Friday, October 5, 2012

E-Learning: Top-Notch Training in a Struggling Economy

The world economy has been undergoing many changes; some are minor shifts, while others have been coming in the form of drastic waves of financial deterioration for people, businesses and countries. Governments everywhere are tightening their belts. Businesses are seeking creative ways to thrive under the threat of another recession. Educational organizations are working hard to educate in a world where technology is bursting but budgets are shrinking.
One way each of these sectors can grow is through e-learning. Simply, e-learning is the teaching and learning through the use of electronic products and devices. Companies, organizations and governments are beginning to recognize the importance of growing with the technology. E-learning is no longer limited to meeting with a class online at a specific time from your home computer. Now, many courses and training are designed to offer the flexibility of access to the module at the user's convenience and even using the device of his or her choice: laptop, PC, tablet or mobile - all can be used to access most e-learning and training.
What is the difference between e-learning and reading an informative book or watching a training video?
You could hand your employees a booklet full of guidelines, policies and practices (we've all been there). But how many are going to read the booklet and further still, how many will actually absorb any of the material? And how would you know either way? The same goes for a training video. When people are talking at the audience, how much information is actually getting absorbed?
When one is given the opportunity to learn via e-learning, he or she is put in a situation where learning can happen in an interactive and ideally enticing way. Results are often (but not necessarily) measurable by various means of evaluation. Timing is flexible; access is often flexible as well. Some people may choose to use their smart phone as a means of taking the course, while others would prefer to sit at the desk. Technology has opened the door to an almost custom-made, personalized form of learning.
E-learning Saves Money
E-learning has many benefits, but one of the biggest benefits is that it can save a company or organization money. For the success of businesses, it is important to invest in training. Traditionally, training can involve costs such as participant travel, food and hotel expenses, room rental, teaching and learning materials, and, of course, the cost of hiring an instructor. There is also the issue of scheduling to consider.
When companies use e-learning as their means of training, they can eradicate most of these costs and put their money into creating dynamic, well-designed training programs that can be accessed by many more participants than can fit in a typical meeting room used for training. This will stretch a training dollar much further.
Examples of E-learning
A little bit of research on the web will reveal that there are e-learning modules, tutorials, lessons, and classes designed using varying degrees of interactivity. Instead of the learner watching a movie or a video containing all of the information spouted by a professor or expert, the learner has a bit more control over the way the information is presented - and absorbed. As an example of a short and simple e-learning vignette, MSNBC produced a piece called Birth of a Tornado. In this example, simple animations and illustrations complement the information displayed about how tornadoes are created. It is up to the learner to click on the "Next" button before moving forward. This is a common feature in e-learning modules, which, in fact, personalizes lessons for each individual, taking his or her needs and capabilities into consideration.
Another more advanced type of e-learning module is a serious game/simulation type of video, such as this Global Warming Simulation game presented by C02Fx. In this game, the player/learner is in charge of making key environmental decisions for Brazil in 1960, before the world was aware of the negative impact human activities are having on the environment. Elements such as budget, policy, economics, development and science must be considered as you manoeuver through this simulation.
E-learning can be as simplified or as in-depth as you choose. Depending on the subject matter, the learners and the circumstances, each module must be planned with care and with skill in order to ensure the maximum potential for learning.
People everywhere are seeking ways to save a dollar while maximizing their skills and potential in their careers. The possibilities for using e-learning in training are seemingly infinite. Participants engage in productive and appealing training while businesses, organizations and governments save money.

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