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Emma Bertouche

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How audiovisuals have transformed elearning


Thanks to constant advancements in technology, there has been a significant shift in the way the world educates its learners. Emma Bertouche comments on how far elearning has come.

The growth of elearning

According to recent research, the worldwide market for elearning products is expected to increase to $49.9bn by 2015. While the U.S and Europe currently accounts for more than 70% of the global elearning industry, the Asian elearning market alone is expected to reach $11.5bn by 2016. In terms of sales rates, it’s ‘how to’ videos, step-by-step guides and educational course notes with annotations and multi-media inserts that lead the pack and prove that the face of elearning is changing.

Speaking in 2011, Andre Joubert of MWEB Business put the continued growth of elearning down to strength and growing capacity of business broadband as well as the amount of interactive, media-rich elearning material available online. He said: "Elearning has long been recognised as offering considerable advantages over conventional classroom-based training when it comes to training employees and management quickly, efficiently and conveniently.

"There are online courses that offer recognised and accredited qualifications in everything from human resource management and marketing to project management and software applications development."

With such a significant amount of elearning content now readily available, Joubert was keen to point out just how valuable the level of advice and skills to be learnt via online learning can be. From flower arranging to health & safety, the possibilities of elearning are endless, and that’s thanks to its convenience, relevance, immediacy, affordability and ease of use.

There can be little doubt that audiovisual teaching has played a huge role in the meteoric rise of elearning. It was around eight years ago that audiovisual techniques began to experience real growth and, today, you can expect to see some form of audio content in 50-90% of all elearning material. The reach of elearning is constantly growing, with all types of organisations, from SMEs to universities and governments, adopting elearning as a means to educate employees or customers.

Who benefits?

For the education industry, the introduction of audiovisual techniques has had the instant benefit of significantly broadening their audience reach. By including various forms of learning styles, a wider range of learners and their learning preferences can be met. And, thanks to audiovisual translation services, scripts and subtitles can be accessed by elearners the world over. Suddenly, an elearning course has the capacity to reach a truly global audience. With the ability to make content accessible to all, it’s no wonder that universities and colleges around the world are now making their courses and resources available digitally.

In fact, nearly all educational institutions in a study by EDUCAUSE suggested a major interest in elearning. According to the research, over 80% of the American universities that participated in the study offer at least several courses online and more than half offer a significant number of online courses.

For the learner, there also are numerous advantages. Not only do they have access to elearning materials in their native language, but they are now able to absorb information in a way that suits them. Audiovisual teaching methods can benefit all kinds of learners. For example:

  • Employees and managers, who wish to or are required to learn for work

  • Busy professionals, who prefer to learn whilst completing other tasks

  • Those in further and higher education (particularly language learners)

  • Younger learners, for whom an audiovisual approach is essential for engagement

  • Those with special needs, who may respond better to audiovisual material

Why elearning looks set to stay

In 2012, almost half of global Fortune 500 Companies introduced technology to their formal learning hours. IBM in particular found that the participants of their managerial elearning program were able to learn almost five times more material, without an increase in training time.

If all these benefits to organisations and individuals weren’t enough, elearning is also environmentally friendly. According to a study by the Open University, elearning consumes around 90% less energy and produces 85% fewer CO2 emissions than in-person teaching.

With so many benefits to elearning, it’s no wonder that more and more organisations are increasing their range of learning options and asking for audio narration and visual aids to be introduced to their elearning tool kit.

Emma Bertouche is head of digital marketing at Capita Translation and Interpreting



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