ELearning can be defined as a mode of delivery of training or instructions over an electronic platform. Electronic platform involves the use of mobile gadgets than access the internet.
ELearning programs can be divided into two classes:
1. Synchronous eLearning, which involves learners or all participants in the platform actively communicating with each other in real time. They all can contribute to a particular subject of discussion probably over a webinar or a tele-video conference. This is mostly used in businesses.
2. Asynchronous eLearning, this involves an engaging learning tutorial that is posted online and participants can access the information at their own convenience, hence it does not happen in real time.
ELearning has become a very popular mode of delivering training programs to people. There has been a significant change in the delivery of training or instructions over the years and all these can be credited to eLearning. There are a lot of electronic mobile devices that can be connected to the internet, the ability of access to the internet is what makes eLearning a very effective format of delivering instructions to individuals. A greater percentage of school systems including the colleges and universities have greatly adopted this mode of learning and students can learn at their convenience. Students can actually do some tests and deliver them online. Businesses that are in public and the private sector have also embraced this mode of delivering instructions. Employers can deliver training programs to their employees online and this has been considered as a very effective mode of training only if it is done correctly.
Why the popularity of eLearning is increasing?
As earlier mentioned, there are a lot of electronic mobile devices that can be used to access the internet. The availability of these gadgets has led to the increase demand of the eLearning programs. Ranging from students to employees, they all feel that eLearning is very relevant and the most effective mode of learning. Therefore, learning institutions and businesses are largely adopting this mode of delivering instructions, thus the increase in popularity of eLearning programs.
Developing an effective eLearning program
An effective eLearning program goes far beyond than just creating a great online course. Whether in business or in learning institutions, in order to achieve success in the eLearning program one must greatly consider the instructional design. Instructional design can be defined as a collection of methods, techniques and the devices that are used when delivering training or instructions to learners. Technically the instructional design is what supports the online learning process and that’s what determines how a particular training will be delivered. A great instructional design actually aims at making the learning smooth so that it can boost the performance of the learners or employees. In business employers are always looking for increased organizational efficiency. This efficiency is apparently determined by the performance of the employees, and to boost this an effective eLearning program is the way to go.
Creating effective eLearning requires some level of simple creativity and knowledge of basic design standards. Here are some of the design standards that ensure effectiveness of an eLearning program:
1. Identify objectives and communicate them to learners.
Setting the objectives of the program is what should always come up first. You just can’t create content without having objectives or the goals for the whole program. You need to communicate the objectives to the learners so that they can understand the purpose of the program. Give your learners clear guidelines of what will be done, when it will be done and what they should be capable of doing after the program. Nothing should be done without a purpose and if you start an eLearning program without a purpose, the whole thing will end up failing simply because learners will find no sense of going through a particular training that has no set objectives.
Communicating the objectives to learners is actually making the eLearning program learner-centric. Learners will not only understand the purpose of taking up the training but also they will strive to put them into action. Upon completion of the program learners will be able to do what they were trained to do on their own. This is what will lead to an effective eLearning program.
2. Learner analytics design
Learners’ needs should always be considered. When learners’ needs are considered and attended they will always feel motivated and their participation in the program will greatly increase. Clearly analyse your learners’ needs, and also how they respond to the learning content. Based on the analysis the instructor will be able to come up with appropriate learning mix that will boost the motivation of the learners. Learner motivation and participation is very crucial for an effective eLearning program. To boost the motivation the instructor should always provide engaging content that is inclusive of various learning activities.
Always ensure that the learning content you’re providing your learners with is very relevant and the subject matter is known to them. The duration of learning a particular topic should be known to the learners so as to get rid of any inconveniences.
3. Simplicity of the design
The usability of the eLearning program should always be a priority in order to have an effective eLearning program. The content that you provide to your learners can be very good but still this is not enough to make an effective learning program. Learners want something that is simple to use, not a complicated one. The eLearning program should be easier to use such that it can boost the motivation of the learners to get the next learning content. Also, ensure that it is easier for learners to forward and receive feedback. A platform for multiple feedback would also be great so that all participants can actively participate in the learning. A simple to use eLearning program enables the learners to easily access reading material without distractions, thus an effective eLearning program. A
4. Great content design
Every learner is looking for content that is very readable thus as an instructor you should make sure that you enhance the readability of your material. Also the reading material should always try to capture the attention of the learner. Therefore, it is very necessary to provide content that is interesting and still able to convey the relevant information. Every reading material should be accurately prepared and presented in an orderly manner. The presentation of the learning content matters. Learners want something that is very engaging and motivating so that the learning experience can be fruitful. Readability of the reading material can be enhanced by the appropriate fonts and proper spacing. Use of appropriate fonts and proper spacing is not enough unless you maintain consistency.
High quality content should also involve challenging scenarios or case studies that will challenge the learner to look for more information. The learner will be compelled to look for more information from various different sources and this have improves the ability of the learner to make decisions.
5. Evaluate eLearning
Evaluation is always done with a purpose just like in the traditional classroom based learning. Evaluation is usually done to identify the reaction of learners to the whole eLearning experience. Evaluation enables you to establish the quality of the course and measures to take in order to improve it before the implementation of eLearning is done. Every learning should be done in order to deliver effective results after a successful completion of the training program. This effectiveness can only be established and improved if there is proper evaluation of the eLearning program.
Evaluation of training programs has been termed as a very crucial aspect of designing an effective eLearning program. It gives you the opportunity to analyse the learners’ progress, identify the effectiveness of the program, identity areas that need correction so that you can improve the future eLearning programs.
ELearning programs have been significantly adopted as the most effective forms of delivering training or instructions to learners or employees. However, as its popularity continues to increase, some people are not doing right and the learning experience is just not effective. Effectiveness of an eLearning program greatly depends on the design standards or the instructional design. This determines how the learning will be done and how it will accommodate the learners. Simplicity of the eLearning program is a very important factor to consider. Learner don’t want something that is complicated to use, they will actually lose interest in accessing the next reading material, therefore end up losing on useful content. Simplicity of use of the eLearning application is very important so that learners will have nothing to worry about or even distract them. Designing an effective learning program can be overwhelming, but this should not be a complicated issue to deal with if you use the right methods and designs.
It is always known that effective eLearning programs require meaningful interactions among the participants to improve the learners’ skills and overall performance. Understanding the above design standards will always lead to development of an effective eLearning program.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ravinder Tulsiani is a Leadership Expert and #1 Bestselling Author of ‘Your Leadership Edge’ a management training guide. See http://www.yourleadershipedge.ca