5 Trends in e-Learning You Should Know

e-learning trends 2014

e-learning trends 2014

E-learning has a whole range of advantages over conventional learning: It’s fast, easy to implement, easily repeated, quick to update and centralised. But it’s also a rapidly changing field, so it’s important to stay on top of the trends to ensure that your business competes at the front of the pack.

Multiple Learning Methods

Most pronounced of all the changes brought about by e-learning is the fact that you don’t have to be taught in a classroom anymore. Nor does this learning have to take place between specific work hours. Utilising your business’s Learning Management System (LMS) it’s possible to make all classes available to staff at any time.

This means that if a member of staff has some downtime between projects they can quickly pop onto the LMS and either refresh their memory on an area they’re unsure about, or learn something entirely new.

Furthermore, the web-based nature of an LMS (although some are maintained on a closed network) means that teaching does not have to take place in the office space. If a member of staff would feel more comfortable studying at their own pace from the comfort of their own home then they can do so. With e-learning, flexibility is a massive keyword.

The fact that most e-learning classes are taught to an individual can also not be overlooked. A company can provide a whole series of resources on a topic that have been tailored to suit different types of learners.

For example: visual learners can access videos and slideshows, whilst other more traditional learners can read their way through documents or listen to podcasts of lectures. This kind of flexibility will be welcomed by those doing the studying and has been shown to improve knowledge retention.

Blended Learning

Also called ‘hybrid learning’ this can take on a variety of forms, but is most regularly a combination of offline and online learning, taking advantage of the benefits of both. For example, a hybrid learning method might be when a student is asked to read some online documents a day before attending a physical seminar so that the teacher can dive right into what they don’t understand and the complexities of the subject. This saves the teacher a substantial amount of time where they are merely relaying facts and gives the student time to familiarise themselves with the content.

As a result they are able to get right into the focused learning that is most useful for most employees.

One of the reasons this method has become so popular is because it lets the student feel like they’ve taken more control of their own learning. Whilst there is a core part of learning required of them, because they’re online they are free to develop their knowledge or pursue related elements as much as they like. This kind of freedom creates a sense of ownership in the student around their learning. Which in turn increases their chances of retaining that learning rather than forgetting what someone else has told them.

Bite-size Courses

Retention is a big trend in education across the board at the moment. Managers want to ensure that their employees are benefitting from taught seminars and lessons, rather than just attending and forgetting. One of the greatest causes of loss of learning is student fatigue. Often classes go on too long and try to teach too much in one session, resulting in the student shutting down or being unable to learn properly.

E-learning has made it much easier to present lessons in smaller, more manageable chunks, which a student can absorb quickly between work tasks. Furthermore, because e-lessons are stored centrally on your businesses LMS, these lessons can be returned to whenever a student feels that their knowledge is slipping, or they want a refresher.

The compact nature of e-learning courses also means that it’s much easier to refer back to it directly with your peers. Whilst colleagues may have trouble remembering a specific moment of an hour-long lesson in a classroom, they will have no problem referring back to a five-minute computer-based lesson.

Social Learning

Gone are the days when students were told to work in silence. Social (or ‘collaborative’) learning invites students to interact with one another to enhance the learning experience. By turning teaching into a conversation, rather than a lecture, you reduce student fatigue and also make the experience more natural by allowing everyone’s personalities to manifest in the teaching.

From an e-learning perspective, social learning is great because it can be conducted online as well as offline. Students can attend a physical class, then take to message boards or instant messaging to discuss their learning and ask further questions amongst themselves. This kind of extended learning is great for building a sense of community in your workplace as well as improving learning retention.

Social learning can also be a huge boon for businesses that are utilising remote workers or operating across multiple sites. Because the teaching is centralised, managers can be confident that all of their staff are working with the same information and also supporting one another using both their own knowledge and the digital resources on the company LMS.

Continuous Learning

E-learning makes it tremendously easy for your staff to never stop learning. Continuous learning is all about gradually expanding skill sets and knowledge in a way that both improves the person doing the learning. This in turn benefits the company they’re working for as the worker is more knowledgeable in their area and therefore more capable.

Continuous learning also makes it much easier for companies to promote from within, as they can ensure that their staff have the necessary knowledge required through targeted e-learning. This is a very attractive feature in a business and a big draw for new talent.

Continuous learning also builds a healthy environment within the office. If everyone in an office understands that everyone is constantly learning, then they are less likely to hesitate before asking for help. Furthermore, they are more likely to observe and learn from one another in the hopes of furthering themselves and their career.

Flexibility is another result of a continuous learning environment. Employees are more open to trying new things because they are constantly taking on new ideas and looking for ways to improve old methods. This can lead to a very agile and innovative workplace, which is good for a company whilst also creating a sense of momentum in its workers.

Create an Expert Workforce

Above all else, e-learning makes it much easier for you to develop the talent within your business. By implementing a quality learning management system and keeping on top of trends like the ones listed above, you automatically drive your business towards the front of the pack. Your staff will be more knowledgeable, more engaged, and more flexible in their work.

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