Most people who know me know that I like to keep things simple. At least, I try to. So, when asked how e-learning differs from a regular website, my initial response was that e-learning takes an in-depth look into one specific subject while a website is just general information. It’s a simple answer, but not really complete. There are websites wholly devoted to one subject, but it doesn’t make it necessarily e-learning. If you think of all the components that make up a learning environment, a website doesn’t usually contain all of them. So, what does e-learning look like? What does it comprise?
E-learning is a way of educating people electronically. The essential elements of learning remain the same no matter what the method of education. Elearning, just like it’s traditional classroom counterpart, is a means of guiding a student from the basics through to more advanced concepts in a particular subject. It is a step-by-step guide through a course, if you will. In a traditional setting, it is up to the teacher to lead students through the material. Unfortunately, having a class being led through, the course can only go as fast as its slowest member. While e-learning is also a guided tour through a subject, it is primarily student-driven, rather than instructor led. The advantage of that is the course will go at each individual student’s pace, thereby facilitating more actual learning.
If we look at a specific topic, such as Microsoft Word, the difference between the website on Word and an e-learning course would be that the website would do little more than state what Word is and what it can do. They could even have an in-depth manual on all the buttons and functionality. It is possible to read through the website and glean some useful information from it, though cumbersome, whereas an e-learning course on Word would start at the very basics, giving us the building blocks we would need for more advanced functions before progressing to the more difficult maneuvers. Instead of having to search for information from the website, the e-learning course would just present it to us in a logical, easy-to-search manner to be consumed at our individual speed.
There is always instruction involved in learning and e-learning is no exception. While there is no instruction involved in a regular website, we all know there are teachers in a traditional classroom, but there are also teachers in an e-learning course. No, you won’t see mean old Mrs. Wallace’s beehive head pop up to remind you to pay attention when you aren’t clicking fast enough. The instruction in e-learning is more implied than physical. What I mean is that the “teacher” is more in the way the course is designed and presented.
Instructional Design (ID) is a key to a good elearning course. The purpose of ID is to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of a course. This is accomplished by analyzing the student base as well as the goal of the course and then throwing all that information into the development of the actual training material. As the course is being developed, all the objects that are put into it, whether they are animations, avatars, pictures or other interactive methods, have all been decided by the ID department so that every aspect of the course is geared toward the benefit of the learner.
If assessments are required, the ID guys are the ones who decide not only how they should be presented, but in what way they would best benefit the student. So, this non-physical “teacher” in the e-learning course is actually a room full of people all working toward bringing the student a course that is not only engaging, but will help each learner maximize their retention levels.
Websites are useful, don’t get me wrong. They can even help a person learn something. I use websites for research all the time, as I’m sure many people do. However, if I wanted to learn how to do something in particular, like learning to speak Russian, I would take an e-learning course over wading through heaps of Russian websites, which would be a nightmare if you didn’t understand their alphabet first. You see, those basic building blocks are coming into play already!
In the final analysis, a website in Russian or on the Russian language would help with some information on the topic, but that’s about it. An e-learning course would help you navigate through the subject, starting with basic words and the alphabet for instance, use various stimuli to keep your brain on topic, reinforce the knowledge being given through assessments and, by the time you’ve finished, you’ll actually be able to speak and read Russian!
What’s also nice about that e-learning course is that after it’s been completed, it doesn’t end there. It then becomes a handy reference tool that you can go back to, if you get stuck. Since a course has an outline or syllabus, it’s easy to navigate and find what you need quickly, rather than having to wade through web page after web page in the hope of finding the answer.
So, I wish you all a good day and happy learning!
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Gamification is the use of the game theory and game-based mechanics in a non-gaming contexts such as education, work, and so on to facilitate better engagement. The main idea of using gamification in eLearning is to create a fun-filled learning environment that helps learners acquire knowledge and skills better.
Title: Best Practices of Visualization for an E-learning course
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In my previous blog, Checklist for content standardization in eLearning- Part 1, I have discussed the grammatical rules that every instructional designer (ID) should follow while developing a storyboard. In this blog, I would like to share some guidelines on sentence structuring, style and important elements of an online course.
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One of the adult learning principles states that adult learners don’t like to be directed, but wish to explore and acquire knowledge themselves. In an eLearning course, the main purpose of the Graphical User Interface (GUI) is to enable learners to navigate seamlessly and tell them ‘where they are’ in the course, how many slides they have completed, how many more do they need to complete and so on. The GUI of a typical online training course contains buttons such as Play, Pause, Replay, Previous, and Next. It also has the progress bar and a menu which contains options to turn the audio on/off, seek help online, access the glossary and resources and exit the eLearning course. Depending upon our requirements, we can skip or add some of the elements described above.
People expect to be bored by eLearning – let’s show them it doesn’t have to be like that!”
– Cammy Bean
The ultimate challenge that every eLearning course designer faces is engaging the adult learner in the online learning environment. To overcome this challenge, they need to have a clear idea of the strategy they are going to use.
Effective audio narration goes a long way in enhancing the efficacy of an eLearning course by reducing the cognitive load. The modality principle states that the learner can learn better from animations and narration than just animations and on-screen text.
Designing the prototype of an eLearning course and getting it approved before developing the course plays a key role in the smooth execution of the online course development project. Having a prototype allows the client and the developer to be on the same page, and this helps reduce rework in the later stages of the project.
Numerous classroom training sessions over the years would have resulted in you accumulating a vast knowledge bank on various topics in your organization. The material could be in the form of PowerPoint presentations, MS-Word documents, or PDF files – all reviewed, finalized and signed off by your Subject-matter Experts (SMEs).
Welcome to today’s blog post. Aviation industry is one of the first industries to adapt eLearning and define clear standards for the development of CBTs (AICC). Having worked on several projects for the industry, I have understood the significance of these standards. Developing an eLearning program for the aviation industry is different from any other industry and requires great attention to details. Today, we will look at the three parameters that will help ensure the safe landing of your aviation CBTs.