All too often administrators and managers see new technologies as add-on elements to their existing continuum of learning. Not so with E-Learning …rather than layer on E-Learning to existing learning processes such as classroom training, lectures, print materials, workshops, video, internet etc. We really have to begin thinking about replacing existing learning with E-Learning as the cornerstone of an integrated learning process.
As the increasing demands of maintaining up to date knowledge overwhelm us in an avalanche of information we need to adopt strategies that allow us to cope with it. Many theories suggest that the total human knowledge doubles every five years and every two years in health and medicine.
Developing a unique strategy for implementing learning that utilizes new technologies, addresses changing social norms and considers human interaction and communications as it relates to learning will help organizations be more effective and deliver a better return on investment for each learning dollar spent. This can be a significant undertaking but testing the implementation of unique learning environments and validating that test allows us to understand how to develop new learning standards and implement administrative protocols that are applied across an organization. Layering on E-Learning onto existing learning process simply drives up the cost and does not hold the learner responsible for comprehension.
There is a cost and the only way that this cost can be rationalized is by reducing budgets and expenses on traditional learning processes that are not as effective. We first have to look at existing learning processes and ensure we understand the costs involved with having instructor led programs, the cost of having a group of people sitting in a room, the cost of preparing tools and learning assets, the travel expense, the cost of qualified instructors, the follow up costs and the administration of these traditional learning initiatives. Overhauling an entire system may seem daunting but if we select a unique project based on priorities we can test the scenario and mange the parameters to ensure a firm understanding of the learning’s effectiveness in terms of comprehension and cost. Such tests can include both a-synchronous learning and/or blended learning but parameters and protocols have to be defined in advance to ensure we can benefit from what we learn in such E-
One of the most important protocols in implementing such a test is that existing traditional methods of learning such as classroom, instructor led or simple printed information presentations must be removed as an option in the learning process. Once we have taken the time to design and implement a learning process that responds to our needs, we have to ensure that learners cannot not fall back into familiar patterns of learning. The new strategy must be championed to ensure the new learning standards are implemented effectively and that and the initiative can be measured for effectiveness of comprehension, ease of administration and return on investment.