Why Elearning?

Elearning is hot, and for good reason. If completed the right way, it can produce great results by decreasing costs and improving performance. Also, unlike a one-time classroom session, eLearning courses are available for others. This includes a static eLearning course as well as any ongoing conversations in networked communities.

Recently, we had a conversation with someone new to eLearning and it struck us that he didn’t fully understand the value of eLearning. We think this is common as more people are joining the world of eLearning. Understanding eLearning’s value helps you make the best decisions about when and why to use it.

eLearning

Elearning Supports the Organisation’s Goals

Improved Training Costs

Producing learning content is time consuming whether it’s online or not. With eLearning, each time the course is accessed your return on investment improves because you are dividing the fixed production costs by the number of uses. You also have savings through decreased travel, reduced material, and hopefully improved (and more efficient) performance.

Decreased Material Costs

Let’s say you must train how to arrange equipment in a sterile environment like an operating room. If you had to use the real environment, it would be costly. Even setting up a fake environment has material costs and labour. By creating the environment online and letting the learner practice, you never have to worry about the costs associated with set up, use, and clean up.

Increased Productivity

Because eLearning is not bound by geography or time, you can control training’s impact on production by training people during down times. In addition, with the current economy, you’re asking people to do more with less. So, eLearning is a great way to give them the tools and skills needed to enhance their performance.

Standardisation

You may have a great facilitator, but that’s no guarantee that the courses are presented the same across sessions. Elearning allows you to create a standardised process and consistency in the delivery of content.  It also compresses delivery time.

Elearning Supports the Learner’s Development

Real-Time Access

Live learning events require those who participate in it to align their schedules to the organisation’s training calendar. Elearning eliminates this requirement in the diary for training sessions because courses can be accessed anytime, anywhere. This can also be possible without internet access for when staff are in remote locations without the bandwidth for access to the world wide web.

Freedom to Fail

Let’s face it, real learning requires some failure. But no one likes to fail in a classroom full of other people. Elearning lets you fail without fear. This encourages exploration and testing of ideas. With the right feedback, you create a great learning environment. Worst case, you can always start over. Something you can’t always do in class.

Improved Retention

The combination of multimedia and instructional design can produce a very rich learning experience that is repeatable. Throw in some good practice activities with feedback and you have a learning environment that’s going to help your learners retain the course content which will produce results.

Personalised Learning

Look out the window at your car park or road your office is situated on. My guess is that you’ll see a dozen or more different cars. They all do the same thing, yet we have personal opinions about what we want to drive. The same for learning. Learners want to control. Elearning allows you to offer control to the learners in a way that classroom learning doesn’t.

Elearning Nurtures a Learning Organisation & Community

Ongoing Access to Resources

If you take a class in the real world and need a refresher, you better hope that you took good notes.  Otherwise, you’re out of luck. That’s not the case with eLearning. Ideally, you continue to have access to the online content and resources to brush up on what you learned.

Knowledge Management

Many people see eLearning as only the authored courses. But eLearning includes all sort of online technologies. If you incorporate some of the tools that allow collaboration and conversation, you can capture organisational knowledge that is available for future learners.

Encourage Sharing

The foundation of a learning community is built on sharing what you know with others. This is where incorporating a forum or wiki really adds value to your eLearning. Depending on how the course is structured, you can encourage sharing of resources and insight gained from the course.

Employer of Choice

People want opportunities to grow. A cafeteria with high-fat foods is one way. Another is a catalogue with all sorts of eLearning courses. This allows them to explore other opportunities in the organisation. During downtime, it would be great to spend fifteen minutes learning to better manage meetings or improve working with peers. Offering these opportunities to learn makes you a place people want to stay.

Elearning Is Good for The Environment

The Open University’s “study found that producing and providing distance learning courses consumes an average of 90% less energy and produces 85% fewer CO2 emissions per student than conventional face-to-face courses.”

One of the challenges with making eLearning effective is how you manage the courses and access to resources. We are advocates of freeing up the course navigation and giving the learner more control.

If you’re using a learning management system you might consider how that impacts the learning. Do people have access to the resources when the course is complete? Can they retake it? Are you punishing them for failing?

Elearning is cost effective and can produce great results. It’s all a matter of how you use it. Where do you see eLearning’s effectiveness? What suggestions would you offer to those who are just getting started?

Why and How to Use Video in Elearning

Training videos for learning have been used for decades, and online learning videos have almost been around just as long. So why haven’t you been using video in your eLearning?

Audiences are expecting more than professional monologues from CEOs within their eLearning courses. They’re looking for highly engaging content. Living up to these expectations may seem daunting, but it’s also an exciting opportunity to infuse “movie magic” in your learning content. Doing this leaves an impression that will last for the right reasons. Below are some reasons why you need to use video in eLearning and how to do it.

Benefits of Video in Elearning

Ever since Don Taylor’s first Global Sentiment Survey in 2014, video has ranked high among learning professionals across the globe. Video is no longer an up-and-coming trend. Audiences now expect video to be enveloped in Learning and Development (L&D) content, and for good reason:

Video provides a lot of information in a short amount of time.

Think of how successful videos with ultra-short content on apps are, such as on Instagram or Facebook. Brain Candy also shares lots of useful information in each 60-second tip video.

Video facilitates storytelling.

Rather than using an aggressive sales approach, several major brands have taken a cue from John Lewis’ Christmas TV adverts, utilising their festive airtime as an engagement opportunity to connect with consumers via storytelling.

Video makes conveying behaviour, emotion and culture easier.

Emotions, culture and behaviour often fare better if they’re conveyed via video rather than through writing. This unconscious bias module offers a solid example of this using an animated video.

Tips to Keep Video Costs Down

Including video in your learning content doesn’t have to be pricey. You can embed or link to clips from your organisation’s in-house video library or the Internet. Scripts and studios aren’t always necessary to get started. Just get your ideas together, speak to the professionals producing the video and stock video can be sourced where actors and original content is too costly.

Here are more tips for getting started with video content for learning without breaking the bank:

·      Forget corporate messages when you film senior leaders.

·      Film personal stories instead.

·      You can opt for hiring a professional interviewer just for the video content.

·      Don’t try to get everything in one shot.

Help your subject get down to the core part of his or her story by filming multiple takes.

Short Versus Long Video: What’s Best?

Going for short versus long video content will depend on your Learning and Development content’s goals, and knowing when length adds value for your learners. Long video content often works well when you’re trying to communicate the consequences of various behaviours, different perspectives and subjects dealing with emotions. The longer the video content, the more likely it’ll need acting and scripts.

While you can go the DIY route, it’s less risky and more worthwhile to enlist a professional agency’s help for lengthy video content. Break professional video content up into episodes to get more value. Incorporate interactions and branching functionality using an eLearning authoring tool, like how Open University did when it spliced clips of Spartacus, Bill Clinton and a rugby game with polls about how learners felt about lying.

Reasons Why It Is So Popular

Just for example, you may be a photographer who has just purchased your first semi-professional digital camera. You’ve read the user guide but found it difficult to make sense of the features from the schematic diagrams. You want to know more, to see it in action – what you really want is a demonstration. Where do you go? I have my money on you visiting YouTube. YouTube is the second most visited website in the world, surpassed only by Google. This statistic confirms our hunch: People love video and given the choice to learn by watching rather than reading, most of us will go with the screen. Below we discuss why video in eLearning is the medium of the moment to include in your online courses.

Supports Our Intrinsic Learning Preference

Growing up, we learned how to operate in the world by watching our parents. In fact, psychologist Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory states that people learn behaviour from their environment through observation, imitation, and modelling. This can take the form of someone physically demonstrating a behaviour or task or describing a task verbally. Perhaps this explains our love of watching visual demonstrations? Video in eLearning is a powerful method for re-creating this experience. Virtual classroom technology takes this one step further by allowing real-time teacher presentation, commenting, and collaboration.

Challenges Our Perception of Elearning

Technological advances and evolving trends mean we constantly need to redefine eLearning. Currently, there is a move away from traditional, long-duration modules that cover several learning objectives, to a “microlearning” approach comprised of a suite of concise learning assets, including videos, apps, and web resources. The future of eLearning might be a privately hosted channel of video resources, supported downloadable guides, and worksheets.

Satisfies Multiple Learning Styles

Although primarily a visual medium, video provides the opportunity to satisfy a wide range of learning styles. Voiceover appeals to auditory learners, while interspersed text screens consolidating key messages can be included to appeal to those who prefer reading. Text transcripts and downloadable resources can also be included in the experience. For kinesthetic learners, demonstration videos can prompt learners to try out the skill while watching the video. With video, all bases are covered!

Reduces Cognitive Load

Think again about learning how to use that camera. Do you find it more energy intensive reading a manual or watching a demonstration video? Watching is described by most as a more relaxing, engaging way to learn, and generally,  when people are more relaxed, they are more likely to retain information.

Engages, Entertains, and Delights

Video makes it much easier to engage learners and holds attention. To increase engagement further, interaction opportunities can be added between clips for a learner-centric solution. Learners could be faced with a decision and depending on their choice, a unique video clip plays, giving them a sense of control. Allowing learners to interact with video by skipping, pausing, and scrubbing replicates the experience they will be used to when using platforms such as YouTube and social media networks.

Are you currently using video in eLearning?

Fresh01 can assist in developing a solution that uses video to its best advantage to engage and delight your learners. Fresh01 is an award-winning creative agency, and global learning solutions provider experienced in developing engaging and innovative eLearning and blended learning solutions.