There is currently a not-so-quiet revolution in teaching and learning sweeping the planet. Called eLearning, it challenges the premise that teaching and learning happen only in classrooms and conference rooms designed for that purpose. eLearning has become a $52 billion industry and is predicted to reach $107 billion by 2015.
There are many definitions of eLearning and several spellings of the term itself. For our purposes, we’ll use this definition until it evolves again: “The delivery of a learning, training or education program by electronic means. elearning involves the use of a computer or electronic device (e.g. a mobile phone) in some way to provide training, educational or learning material.” (Derek Stockley)
Companies are applying eLearning principles to new staff training, to enhance the adoption of new technology. Let’s first look at what some of the futurists are saying about teaching and learning in the 21 century:
“The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.” – Peter Senge, author of The Fifth Discipline
“We need to bring learning to people instead of people to learning.” Elliott Masie, Futurist, Analyst, Researcher
After reading a great deal of current research, I can safely say that:
- eLearning is, and should be, a major component of most corporate and school training programs
- eLearning in and of itself is not automatically successful. If instruction is bad, it doesn’t get any better with technology. It just impacts more people.
Companies have started to incorporate eLearning principles into their processes. Interactive eLearning lessons have been created and successfully implemented for school teachers and administrators. These short simulations take a user through activities such as taking attendance or adding grades. Unlike a demonstration, these eLessons require mouse and keyboard entry with feedback throughout the lessons. Some apply short quizzes for the user once the lesson is completed. Not only does the user know whether he/she has mastered the material, but reports can be generated to allow an administrator to see who has taken what lessons and how they performed. These eLessons are available 24 hours a day. This means that a teacher who trained in August on how to post grades at the end of a marking period, but doesn’t need to do it until October, can run through the eLearning lesson when the end of the marking period arrives. This is On-Demand learning at its best.
Schools have provided the following feedback on eLearning initiatives:
- At the beginning of the year, going to every campus in the district to train teachers results in the highest adoption rates.
- Making eLearning videos mandatory for new or returning teachers provides consistency in processes.
- Tracking Reports are valuable to keep track of teacher progress through the eLearning lessons.
- Announcements reminding teachers to complete eLearning lessons are appreciated.
- eLearning results in dramatically fewer support calls to school support staff.
- Teachers are using more functions in their software.
- The use of the eLearning videos can often become the sole method of training new teachers.
- Districts found that the eLearning lessons combined with documentation made additional training unnecessary.
- eLearning helps the start of the school year run smoother.
As stated earlier, there is currently a not-so-quiet revolution in teaching and learning sweeping the planet. And it is a revolution you should be considering.