What is e-learning?
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What is e-learning?

 

What do you think of when you hear the word «e-learning?» The first thing that probably comes to mind is large educational platforms such as Coursera or Udacity. If you’re a little more savvy, you’ll think of webinars and online trainings. Or maybe you associate e-learning with employee education and certification courses.

Regardless, nowadays you can’t think of distance learning without modern technology. Radio, TV, and now the internet have served as the impetus for the popularization of this methodology. Over time distance learning and the e-learning model have shown that you don’t necessarily have to go to a classroom to learn — you can master new material and pass tests without ever leaving your home.

It’s no surprise that interactive courses have quickly penetrated the environment of business — the managers of many companies train their staff via e-learning. In this article we’re going to tell you what e-learning is and how it helps employees learn without leaving their desks.

 

E-learning

 

What are the advantages of e-learning?

Most entrepreneurs are attracted by the accessibility and universality of distance learning. Courses are always right at the fingertips of hundreds of employees on tablet or smartphone screens and can be accessed from the other side of the world. Moreover, in some cases you don’t even need an internet connection -educational materials can be downloaded onto a device and studied offline. In Russia, the concept of long-distance courses built around mobile devices is still a novelty, but it’s gaining in popularity because, as we mentioned earlier, it has nothing to fear from long distances.

The ability to study educational materials at any time and in a convenient manner makes it possible to use an individualized method for each employee. A situation in which the group has made a lot of progress, but one person hasn’t had time to master the material, is impossible in the context of e-learning — students can return to a difficult topic or hone their skills at any time.

The individualization of the educational process is enhanced by its flexibility — notifications and reminders can be configured in such a way that the course doesn’t distract employees from their work.

Needless to say, laziness and procrastination can still hinder a student from learning the material. In order to prevent this, programs constantly gather and analyze statistics. At any time you can find out whether or not a given employee has learned a certain piece of information or how much they might be ahead of or behind their coworkers.

 

E-learning formats

Online education is divided into several sub-types, including e-learning (education using any electronic devices) and m-learning (education using only mobile devices). We can’t delve into all the details right now, so we’ll just tell you about the most commonly-used formats in the context of corporate courses.

  • The MOOC (massive online open course) is the cornerstone of e-learning — it’s the first thing most people think of when they talk about e-learning. As a rule, courses in this format combine several different methodologies. For example, video lectures can also have written notes and interstitial texts.
  • Webinars and online trainings are also traditional e-learning formats. Their primary advantage over video lectures is the supervision and participation of the instructor. Students can ask questions and talk to other participants within the framework of both methods, but online trainings assume a focus on teamwork and interaction among participants.
  • Business sims are advanced games that test management skills in a realistic context. Their main advantage is scalability — you can entrust an employee with managing a department, a company, or even an entire industry.

 

How are e-courses developed?

At Logrus IT we develop courses based on our client’s specific needs and goals, but the basic steps are universal.

1. First of all, we talk to the client about their goals. Who is the course intended for: senior staff, new hires, or managers? Which metrics will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the course? Once we have this information, we draw up a Statement of Work document based on it.
2. Then we work on the scenario for the course. We don’t just develop a course schedule — we also analyze the best way to help students learn the information. For some topics a couple of video lectures are enough, but for others students need an instructor’s assistance within the framework of a webinar. Then we conduct preliminary internal tests before handing the materials over to our designers and programmers.
3. Design. When it comes to e-learning, this isn’t just arranging lesson plans, but also comprehensively developing user scenarios. We make the learning process intuitive, comprehensible, and accessible.
4. Compiling materials. A team of programmers compiles all the course materials (presentations, interactive lessons, videos, and infographics) into a finished application or Web page and adapts them for various platforms.
5. Testing. We test the complete educational program and hunt for any potential bugs. Once we’re certain that everything is running without a hitch, we give it to the client and explain how to use the analytics tools.

 

E-learning prospects

Today e-learning is the most progressive way to increase employees’ skills and knowledge, and more and more companies are taking advantage of it. Back in 2017 analysts from the Brandon Hall Group determined that 42% of international companies intended to invest in the implementation and support of corporate education.

In upcoming articles we’ll tell you more about which distance learning system (DLS) is the best fit for your company, how to implement it, and what you need to consider before developing your first training course.

 

Text: Egor Nashilov

Photos: Jeshoots, Tirachard Kumtanom

 

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