Hi there, I’m Mike from Administrate, and this the first in a series of new whiteboard sessions that we’re going to be running, all around the world of training and education.
Today’s topic is an introduction to eLearning. eLearning is something that many see as essential in today’s training delivery world, however over 33% of companies have yet to adopt it. And sometimes we find that they just need that little bit of encouragement to take the leap into utilising eLearning.
So this session is going cover a high level ‘how you can get started’, but then we also have a brilliant eBook that you can download for free that will give you a much deeper look at how to add eLearning to your training delivery.
Why Use eLearning?
The first thing we need to consider is why - why is eLearning the something that has been hugely adopted to date?
Time – it can save a lot of time compiling courses, and delivering them via eLearning. It doesn’t require people to be face-to-face with other people, and it also doesn’t require the lecturer or the trainer’s time to be going from venue to venue, or within your training centre.
Resource – is a natural follow-on to time. Any training company knows that you need a lot of resource, and people, like I just mentioned. However, you need classrooms, you need projectors and PCs. eLearning allows you to negate a lot of the need for that because people aren’t necessarily on premise with you while they’re taking in the eLearning content.
Reach – many of you people, your companies will be geographically bound. You may operate across a country, a state, a county, or a city, but eLearning means that people can take on-board and learn your brilliant content from your brilliant company wherever they may be. So it extends that reach, not only for learning but also for your business, which can only be a positive thing.
Flexible – it’s flexible for you as a training provider. You’re not held to certain times and certain days. But of course it’s flexible for the learner, and they are the most important thing here, at the end of the day, aren’t they?
Getting Started with eLearning
So this is why we want to adopt eLearning, but then how do we get started? There’s a bunch of technologies involved in eLearning, and they can be split into three key areas; content authoring, LMS and TMS.
I’ll start with content authoring. This is a tool, and there are many available on the market, that allows you to create your content to be derived via eLearning. That can be as simple as copy, to videos, to imagery, or a combination of all of those. And of course, you want to make sure that everything you’re creating is SCORM compliant. So we need to select our content authoring tool, because without that we can’t build the content and without that, nobody can learn and we have nothing to sell. Obvious right?
The next one is an LMS – a learning management system. This is the piece of kit that people will access your content via, learn from that, and also track their progress throughout. These can be simple, these be complex. There are a number on the market, including one build into Administrate.
And finally is TMS - Training Management System. That’s exactly what Administrate offer. Not only do people have to learn, and that helps your business progress of course, but also there’s a lot of administration tied into the background of running training courses and running your training business. From scheduling, to reporting, to communications with potential and future students. You need to have all of the backend automated, spreadsheets are not the answer! But then, how about the sales operation as well? How are you tracking the courses that are going to be busy, the peaks and flows throughout a year? Having the right TMS in place can really help you understand and grow your business.
The big questions here though is, what really suits your needs as a training provider? It varies from company to company, as every company is different. The way you want to run things, the people you have at your disposal, so make sure you take the time to really assess what’s on the market before you take the leap. Most solutions will offer you at least a free trial, potentially a demo, and that gives you a good opportunity to get to know that software better.
Creating Your Content
Once we’ve decided how we’re going to deliver the content, and manage the business around the eLearning, we need to think about the content itself.
Should it be linear? If we think about a training course delivered via eLearning that can start at one point and end at a designated point. The learner or the student must start in January and they must be finished by the end of January. There’s no flexibility there. That works for some people, but for other people, they’re going to want to have the next solution.
And that is asynchronous. As and when I want to learn, I can learn. I can access the eLearning content, the part of the course that I want to learn, wherever I may be. And that’s something that’s very important actually. It’s how do we necessitate people’s learning by ensuring they can access the content as and when they want to. Mobile devices, at home, so on and so forth.
Another nice tip is to tell people how much time it’s going to take them to get through either a module, a unit or a whole course. You’ll see this on quite a lot of websites now, news articles, so on and so forth. It’ll say at the top, 5 minute read, and that’s really helpful. It helps people to plan their learning.
So you need to think about how do we want our content to be absorbed and delivered by the learner?
Adding the eLearning Twist
Now once you have got your technology in place, you’ve started creating content, you know how that’s all working for you, you need to add that eLearning twist. At Administrate we are big, big advocates of the blended learning approach. There’s a huge need still for ILT, instructor-lead training, however, adding the eLearning twist to that can be hugely beneficial, not just for your business but even for more so for the learner. Deliver some pre-course materials before they come to the venue for the training. Follow up with some further reading for example. And also use a TMS to help them organise where they need to be, when they need to be there, so on and so forth.
So adding the eLearning twist to instructor-lead training and converting it into a blended approach can be massively beneficial.
It’s also great for people playing catch-up. If somebody misses a course, or they’ve had to miss a part of it, deliver the content to them, make it accessible after the date, and they can catch up so for the next class, next tutorial, whatever it may be, they can catch up with you.
And think about the delivery of the eLearning. We spoke over here about the types of it, but please please please no death by PowerPoint! Something that’s fantastic about today’s technology is that we can deliver videos to people, we can deliver animation, whatever it may be, but always remember certain people like to learn via certain means. Video is not going to suit everybody. A lot of people don’t like to read a lot of copy, understandably. So really think about it.
So, that’s your introduction to eLearning at a very high level. We need to work out why we want to do it as a business, what technology is needed, how the content is going to be delivered in terms of the timings of It, and then add that eLearning twist.
Now, like I said at the beginning of the video, there’s a great opportunity for you to download our Introduction to eLearning eBook. You’ll be able to do this in the form that you can see below this video. Thank you very much for watching this Whiteboard Wednesday.
Want to delve into eLearning a little more? Why not download our free An Introduction to eLearning eBook.
We can help guide you through to main things you need to know to get familiar with eLearning, including getting started, creating eLearning content and how to put a twist on eLearning.