The Future of E-Learning/Digital Learning

“What is clear from digital learning research is that technology-based learning can be effective, in some cases more so than classroom learning, but only when certain conditions are met.”
CIPD, Digital learning, 2017.

 

E-learning or Digital Learning is growing at a rapid rate, the need to learn on the go and away from a classroom environment with more and more courses taking a [blended] approach is very apparent when discussing the future of the digital world. Our online learning no longer encompasses just simply logging into a website and completing an online course, the way individuals interact with their content has changed as well. The use of ebooks, social media and online communities, online lectures, webinars, podcasts, company blogging and even downloadable apps have opened many doors to what was a tried and tested model. As the future also moves towards virtual reality with the inclusion of virtual learning simulations and games being rolled out in companies, it’s a very exciting time indeed! After all, who said learning couldn’t be fun?

As technology is forever developing why should our learning not do the same? Long gone are the days of the traditional ‘bombarded with text and information, click here to read more, quiz at the end’ approach. When a customer sits down to complete an e-learning package these days they want it to be simple, easy to understand, knowledgeable but most importantly have an element of fun – inclusion of vibrant pictures, diagrams, animations, audio clips and videos are a must to get an overall enjoyable experience. This is exactly what we had in mind when reviewing and rolling out our new e-learning packages.

There are now three broad categories of digital learning – Formal digital, Informal digital and Blended/supported learning:

  • Formal digital: where technology is used to deliver previous course-based content to the end customer without former support from training and learning professionals, management or peers. A brief explanation was made and the customer was expected to simply log into their e-learning package and start. Significantly companies have grown up with this model.
  • Informal digital: where technology provides and shapes a companies knowledge management. Courses are designed in mind with the customers experience and knowledge at the forefront, with courses remaining bespoke and unique to the course content being delivered.
  • Blended/supported learning: where formal and/or informal digital learning can be ‘blended’ to work together. Content might be delivered face to face with request to undertake a smaller/bitesize course after the session; sometimes customers will be tasked with completing the digital learning package before undertaking the face to face training and so on. We recently rolled out our own blended approach combining a shorter face to face Basic Life Support session with a longer digital package. More on that very soon! Overall reviews and feedback have been very positive so do keep checking our blog and website for more details.

Also note, there has been a huge increase in social and interactive sharing. At the forefront companies being able to share new opportunities for collaboration, co-creation and sharing of content internally via their internet or intranets systems. After all knowledge is best shared.

For further information on this, an interesting report from CIPD’s on E-learning to ‘Gameful’ Employment, 2012 examines the progress in the types of digital learning available, focusing on:

  • Virtual learning environments, webinars and other forms of networked learning
  • Social media such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook
  • Integration of smartphone technology into the learning environment and the use of ‘apps’

Positives VS Negatives:

Positives:

As discussed our first course rolled out recently and greeted with huge success and praise with most commenting they liked the ease of use, the content and the way it was presented.

  • Digital learning is not just limited to 4 walls of learning. By offering these digital learning packages online, customers can access their learning on the go even most being optimised for tablet and mobile phone use or simply in their own time, away from the confines of the classroom.
  • Ability to manage yours, staff and customers learning – simultaneously reaching out to a higher volume of customers old and new in one go.
  • Reduction in face to face training and learning time – especially adopting the blended/supported model.
  • Cost reduction – by having a digital learning package replace, update or run alongside your current learning trends your company could actually save money in the long run. Less time spent in the class room which results in your staff remaining in the office.
  • Global outreach – as long as the course content matches that of your countries legalisation, policy and law there is no saying your company could not outreach to a global level.

Negatives:

Although from an industry and legal standpoint of how important digital learning is to an company it should be noted there are drawbacks to it as well.

  • Customers must take responsibility and motivation for their own digital learning. Although a positive is being able to access learning on the go, day or night. Making digital learning available to unprepared or unsupported learners is ineffective unless you make sure appropriate time is set aside.
  • Overlooking the importance of digital learning to learning in a classroom. It should also be noted if a company was to offer an array of online packages there should be emphasis on making sure those involved will have to complete the online content in a realistic time frame. Possibly setting reminders or a time limit within your companies standards.
  • Different learners needs – it’s quite easy to adopt a one size fits all approach when designing bespoke digital learning packages but do bear in mind that it is not always the case. Get the feel for what a customer is really after and assist them in their learning by making it easy to use, break down walls of texts with pictures, diagrams and videos and remember to always get feedback after course completion.
  • Finding attractive, relevant and high-quality up to date content – when rolling out online packages please be in mind that there will need to be an annual and or monthly review of the content.
  • Skip to the quiz – as well as monitoring and managing your learners progress do remind your learners to engage with the content appropriately and not just rush through to the final assessment/quiz.

We recently released A New Suite of Digital Learning Packages adopting the Nimble platform to run our new content. From personal experience and management of the platform I can safely say it’s a very robust, engaging and versatile platform to use and our customers would agree! With 100% of our customers rating course content good to excellent.

“This is a very practical, clear and concise e-learning package. One of the best I’ve seen.”

“Very detailed and helpful content for practical application, thank you”.

“Everything was perfectly explained”.

Our trainers have even taken the time out to leave their thoughts:

“Very well done team. Excellent on-line training. Well done all.”

Thank you to everyone for the feedback and ratings – we appreciate all your thoughts and will use it when developing and updating future courses. For more information on Nimble, check out: www.trynimble.com for more information.

It is exciting times here at ECG and we are delighted with the new products and services we are able to offer you. Keep up to date with our latest news on our websitenews and notices or simply give us a call in the office on 0845 423 8993.

Further reading:

Cambridge Scholars. Informal Learning and Digital Media. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.cambridgescholars.com/download/sample/59154. [Accessed January 2018]

CIPD. 2017. The future of technology and learning. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/the-future-of-technology-and-learning_2017_tcm18-29348.pdf.  [Accessed January 2018]

Written by Alan Williams 18th January 2018