Often when completing a needs analysis for a development project I am asked to include elements of eLearning. When I inquire as to what type of eLearning the stakeholders were interested in, the reply is often “you know…the normal kind”. This is not to suggest that those responsible for assigning training development projects such as a program leader or operations manager do not know what they need or are not very familiar with eLearning…quite the contrary, often they know more than they realise. By that I mean many people tend to think of eLearning as something that is relatively new in training development, but the truth is eLearning has been in all of our daily lives for several years. Early examples of eLearning include taking a driver’s exam that used video and online testing, or installing software that came with a “how to” section…. even doing your taxes online, something that has been around for more than 10 years, could be considered eLearning.
Simply put, eLearning can be any activity that uses navigation (forward, back, pause, next, etc.…) and is presented in a digital format. Examples of eLearning can range from something as simple as explaining how to fill out a form using highlights and arrows, to much more complex materials that incorporate elements such as HD video, gaming, interactive activities and whiteboard animation while tracking the learners progress and providing pass/fail feedback for all tests and quizzes. The advantages of eLearning are enormous and go far beyond the significant cost savings that companies and learners alike enjoy by choosing eLearning over more traditional classroom training. With eLearning the student completes their training from any location, on any device and often at their own pace, and with the expansion of the virtual classroom eLearning continues to grow and evolve to the point many students of today are earning degrees from accredited Universities without ever stepping foot on a campus!
While the advantages of eLearning are certainly impressive it is important to note there are times an instructor may be needed to assist with the eLearning journey, however that journey continues to become more and more exciting each passing day and I have no doubt that when it comes to eLearning, the best is yet to come!