eLearning is a growing phenomenon, with spending globally expected to reach $51.5 billion this year from $35.6 billion in 2011. (Source: Docebo’s E-Learning Market Trends & Forecast 2014 – 2016 Report)
So why is eLearning so popular and is it really an effective way to learn?
I must admit that I was very sceptical of eLearning and have preferred to organise classroom or workplace based training and coaching for myself and others in the past. However, in recent years, I have realised how eLearning can actually add real value for organisations and learners alike.
The benefits most people associate with eLearning when compared to conventional training are:
- The lower costs to train large groups of people
- The quicker potential pace of delivery
- The lower environmental impact due to less printing and travel for learners
None of us can argue these points, but do they really give us confidence? Yes, it is cheaper, can be done quickly and is kinder to the environment, but these three benefits are not focussed on the quality of learning. So why is eLearning growing so rapidly? Is it simply down to these three factors?
I have witnessed other benefits as I have used and seen different eLearning solutions in practice over recent years. The key benefits in addition to those above can be categorised in four ways:
- Standardisation: Working across multiple sites and often across multiple countries, standardisation of practices is difficult to achieve. eLearning can effectively reach all individuals in an organisation and be accessed at any time of the day in any part of the world. If a new tool or practice is to be launched, this learning method ensures the same standard is shared everywhere. eLearning can, and should be, backed up with documents and other resources which are accessible to learners after their initial learning event.
- Communication & Change Management: eLearning can be an effective communication and change management tool before change programmes commence. Giving employees some awareness and education of the change can help provide them with a real understanding and rationale for change. Reinvigoration offers eLearning based on lean awareness and other operational excellence approaches to support wide-spread understanding and people involvement during consulting assignments with their clients.
- Freedom to Fail: We often hear that learners feel they have less fear of failure from eLearning, than classroom training. They don’t worry about getting something wrong first time as this is done in private. Tests and examinations, where you wait days or weeks to know your result, often add stress and anxiety to learners. Effective eLearning will give live feedback on answers to questions, more effectively supporting the learning.
- Compulsory Participation – This doesn’t sound like a benefit but in reality only some of us are extroverts. Many introverts will allow others in the classroom to take part in the practical activities and answer the trainer’s questions. Well-designed eLearning will have a number of activities for the learner which need to be completed.
Of course these four additional benefits assume the eLearning is well designed, is participative, has a variety of different media e.g. videos, games, puzzles, quizzes etc. and challenges the learner. There are many poor eLearning programmes, which in reality are similar to PowerPoint presentations and simply talk through points as you click through the pages. However, it is evident that well designed eLearning will continue to grow in popularity and both organisations and individuals will have a range of reasons as to why they are deciding to opt for this learning solution.
Reinvigoration offers a number of eLearning solutions such as Lean Service Awareness (Accredited to Level 1a Cardiff University LCS) and Team Based Problem Solving to organisations and individuals. For more information, contact email@example.com, call 44 (0)800 028 6703 or visit our website www.reinvigoration.com/elearning
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