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In a nutshell, E-Learning is Electronic-Learning. This can be online or offline learning. Many organisations use e-learning as a module that is run on a computer, laptop, phone or tablet. If you work in a large organisation, you will more than likely be accessing your e-learning via an internal Learning Management System (LMS) which is only accessible to employees. If you’re an individual, you might be accessing e-learning via an independent website. E-learning formats include interactive learning, video, games, and documents. There is no limitation that defines e-learning, as long as its electronic and involves learning.
Compared to traditional face to face learning, e-learning comes at a fraction of the price, especially for larger organisations. You can create a course once and roll it out to thousands of employees without anyone needing to travel anywhere. This cuts the costs of training dramatically in a number of ways and offers a genuine ROI for the business.
Employees are able to access the learning whenever and wherever they want, as long as they have access to the course, and an internet connection if required. There is no need to ‘attend’ the course at a specific time or be present physically.
Delivering messages using e-learning means that everyone will get to see the same story. It’s normally very difficult to achieve this, even with seasoned trainers giving the same message on a different day, let alone using multiple trainers, or even managers, to convey the message.
Closely linked to consistency, e-learning allows organisations to control the message that is being delivered. As a trainer, I have witnessed many workshops go ‘off track’, where the trainer did their own thing. E-learning is closely vetted to ensure quality control is in place before anyone engages with the material.
Learners are able to go at the pace that suits them, repeat key messages, and testing can be built into the design. We all know that traditional face-to-face learning has an extremely poor retention rate and the transfer of learning is even worse.
Blended learning is where traditional face to face workshops are supported and backed up with some form of e-learning. The e-learning might happen as pre-course work or as post-course work. A blended learning approach can help with the transfer of training from the classroom to the real world by allowing delegates to access the learning outside of the workshop.
Let’s face it, face-to-face training limits delegate numbers to around 15-25. If you want to train another group, you have to ‘do it all again’: another day, another room, another trainer, another lunch! With e-learning, most of the investment is in the initial design and development of the content; once created though, you can run it over and over again without having to worry about anything.
Research overwhelmingly shows that development is one of the key elements in employee engagement. The costs associated with traditional learning can limit the development opportunities. E-learning is a great way of offering development to ALL of your employees. This will help with engagement and boost the feel good factor. Engaged employees are more productive, take less sick days and are more likely to stay.
At Seven Institute, we like to follow the well-known training and development model ADDIE. ADDIE is a model that systematically steps through the creating of any learning material, and is an ideal model to use when creating e-learning. I like it because it’s uncomplicated and ticks all of the right boxes. Here is a quick look at each step:
The planning stage is critical; measure twice, cut once. Logically, the first place to start is to assess the organisation’s need. Everything else will be built on the assess stage, so it’s important not to jump ahead too quickly, which is often the temptation. Here are some questions to consider:
Once the assessment has been completed, you will be in a good position to start designing the e-learning. Don’t get too excited, design is not development; in this stage, you will spend a lot of time putting pen to paper, or, in my case, to PowerPoint. Here are some of the things you might do during the design stage:
OK, now you’re ready to develop the e-learning. During this stage, the content is developed so you can start getting excited now. Your e-learning developers will create the product using the assets you have given them. This is where all of your hard work over the first two stages pays dividends. Some key things to do are:
Don’t complicate this one too much. Do what it says on the packet. You’re dealing with electronics so, as much as you have tried to get things right up to this stage, you may still find the odd issue pops up. Do the following:
Firstly, don’t wait until the dust has settled. Implementation and evaluation can run side by side. The closer you are to the action, the quicker you will be able to react if something is not 100%. There is not much point in discovering that the learning had issues six months down the line. Analyse the feedback, and then… you guessed it, around we go again, back to assessing what you need to do now.
We can help you transfer your current learning into an e-learning format. We are able to support you through one or all of the steps as outlined in the ADDIE model. We can provide your organisation with assistance in the following areas: