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With limited resources and budgets, many more organizations are now using e-learning as a means to deliver quality training to its workforce. It is not the same as learning face-to-face and it is not always a substitute for traditional classroom instruction.

The reality is there is always room for both types of courses. In, fact they can complement each other very well.

Instructional Methods
E-learning can provide effective instructional methods, such as practicing with associated feedback, combining collaboration activities with self-paced study, personalizing learning paths based on learners’ needs and using simulation or games. E-learning aren’t just ‘page turners’ any more. It is immersive instruction designed to keep the learner engaged through sound instructional methodologies.

Instruction Quality
The quality of instruction is often challenging in a classroom environment because of the nature of the live instruction. For example, the instructor may have an off day and fail to cover a few key points. Or learners may lack understanding and require additional explanation on a topic. With e-learning, all learners receive the same quality of instruction because there is no dependence on a specific instructor. The material is present in the same manner, consistently, to every learner.

Development Costs
Developing media-rich e-learning courses may appear to be more expensive initially. Software licenses, hardware, and training courses on how to use such technology can seem cost prohibitive. However, consider the costs for classroom instruction including: classroom facilities, instructor time, participants’ travel time and job time lost to attend a class and the cost for e-learning course are considerably lower.

Mobile Workforce
With employees constantly on the go, when can they find the time to learn? E-learning enables learning anytime, anyplace. Laptops, tablets and other mobile devices make it easy to learn on the go. It’s self-paced so there’s flexibility to take the course in piecemeal or all at once.

E-learning… Evolving
The technology boom is driving the necessity to teach and learn in new ways- and e-learning is changing too. It not just about delivering a course over the web anymore; it’s about using technology to enable the learning process. Weaving existing web content (videos, articles, webinars, infographics, etc.) with assessments is quick course ‘development’ solution. And MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) is the latest way to access quality education from top universities for little to no money all via a web-enabled device. These are just some of the new e-learning concepts coming out of ‘tin can alley’.

It is unlikely that e-learning will ever replace classroom learning entirely. There is a need for both methods to exist in any organization where one method supports or complements the other. When building a case for e-learning, it is important to consider the organization’s overall learning strategy and curriculums that will be implemented. Curriculums that will reach large audiences or require a consistent, systemic rollout are ideally suited for e-learning. Consider the types of skills being developed- if the material is best learned in a situational context, online simulations could be a solution. The key is to identify learning opportunities where e-learning can effectively enable the learning process; be that as a complimentary piece to the existing/overall learning path, or as an entire replacement. Too often organizations have only seen it as “one or the other”. As a result, they’ve missed out on some of the greatest benefits e-learning has to offer.

Questions About Online Learning? Contact Udutu for Answers!

Udutu’s free course authoring software lends itself to teams who must collaborate to create training, or to groups who are scattered and to Subject Matter Experts who don’t have the time or inclination to become technologists.

As always, if you have any questions about course authoring and creating effective elearning content, don’t hesitate to contact the team at Udutu.

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