A common misconception people make when designing eLearning is following classroom based teaching and learning theories. eLearning is not about how we replicate classroom based learning - this would never work as eLearning has its own pedagogical model theories and practices.
One of the biggest issues with making eLearning modules is how you replicate the enthusiasm of a tutor. There is no person in front of you inspiring you with knowledge and there are no peers to join in a debate. This may lead the learner to feel a sense of isolation and low motivation.
Although you can never truly get that face-to-face social experience with eLearning, good instructional design can create a similar experience by using images that reflect human enthusiasm and the clever use of video and gamification. The key is to always give your learners small, formative goals throughout the course to both challenge and stimulate them and provide valuable feedback on their progress.
Depending on how difficult the topic might be to your learners it might be necessary to add conditional activities to the eLearning course. This is, of course, more expensive to build, but is an excellent way to reinforce learning to just those who need it.
eLearning offers better retention rates when the learner is given a chance to work at their own pace. It is well documented and debated about the typical attention span of a learner, with the majority supporting 10-15 minutes. With this in mind it suggests it would simply be impractical for many organisations to use classroom based learning.
Think back to your own classroom education. Did you ever meet that tutor that loved to either constantly repeat themselves or repackage the same information? With good eLearning developed by an experience instructional designer you won’t get this. eLearning should be concise and to the point of the learning objective. If the learner cannot make the classroom based training they can access the information later and be guaranteed consistency.
But remember, there is no point having excellent eLearning modules and not having an equally good Learning Management System (LMS), just as a tutor takes a register in a classroom and marks the exam papers the LMS is tracking a learners every move.
For the majority of companies eLearning is a great solution to expensive classroom based training costs, bridging the gap of distance with a reduced carbon footprint and utilising effective time management.
So, which is the answer for your organisation? Classroom based training or eLearning?
Either way, Bray Leino Learning can help you create and deliver the right solution for your people. Contact us now to find out more.
Sue Dingle, eLearning Developer, Bray Leino Learning
In my series of blogs I’ll talk about the fundamental components of a successful online learning environment including the creation of eLearning modules, LMS design and demployment and public and private sector learning.