educator needs to be in touch with their students and understand how they are progressing.I believe interactive features that allow learners to ask experts online greatly benefits the learning process.Users should be able to view and register for events on a calendar and receive interactive reminders and alerts that keep everyone on the same page.
Learners not only can benefit from instructor feedback, but from each other through information discovering and sharing. An effective e-learning solution should have collaboration features to enable user-to-user communication and collaboration. For example, users should be able to upload and share content and communicate through email or a messaging system. I’ve noticed users greatly benefiting from e-learning solutions that integrate social media networks like YouTube and Facebook where they can upload and share content.
If you’re going to implement an e-learning solution (and I believe every business, regardless of size, should), then why not use one that offers the complete package of education, communication, and collaboration?