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What’s the best thing about e-learning?


We hear a lot about the limitations of e-learning, but what do you like about it?

What is the most satisfying thing about introducing and implementing e-learning?

How does it enhance your overall training strategy?

Are their training managers who already cannot imagine their roles without e-learning?

Ben Hawes

6 Responses

  1. e-learning is great, and don’t forget it.
    Back in my bad old days as a training manager I used to avoid anything ”e”. Especially e-learning. It was hard enough to get people to attend classroom courses, let alone try learning electronically.

    Looking back, it’s blindingly obvious that I was being short sighted, and a little silly. If I’d thought about it, the biggest obstacle to people attending training is time. They often don’t have the time to do their jobs the way they would like, so training is one of those areas that is always put off until tomorrow. E-learning could have been my saviour, and I missed the boat.

    Any training manager that avoids e-learning is making a bad career move, and they are also restricting the opportunity for people in their organisation to learn. I would say that I am now someone that would make the inclusion of e-learning a priority as part of my training strategy.

    Someone once said to me that they already had an e-learning programme, and that distributing CDs around to local and remote staff was working effectively. I would question this approach; especially question it being called e-learning. Where would we be if e-commerce sites said you could only buy something with a CD? It wouldn’t be e-commerce, and CD distribution should not be called e-learning. Although CD distribution can be used as a last resort, it must be seen as just that and not an e-learning programme.

    The best thing that e-learning has done for me is improve the effectiveness of the classroom. Ironic really, but it is a very simple idea. We often attend a classroom course and find that half of the people don’t even know what the course is about. A quarter of the remainder are already experts, and the last quarter is either not interested or find the subject difficult. E-learning has helped me to avoid this scenario, and I would recommend it to anyone. How? Well, it’s simple really. We recommend that people do a set piece of e-learning before attending the classroom or workshop. Firstly this helps them to understand what the course is about, and secondly it makes sure that this is the course for them to attend.

    Next to this, we find that many people go away from a classroom and have forgotten to ask a question, or were too shy to ask. E-learning introduces a couple of elements here that have proven invaluable. First we have the discussion forums and chat rooms, even e-mail. People can use these areas to ask the questions they didn’t want to at the time, or hadn’t though of. Second is the refresher. Online learning is great if you just want a snippet of information, log in do a quick search and learn. What could be simpler, and what could make better sense than having instant access to information?

    Well, I think that may have pushed a few buttons, and given people some ideas. It just shows that I have found e-learning to be the best thing since sliced bread. Learning has increased and people are happier learning when and where they want to.

  2. Resisting the Obvious
    I like your positive stance, Ben, but being positive does not, per se, mean that there is anything to be positive about.

    E-learning arrived when personal computers were in their infancy (early 1980s) – I was a school master, teaching “computer science” at the time.

    E-learning was supposed to be one of the BIG payoffs of having a PC on every office desk, and a BBC on every school desk.
    (For the young ‘uns, a BBC was a 32k computer that could be programmed, initially, in Assembly Language, Machine Code or BBC BASIC. It was designed as the front end of a much larger, more sophisticated system which, for various reasons, including the rapid growth of the PC market, never materialised.)

    Teaching, we were promised, would be revolutionised by computers and e-learning. Children could learn at their own pace, or take part in lessons that went out to a whole network of schools simultaneously from one central (local or national) source. E-learning would cater for EVERYONE, from those who could hardly read (everything would be picture-powered) to the children with stratospheric IQs. NO ONE would ever feel left out again.

    In short, e-learning was nothing but:

    1. A hopelessly over-optimistic “vision”
    2. a marketing tool
    3. Yet another ill-informed piece of political hype

    The fatal flaw in e-learning is the IT community’s failure (as yet?) to come up with a way of making a computer-based program as flexible as a live, (genuinely qualified), teacher/trainer.

    E-learning can only operate at an extremely simplistic level because there is no effective way of creating a program that can deal with ALL of the questions that students might come up with.
    Except for the potential for animations and other sophisticated graphical features, a computer program can’t do anything that a well-designed book, with exercises, can’t do.

    E-learning, behind all the hype, is still stuck in the paradigm of “education consists of pouring information into empty vessels”.

    Unfortunately (for the supporters of e-learning) “education” comes from the Latin “educare”, which means “to draw out” – something no computer program is yet able to do.

    Which, I guess, makes “e-learning” an oxymoron. A conclusion we ignore at great cost in time and money, not to mention the danger of creating active antagonism to ANY kind of learning.

  3. What’s the best thing about e-learning?
    To be brief.
    e-Learning offers the chance to utilise the academic and practical approaches to teaching an individual certain subjects without the bias of the tutor.

    I say this insomuch as there are certain topics that are best delivered personally. Where good e-Learning excels in teaching people about computers, because if the course has been properly developed and researched it will offer the knowledge and experience as anything that can be done on a computer can be simulated.

    The missing factors are personal feedback and talking to your classmates(who might guide you in the wrong direction or the instructor who enforces there ideas)Use it wisely is the answer, as it can provide a useful tool if used correctly.

    The best thing about e-Learning is the ability to be able to learn at your own pace thereby ensuring that what you learn is retained.
    (I do not beleive that on-line training or flexible training works, there needs to be an end goal. Any student undertaking any sort of training needs to either have an individual target or if they are forced into it, they need to have some recognition. Do it when you feel like will only work for the motivated, those just participating for the sake of it will not succeed.)

    A random view, think about it?

  4. How to enhance the training efficiency and learning responsibili
    As a company aged 40 years, I would like to say e learning is a strategy of the “revolution of existing training”, so at the beginning the definition of e learning will be very important. Our e learning is using all kind of the media technology and products (include WEB) and merged them into “training” and “learning” (please note training and learning) to enhance the training efficiency and learning responsibility. Two of the core methodology is “BACKGROUND ANALYSIS OF TRAINEE” and “PRE-STUDY”. The curriculum will be blended and the method of teaching (Instructor) and learning (Trainee) will be adjusted. Thus you’ll will get a good training efficiency and learning responsibility and also will saving the cost. Most of people they only thinking about how to teach, but please do not forget the learning responsibility of each trainee. Let me say this way, if you transfer the teaching obligation into trainee and becomes theirs learning responsibility, what will you get? I believe efficiency up and cost down will be the answer. That’s the philosophy of our e-learning.

  5. e-learning attrition rates
    I am firmly committed to e-learning as a fantastic vehicle for delivering knowlege to the masses however….Whilst individuals accessing courses as part of corporate development have every chance (and incentive) to complete the course, private candidates seem to suffer an unbelieveably high fall of rate and rarely get beyond the first steps. I have heard values as high as 86% drop out.
    Does anyone else have similar experiences and if so what drop out rates have you experienced?

    John Lear

  6. How much can a couch potato learn?
    The proponents of e-learning seldom seem to acknowledge the full complexity of the learning process. All too often unaddressed by those who admire e-learning are such fundamental educational issues as: reflection, learning styles, the role of tutorial support, formative (pre-course) testing, learning strategies, additional learning support, language skills, motivation, active learning and equal opportunities – to enumerate just a few points. Probably the biggest deliverer of e-learning – learndirect – is currently attracting attention from the Ofsted inspectorate, where, from what I have read, it seems to come a poor second in terms of both retention and achievement when compared with less electronic methods on offer at (say) Further Education colleges or schools.

    I was recently involved in a project attempting to embed learndirect materials in an FE college. The attempt was a marginal success. However, the range of circumstances in which learndirect materials could be successfully used was very narrow – and required all the advantages of a non-electronic learning environment in order for it to be successful.

    One conclusion might be that e-learning works for those for whom it works. All the rest need the crucial things that a good teacher in a well resourced classroom can offer. E-learning can be a supplement or a support to the learning process. It can replace certain aspects of non-electronic learning only. At worst, it is no more educative than watching television. Given UK TV is amongst the best in the world, by this line of argument, we should have the smartest couch potatos in the world. I rest my case.


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