E-learning is changing our entire understanding of education. In the old days, learning was a fairly standardized process. Learners, whether at school or on the job, would sit through training sessions and lectures. Then they’d take a test to demonstrate the knowledge or skills they’d acquired. Sounds simple enough, but there are a growing number of reasons why this old-school approach to learning and development is out of touch with the real world we’re living in today. Here’s a quick guide to what e-learning is and how it’s already creating a new, improved learning experience that’s only getting bigger and better as we move forward.
E-learning is interactive, online learning
A key difference between e-learning and older teaching/learning methods is that it harnesses the power of modern technology to make learning faster, easier and more effective. That means it uses online platforms like websites or special software tools to provide knowledge. To a much greater extent than older methods, e-learning is interactive and personalized. Learners can access information on demand, whenever or wherever they need. They have all the knowledge they need, right at their fingertips on their smartphone, laptop or tablet.
How does e-learning work?
E-learning comes in different shapes and sizes. A common way of implementing e-learning is for organizations to use a learning management system (LMS). This is an online portal where employees can sign in to access learning content. The content may be articles, downloadable PDFs and presentations, videos, webinars, discussion forums as well as assignments and exams. There may be further interactive elements like live chat or videoconferencing.
Increasingly, companies are shifting towards even more immersive, interactive platforms. These are often known as knowledge sharing platforms. A knowledge sharing platform gives employees an even more interactive experience by enabling them to create and share their own learning content with their colleagues. This creates more of an online learning community, in which employees take responsibility for maintaining a shared knowledge base.
What are the advantages with e-learning?
Compared with older education models, e-learning has many advantages. It is generally much less expensive to implement and maintain. It is also easier to update and far more adaptable, so the knowledge is more relevant. Learners feel more engaged with e-learning than with older learning methods, so they are likely to achieve better learning outcomes. Since it is interactive and accessible on demand, it is compatible with the way most people prefer to access knowledge today. Employees can access information precisely when they need it, so they find the e-learning experience more meaningful and relevant to their work. It is also mobile-compatible, which makes it more convenient to access from wherever the learner is.
Lastly, especially when it takes place via a knowledge sharing platform, e-learning boosts employee engagement and creates a strong sense of community. This enriches employees professionally as well as personally and enables them to perform better at their jobs.