eLearning with Social Media: The Perfect Marriage?
Terry Braverman and Company

eLearning with Social Media: The Perfect Marriage?

“Learning and teaching are not inherently linked. Much learning takes place without teaching, and indeed much teaching takes place without learning.” Jane Bozarth


Two weeks ago, our feature story focused on the pros and cons of eLearning. Linked-In’s HR Group recently ran a survey with 700 members, 59% having taken four or more eLearning courses. While 56% felt ‘increasing amounts of professional training will be through eLearning courses’, a paltry 8.5% felt ‘eLearning courses are usually of a high standard’.


The most important influences on choice of eLearning course are a relevant description (72%), the course supplier’s reputation (60%), attractive price (49%) and certification credits (45%). Some people emphasized the importance of ‘easy access, anytime, anywhere’, stressing the importance of ‘less time out of the office for training because this way I can engage with the content when I am most able to learn & retain the information’. Others wanted courses to take ‘an hour or less to complete’ and one noted they should ‘deliver value commensurate with price: less expensive may not provide good value’.


The influence of social media was clear from many comments, with one respondent suggesting ‘some form of social collaboration & someone who comes in once in a while to facilitate reflection would make eLearning win’. Another noted ‘my biggest issue with eLearning is the limited ability (or total inability) to interact with the session leader & fellow participants’. 64% of respondents agreed with the idea of ‘being able to refer to a professional advisor’, with one asking for ‘real time support, so when a particular concept is not understood there is an alternative learning intervention available’.


This was borne out by 49% suggesting ‘being able to correspond with fellow students’ would add to the appeal of a course, while 53% would value course rankings & 48% would appreciate reviews from previous students. One respondent wanted ‘solid and verifiable references and personal experiences from former participants’, while others sought the facility to ‘take a test run through a course’ or ‘trial samples’. But interactivity with fellow students & the tutor was a key, with respondents seeking friendliness, fun, engagement & encouragement to change their thinking & behavior.


Conclusion: There is a plethora of substandard eLearning courses. Many eLearning students have clear ideas on how to improve them; many of those ideas relate to Social Media principles. Is greater interactivity the route forward for eLearning? It appears so.







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