I have always wondered what would be the best parameter by which an eLearning course can be evaluated. “Evaluation” in particular to eLearning, refers to an analysis of a course efficacy; do learners like the course? Do they learn? Is the learning applied on the job? Is there a return on investment?
If the learning is not evaluated, the count of quality is lost. Without quality accountability, the only way to decide upon is cost. It is very unfortunate to note that many organizations, have reduced the training ROI measurement formula, to mere cost per learner.
If there’s no evaluation as to whether the course is achieving the purpose it was written and developed for, then there would not be any difference between an eLearning industry and any ordinary manufacturing industry, which have methods in place for determining ROI on anything they do and strive to maximize their returns. The same cannot be applied to an eLearning industry, as an eLearning evaluation can be regarded as complete, only when the learners are able to apply their learning practically, apart from the maximizing ROI.
It is one of many individual parts to evaluate and determine whether the course is achieving what it’s set out to achieve. A SME may be a connoisseur in his subject, but that may not automatically confer the ability to impart information in a manner that aids learning. There are many things beyond cost, which should be taken into consideration, while evaluating an eLearning course. A course that gives you maximum ROI sometimes, may not be of the best quality, unless the learners are able to apply the learning practically.
Unfortunately, organizations are following this trend of evaluatinf ellearning. as they are not sure of what all things have to be captured beyond cost. As an industry, all that we need to do is to identify what is the cost of a poorly created online course.
Thus on the whole, I opine that lack of proper evaluation is leading to undermining quality of an elearning course. It has ripple effects on the core of organizational learning and so, the quality of learning as a whole. When evaluating an eLearning course, it has to be assessed in all domains, right from how well the learner is able to apply his training, to how much return you obtain on your investment.