Thursday, 26 November 2015

Types of E-Learning: Technology Enabled Learning for the Corporate World

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Expert Author Gireesh K. Sharma
With advancement of technology and instant delivery platforms like Web 2.0, e-learning has gained huge popularity in all circles including corporate learning. E-Learning solutions deliver consistent, high quality and centrally track-able course material to a geographically dispersed workforce. The usage of advanced development tools makes creation of custom e-learning convenient and simple. To cater to increased need for quality e-learning solutions, companies also employ e-learning services from developers who have an understanding of the learning industry as well as an acquired knowledge of their domain. With the advent of mobile technologies, mobile learning is also becoming very popular in the learning circles.
There are various types of e-learning solutions that can be employed to train your learners. Choose the type that best suits the needs of the learner, keeping in mind the available technologies that would help them access e-courses.
  1. Pure e-learning: In this type of e-learning, the learning material is made available to the learners via technology enabled platform like through a CD or a Computer-based training (CBT) which can be run on the learner's system. E-courses can also be made available through Web-based trainings (WBT) which utilize the internet as the platform of learning delivery. The courses are self-paced, and the learner has no interaction with an instructor or fellow learners. This type of e-learning is called asynchronous, where each learner follows his or her own path through the course, taking more time to assimilate certain sections and breezing through others. This works very well for adult learners who are more motivated to learn, in order to learn new skills, update their resumes and attain professional excellence.

  2. Blended e-Learning: The growing popularity of e-learning does not take away from the merits and strength of classroom delivery. Some trainings, like soft-skills or sales trainings have to have a face-to-face component in order to be truly impactful. A blended learning approach works best here, where the classroom is utilized to conduct exercises and interactions that cannot be conducted in e-learning delivery. Technology-enabled learning is employed to prepare learners before they come to class as well as provide re-enforcements after, to increase the impact of learning. The blended approach provides close interactivities of the classroom model of learning as well as learning as and when the learner needs through e-learning.

  3. Mobile learning: The easy availability and affordability of mobile devices has opened up the horizon for mobile-enabled learning or simply, mobile learning. Learning which is delivered on the mobile platform cannot be the same as that has been developed for delivery on the learner's computer or laptop. The capabilities of the mobile device, including disk-space, internet connectivity and screen size has to be taken into consideration. Even a few years ago, when creating mobile learning material, two separate versions of the same course had to be created for mobile delivery and delivery on computers/laptops. The former had to be a lighter version, with different alignment of content keeping in mind the limited screen space in most mobile devices. But with the advent of web response design, content can be automatically aligned as per the specifications of the user's device. This is a huge benefit, as it cuts down the costs of production as well as the time taken to develop e-courses for mobile delivery.

  4. Social Learning: The impact of social media is all around us and the corporate world is no stranger to social networks among employees. The power of the social network can be garnered to encourage and instill a culture of learning as well. Employees can collaborate and network on social platforms to discuss problems, queries and experiences. Learning can emerge from the collaborations between peers as well as experts who are often a part of such communities. More and more organizations are realizing the true power of social learning and encouraging their employees to interact more within themselves and other like-minded people. Social collaboration platforms are also built within LMS so that the learners do not have to discuss on public platforms and the learning which emerges from mutual collaboration resides and grows within the LMS.

  5. Game-based learning: Games are considered to be fun by all irrespective of learner profile. But they can be a powerful medium of experiential learning as well. Games provide learners with relief from the usual mediums of learning âEUR" be it classroom or e-learning. Through games, concepts and knowledge can be imparted in an innovative manner. Skills building games can be created that encourage the learners to practice existing skills and gain new ones. Logical and knowledge based games like mazes, puzzles or quizzes encourage the learners to think cognitively. Goal based games instill a sense of competition between learners which is a great for learning, and the learners become self-motivated to win the task or reach the goal. There are many types of games that can be created as per the needs of the learners.

  6. Virtual classrooms: With the use of VSAT technology, a classroom atmosphere can be created on a virtual environment. Through virtual classrooms, an instructor can deliver a lesson as he or she would in physical space âEUR" but with increased reach and many added features. In a virtual classroom, many of the features are akin to actual classrooms. Like the whiteboard can be utilized as an actual interaction board in a classroom. In addition, there are provisions of sharing files or documents that the students can refer to during or after the session. Two-way chats can include conversation between instructor and students as well as among the student group spread across different locations.
Each model of e-learning has different strengths and merits. It is prudent to choose the one that can be employed within available budgets and suits the learner needs the best.
Gireesh Sharma is an e-learning blogger and likes discussing innovations in training & learning for the new-age corporate sector. He is an avid follower of leading industry blogs and like to discuss leading trends like custom e-learningGame based learning, etc.


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