Back in the day
I first got involved in e-Learning back in the late 80’s. Except in those days it wasn’t called e-Learning, it went under the name of ‘Open Learning’ or even the grandiose-sounding ‘Technology Enhanced Training’ (TET).
In those days, it wasn’t often available at the desktop let alone on a mobile device like a tablet or phone. You had to go along to an Open Learning Centre (OLC) where specialist equipment like ‘laserdisc players’ were available to run interactive video courses.
But the benefits of using technology for training delivery were already recognised, and they have expanded since.
Right from the beginning, it was clear that there were benefits to be derived from learners being able to nip along to the OLC for an hour or two, rather than leave the office for a whole day to attend a tutor-led course. And when they got there, they could relax and engross themselves in the course of their choice, work at their own pace and not be expected to take part in some scary activity like a role play.
Nowadays, with all the equipment we have available at our fingertips at the desktop, at home and even in our pockets, the ‘just in time’ benefit of e-Learning is able to flourish.
Time is money
Many employers like their employees to have access to training immediately, but they also like the cost-saving aspects of e-Learning too. It stands to reason that costs are bound to be lower than sending someone on a course for a day or more, and having to cover for them whilst they are away. And then there are the travel costs and perhaps even accommodation costs too. And why wait weeks for a course to become available when you can tap into some learning immediately without moving from your seat?
e-Learning also brings with it the benefit of consistency. Whilst everyone who works through an e-Learning course might take different learning points away with them, you can be sure they will all have been presented with the same content. So e-Learning is great for regulatory training, such as Health & Safety, where all learners have to be brought up to a required standard.
A problem with classroom based training is that learners will often arrive with different levels of knowledge and experience and varying expectations of the course. But if they have all completed an e-Learning course before attending a tutor-led event which is designed to expand on the e-Learning, it makes the latter much more focused and relevant, and learners are more likely to feel that they are all starting on an equal footing.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew
Finally, e-Learning is very ‘bite-sized’. Courses are usually split into short modules maybe lasting 15 minutes or so. That makes it easier for learners to take a course in very short increments, and then go back to it when it suits them. They can repeat content as often as necessary too, to help it sink in!
So, there you have it, just some of the benefits of e-Learning. There are more which we may well pick up on in future articles. To summarise here:-
· Time saving
· Cost saving
· Instant availability
· Preparation for a tutor-led course
Cheers for now.
Andy Stevenson, Type and Test