Top Ten Things You Should Know about e-Learning
E-Learning or "learning electronically" is the fastest growing platform in today's business world. E-learning can occur at any time, in any place, for anyone at a fraction of the cost of classroom training. It CAN be even more effective than classroom instruction, with higher levels of retention for certain types of learning. That's the good news. However, there are some important things to consider as you dive into the world of learning online:
1. Evaluate content before purchasing. Finding good programs can be difficult because there are so many available. Several sites review and evaluate e-learning content (e.g., LGuide.com).
2. E-learning is not THE solution but part of a blended solution. Employee training should be delivered using a variety of methods. Experiential learning is still the best.
3. E-learning works best when teaching a process or logical sequences. Good examples are software (Microsoft, JAVA), OSHA training or even a process like preparing and conducting an effective interview.
4. Companies with scattered operations or home based office workers can effectively leverage e-learning. The Navy, universities and large corporations pioneered online learning. Today, companies under 100 employees are learning online.
5. E-learning is different. It requires adaptations from traditional learning habits. For example, a course may not be taken in one sitting but rather over several occasions.
6. Allocate time and space for e-learning. Unless similar approaches are used for both e-learning and traditional training events, e-learning may be forgotten or postponed.
7. Content for e-learning is usually delivered through a Learning Management System (LMS). Building your own content is very expensive; a more economical approach is to have content supplied and hosted by one of the many LMS vendors.
8. Do your homework when choosing a LMS or content vendor. Obtaining references from current clients and researching their credentials is critical.
9. ALWAYS include a post-event on-the-job application. Even though someone completes an e-learning course (or any course), they may not have mastered the knowledge or skill. Ask them to apply it.
10. MEASURE results. A great deal of money is wasted on e-learning. Clearly identify the required knowledge or skills and track progress toward the desired outcomes.
Bottom line? Seek advice. Many companies have lost time and money going down the wrong path. In today's market, prices can be negotiated with product vendors, learning management systems and software providers. However, getting the right products is critical. St. Aubin, Haggerty & Associates works with companies to assess, identify and implement e-learning programs.
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