e-Learning is nothing but the use of technology to connect teachers and students who are physically miles apart. The training can be delivered by a number of means. In the past, these have included the use of mainframe computers, floppy diskettes, multimedia CD-ROMs, and interactive videodisks. Most recently, Web technology (both Internet and Intranet delivery) are being used.
Future trends are looking at training delivered on PDA’s and cell phones. This new, form of education is called, mLearning or mobile learning.
It is especially useful for organizations that operate from multiple offices and require a training solution that connects people at all locations, at any time and provides a standardized set of instructions and e-Learning to foster ‘enterprise transformation’ and enhance ROI. This could mean helping executives in gaining new competencies, launching new products or services or enhancing skill sets. The additional revenue generated or the return on investment (ROI) is used as the metric to measure the success of e-Learning in such organizations.
There are fundamentally two types of e-Learning:
1. Synchronous, means “at the same time,” involves interaction of participants with an instructor via the Web in real time. For example – VCRs or Virtual class rooms that are nothing else but real classrooms online. Participants interact with each other and instructors through instant messaging, chat, audio and video conferencing etc and what’s more all the sessions can be recorded and played back. Its benefits are:
2. Asynchronous, which means “not at the same time,” allows the participants to complete the WBT (Web-based training) at their own pace, without live interaction with the instructor. Basically, it is information that is accessible on a self-help basis, 24/7. The advantage is that this kind of e-Learning offers the learners the information they need whenever they need it. It also has interaction amongst participants through message boards, bulletin boards and discussion forums. These include computer based training,(CBTs) modules on CD-Rom’s, Web based training accessed through intranet (WBTs) or through well written articles and other write ups. Its advantages are:-
A new form of learning known as blended learning is emerging. As the name suggests it is an amalgamation of synchronous and asynchronous learning methods. Using both online training through virtual classrooms and also giving CD’s and study material for self study is now being increasingly preferred over any single type of training.
Asynchronous methods are used in different situations, mainly when:
The clear advantage of a self-paced course is convenience. Participants can get the training they need at any time allowing for a greater degree of flexibility.
This type of e-Learning is essentially required in some cases where traditional methods will not deliver the desired goals, like:-
Blended learning is seen by many as a process in which appropriate e-Learning modules are a precursor to a training session in the classroom i.e both the methods are successfully used in training.
More and more organisations are using the blended technique for a complete training solution. Contact us to discuss your e-Learning requirements, and to find out what mode of e-Learning suits you the best.
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