Thursday, May 10, 2012

Calling All E-Learning Champions

Video, for many years and even in this day and age was and is considered, somehow, to be the preferred means for transferring information or teaching.  Video is a static presentation offering little opportunity for the leaner to interact but it does do some things well in that it is able to illustrate things very succinctly and that is why it remains so successful.

MacDonald’s has made an empire based on consistently delivering the same product and customer service to its customers while consistently trainings their employees using video. This is an example of a training video from 1972 … seems antiquated but you might be surprised to learn that many organizations continue to use some form of video to inform customers and train staff.  

As training has progressed over the years, interactivity has been added through such programs as PowerPoint, and in-classroom instructors which offer greater learner engagement and comprehension but at a significant cost in terms of labour and time.  While the comprehension levels have increased with more hands-on  or in-classroom training  the real cost of learning has continued to escalate in recent years since learning incorporates new and different kinds of media, increasing labour costs and more in classroom technology.

. E-Learning has been around for some time, and the technology has matured and become cost effective  when compared to traditional in-classroom training  but most organizations remain entrenched in the use of legacy learning practices  and tend to defer to the IT gatekeepers to help rationalize the initiative rather than champion  its merits. Surprisingly, most organizations, who have significant learning needs such as in health care, continue to use in-classroom training, along with their video and/or PowerPoint presentation and some handouts even though they know that this method is not cost effective nor does it result in enhanced comprehension.

Recent studies have shown that E-Learning is 40 % more cost effective than in-classroom training.  This was proven by researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of Washington who confirmed that a 30 minute multimedia CPR training program was more effective at training adults between 40 and 70 years of age than the traditional 4-hour instructor led classroom training.

My own experience has taught me that one hour of E-Learning is equivalent to about 4 hours of in-classroom training.  This is a result of removing the social interaction that typically occurs in a classroom that does not contribute directly to the learning process, disruption caused by people entering or leaving the classroom, instructor’s lack of focus or preparedness and lack of consistency in the lesson plan and testing process.

By enlarge most company and organizational leaders will agree with the concept that E-learning is more cost effective and more efficient as a learning strategy …yet there seems to be little appetite by professionals organizations and businesses to employ E-Learning. True self-paced learning (E-learning) learning has been slow to be adopted despite its many advantages. This has largely been due to the demand for significant initial investment required and the ongoing need to administer and manage learning.  This boils down to the  investment in time and effort by administrators in setting up policies, procedures and long term benchmarking practices that will guide the evolution of E-Learning and maintaining records and updating content within an organization.  

Today’s E-Learning utilizes the best of video, so-called speaker support, audio narration, interactive forums, chart functions, questions & quizzes and simulations to present concepts and test your comprehension.  Video has become a tool set within the E-learning environment as have the PowerPoint presentation and other forms of media information presentation. E-learning has become fairly easy to implement and there are plenty of flavours to help organizations manage and administer E-Learning through Learning Management Systems where there isn’t a significant investment required in hardware or software and organizations can evolve into E-Learning strategy that works for them at an affordable price.

Want to learn more ..stay tuned or give me a call.

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