- Friday, 20 June 2014 11:30
Not many – judging by some stats. The amount spent on eLearning has grown by around 60 percent over the last three years. Within five years it is forecast around half of all college classes will be based on eLearning. More than 40 percent of global Fortune 500 companies already use educational technology to instruct employees.
According to a report from IBM, companies utilizing eLearning tools have the potential to boost productivity by up to 50 percent. The analysts say return on investment in terms of added productivity is as much as 30 to 1. What else does eLearning do? It boosts staff retention rates, increases revenue per employee and helps companies to remain competitive. What’s more, eLearning is more convenient, less costly and better suited to flexible modern working patterns.
So why does anyone use any other form of training? Is it simple inertia? Do employers have cozy contracts with traditional instructors they do not want to break? Or is it about quality? Are there too many concerns about certification standards applied to eLearning courses?
Maybe it’s about interaction. Pupils in HR and every other profession need to build relationships with tutors and fellow students. Is that a weakness of eLearning? What is it that eLearning does NOT get right?
According to the Business Briefing “Learning and Analytics,” it could be about the inability of companies to establish robust statistics that clearly demonstrate direct links between eLearning and business improvement. “Without analytics,” it suggests, “you are at risk of driving your learning strategy blind, and never realizing the results you expect to gain.” By combining traditional training reporting with business data from other systems (such as CRM and ERP) through use of an integrated HR management system, it is possible to quantify the commercial benefits of any eLearning activity in real time.
A different perspective is offered by another report which suggests the problem is ‘content chaos’. Too many people want too many eLearning courses. The result? “Learning departments everywhere are straining under the burden of ever-increasing eLearning courses, online simulations, videos, manuals and podcasts.” So companies cannot keep up with changing levels of demand.
Or maybe it’s because eLearning has yet to take full account of the social media revolution. Could eLearning’s shortcomings such as interaction, course content feedback and quality standards be overcome by skillful use of social media techniques?
What do you think? (Reprinted from Linked-In HR Group)
Is there value to e-learning? Certainly. Is it the best training format for every person, situation, or course of study? Not. Does it depend on the nature of the training content? Definitely. Would e-learning be a better fit for mechanical engineering theory than acquiring good communication skills? Obviously, though online courses can serve as a primer for later hands-on learning of communication skills. Far more learning ground could be covered by e-learning for engineering.
Online learning can be an effective way to introduce theory and cover reference materials. Still, I believe that live person demonstrations, training, and coaching should complement and support most forms of online learning by relating theory to practical applications. The student learns via application of theory in real life situations, and learning is realized through experiencing the lesson. Professionally-guided delivery of content that is live, participatory, informative, and entertaining is what facilitates learning the best. This is providing that trainers and educators are continuously improving their knowledge and skills. Optimal transfer of knowledge and skills is the objective, and innately a real-life process. The old adage, “learning by doing,” still reigns supreme today.