Now that companies, government agencies, and educational institutions are talking about eLearning as commonplace, it’s hard not to question if this is just a current trend or if there are real advantages to this training method. eLearning is simply defined as learning that takes place using electronic means. Typically this happens over the internet, but not always. The true benefits of eLearning are hard to measure and will vary somewhat based on your particular business need.
The ability to learn in an online or electronic environment reduces or eliminates many of the hurdles that training programs face. If your company or students are spread over a wide geographic area, sometimes it’s not feasible to bring everyone together to complete a training program. There are always time and space issues associated with classroom training. Either you can’t get everyone together at the same time, or even if you could, there’s not a space available when you need it. When you use eLearning, you can create a course one time and use it over and over until it’s either no longer needed or no longer relevant. Because you don’t have to deliver the same content multiple times, you can spend a bit more time on the front end creating a very solid eLearning course. From an administrative perspective, it’s a win on multiple accounts.
Finally, if you are doing your eLearning activities within an LMS, you have all of your learning data available in one centralized location. No more going to multiple sources to compile data and manage compliance activities. Your training oversight gets easier, so you are able to stay ahead of the curve by making sure that your employees have completed the training they need at a time when they need it most.
Aside from simple logistical reasons, another true benefit of eLearning is the ability to utilize a blended approach to learning. It’s no secret that adults learn differently from one another. When you take the time to create an eLearning course using a blended learning approach, you increase the likelihood that you’ll meet the training needs of your learners. You can incorporate activities that are not easily done in a simple classroom environment.
Blended learning techniques also allow for a high level of interactivity on the part of the user. No one gets to sit in the back row and not pay attention to the material. To complete the course, students must engage with the material or they will never move forward. Reaching those students who otherwise wouldn't be engaged is as added benefit.
With the option to include assessments throughout the learning activities, you can be sure your learners have the knowledge they need before moving on in the course. If they don’t, they can simply repeat segments of the training or do other activities to get the skills they need. By the end of the training, you have solid information to support that your training was effective. All in all, this is a unique benefit that eLearning affords.
Although eLearning is popular at the moment, it’s not just a buzzword or trend that will pass by us in a few years. eLearning is also not a simple movement of classroom training to an electronic environment. The multifaceted benefits of eLearning strengthen any training program when it is done properly. Even if you don’t eliminate classroom training entirely, the benefits of eLearning are of such that they can be used as a tool to augment your instruction. It’s exciting to see where this beneficial trend will take us.