Types of eLearning and how it can benefit your organisation
The changing landscape of the business world has seen technology take over a lot of the things we used to do manually. This has even occurred in the learning and development space, with eLearning becoming an extremely widely used tool to keep employees skilled, happy and engaged.
What is e-Learning?
The term ‘eLearning’ is often thrown around these days, and you may be wondering ‘what is eLearning?’ eLearning is a broad term that can be used to describe all types of online training courses. We’re now seeing eLearning used by schools, universities, training providers and businesses all over the world. Whether you’re studying for a degree or you want some useful online training content to improve staff capability, the options are almost endless.
Many organisations are beginning to favour eLearning over traditional training methods because it’s cost-effective, flexible and accessible for remote workers, with many other benefits. If you’re looking to improve or enhance your learning and development programs, eLearning is a smart way to go about it.
The benefits of e-Learning
Many businesses use all types of eLearning to great effect for all manner of topics. From custom-designed training materials for specific internal learning to external professional development, there are so many ways eLearning can be used in business. Organisations are always looking for ways to achieve quality training outcomes, and that’s not always possible or practical with traditional classroom-based training.
Electronic learning gives companies an opportunity to change how they approach staff training and upskilling. It’s more flexible, cost-effective and many people prefer it over traditional training methods. Here are just some of the reasons organisations are now using eLearning processes for their training needs.
- Cost-effective: Traditional classroom-based training often has large overheads attached, but eLearning is much simpler. Staff don’t need to travel, and they can even learn from their desks. By partnering with an eLearning training organisation, you can access hundreds of online courses for a fraction of the cost of other training methods.
- Flexible: Many forms of eLearning don’t need to be scheduled. Staff members can access modules, videos and training programs at a time that’s convenient for them. However, you can also schedule them if you need to, for example, a facilitated virtual classroom.
- Less time away from the desk: Employees can often become stressed if they have to attend half-day or full-day training because of the workload that piles up. It also drives productivity down for businesses if their staff aren’t available. eLearning can be done at the desk, and people can get straight back to work when it’s finished.
- A huge range of courses: Variety is another huge reason to embrace eLearning. Most classroom-based training topics can be covered through online learning, but there are also plenty of other options. For example, companies can create internal training programs unique to their business, which is more effective than hiring an external training provider to facilitate this type of training in person.
- Self-paced: A large number of organisations love the fact that some eLearning varieties are self-paced. In a busy world, it’s not always possible to block out a whole day for a training session. But eLearning allows staff to complete modules when they can, and at their own pace. This asynchronous learning is great for people who like to take their time with training and find they don’t retain as much information in a fast-paced classroom environment.
- Interactive: eLearning has evolved in recent years with better technology, meaning it’s now a very interactive experience. eLearning hasn’t always been so user-friendly, but now it has the potential to include a whole range of different ways to engage for an interactive eLearning experience. Interactive online learning makes it more likely the users will retain the information and recall what they’ve learned.
- Great for remote workers: We can’t forget that the business landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. More people are working from home or in remote locations. eLearning allows staff members to stay up to date with training no matter where they are, from their mobile devices or home office. For some organisations, synchronous eLearning is preferable, whereby the group of online learners will be engaging in the online training at the same time. This can give the same cohesive team atmosphere as a traditional classroom setting, but with the added bonus of supporting remote workers.
- Versatile: Everyone learns in a different way. Interactive online learning is so versatile, it can be shaped to suit the needs of the students. While some may learn best through interactive videos, others may prefer discussion forums or a blended learning process. In addition, the needs of each industry are different. The versatility of online training content ensures you can find or create the right learning materials that suits not only your industry and the information you need to share, but also the students perusing your online course content. No matter what the learning objectives of your organisation, eLearning course content can be adapted to suit.
When you look at all of these benefits, it’s little wonder that more and more organisations are turning to eLearning. It should be mentioned that you don’t need to completely stop using in-person training methods, because these can also be effective. But utilising virtual training ensures that everybody’s learning needs are being met. Blended learning – using a mix of both eLearning and traditional in-person training – can be very handy for organisations.
Different types of e-Learning
Because the term ‘eLearning’ is so broad, as well as understanding what eLearning is, it’s important to understand there are many different types available. Everybody learns differently, so it’s great that you can provide a range of training options that appeal to everybody. Of course, you’ll never make everybody happy, but implementing eLearning in your workplace is a great way to address most people’s learning needs.
Here are some of the common types of e-Learning you might consider for your organisation.
Perhaps the most common, and certainly the first type of e-Learning is web-based. Through a learning management system, employees can access self-paced learning modules and work through them at their own pace. Back in the day, while innovative, these programs weren’t particularly user-friendly or engaging.
Fast forward to today, and web-based eLearning programs have evolved significantly. They now incorporate plenty of interactive elements and provide a much better experience for the online learner. It’s also worth mentioning that there are almost no limits to the topics that can be covered through web-based eLearning.
Basic programs will feature slides full of information that people can work through. More sophisticated programs now include quizzes, content types including video tutorials, images and all types of interactive multimedia.
The virtual classroom has seen a huge rise in popularity, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic. They’ve been around longer than that, of course, but the necessity for this type of training was amplified when people simply weren’t allowed to gather together in a traditional classroom for training.
Virtual classrooms, as the name suggests, bring the classroom to your computer. Using online training software, students or online learners can log in at a designated time and participate in facilitated training from all different locations. This type of synchronous eLearning is remaining popular even as people are returning to the office after restrictions have eased.
All software platforms and training providers operate slightly differently, but virtual training for employees will often consist of a facilitator delivering content in real time, breakouts into groups for activities, videos, polls, quizzes, chat functions and open discussion on topics. Basically, it’s just like a big digital classroom.
Another popular type of eLearning is video-based training. It’s probably self-explanatory, but video training is a pre-recorded video designed to teach users specific new skills. In extremely simplified terms, it’s not all that different to jumping onto YouTube when you need a video tutorial on how to do something.
Many training companies offer pre-recorded video content, while organisations can also develop their own videos for internal training. Adaptive eLearning methods such as video tutorials are growing in popularity because of the freedom they offer to both organisations and users.
Video training supports the implementation of a self-paced course. It can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, and it’s also often shorter than other forms of training. Rather than developing hours-long videos, the idea is to provide shorter video tutorials that staff can access whenever they need to. Naturally, the flexibility of video eLearning content is appealing to many organisations.
Custom eLearning can really include any of the above types of training. The difference is that it’s specifically developed by organisations for in-house use. With the right guidance, you could create an entire onboarding training package using eLearning, which is exactly what many companies do.
So many companies are hiring remote workers now that online or virtual training is the only way they can provide the necessary training to new staff members. So, if you have an experienced training specialist in your organisation, you may be able to create your own courses. Alternatively, you can work with a training provider who can develop various types of eLearning packages tailored to your needs.
Take that next step for your employees
As you can see, there’s plenty of variety in the world of eLearning, and a huge number of benefits. Whether you seek out pre-designed eLearning modules or you choose to develop custom programs, the scope is enormous. For effective, engaging and cost-effective training programs, eLearning is the perfect modern solution.