Three Essential Modes of eLearning
In recent blogs, we have highlighted some of the current innovations and emerging trends in eLearning delivery channels, from infographics to mixed realities to the rise and rise of the virtual classroom. Online learning imparts knowledge to global audiences in one go through devices such as desktops, laptops, and mobiles. In simple words, e-learning has brought the classroom to the learners’ doorstep. According to a report by Global Industry Analysts Inc., the demand for eLearning to deliver training is growing at 13% every year and will continue at the same pace the next year.
What makes eLearning so popular? Its versatility. Let’s now look at a few forms of e-learning used to facilitate knowledge transfer.
Three modes of eLearning
Whatever the choice or blend of delivery channels, there are three important elements that feature in almost every conversation about learning delivery:
Microlearning still appears on many ‘top 10’ eLearning Trend Lists, but it has actually arrived so to speak: it’s in widespread use by L&D and no longer a method we need to call out as new.
While it’s already been embraced by professional educators, it’s still worth pointing out that microlearning has a distinct place in the organizational learning ecosystem.
Microlearning is good for rapid, discrete, self-contained topics frequently delivered in a just-in-time style, or equally material that needs to be repeated or retaken frequently, for example spaced learning inputs like summaries, checklists, tips, or quizzes. Micro is not, however, ideal for more complex topics, or ‘bigger picture’ coverage that demands a larger time commitment. Macro delivers more elegantly and efficiently to such larger more complete content areas.
Our take on Micro versus Macro
Consider micro and macro as two sides of the learning coin, and two systems that can complement each other, together delivering the best outcomes for learners.
Mobile and Multi Device
Mobile devices account for almost 50% of web page views worldwide as of Feb 2019, and in Asia it’s 60%2, meaning that, for learning providers, mobile and multi-device playability of eLearning content is no longer an option but an essential in any learning delivery.
Mobile learning is a breakthrough in the e-learning world. In this form of learning, the training material is accessed by learners via mobile devices, anywhere anytime with just a few taps. Now, sales reps are able to go through the training material before meeting customers to refresh product knowledge at their pace. Mobile learning also allows employees collaborate, discuss, and learn with their peers and managers across the globe.
In this type of training, both the instructor and learners interact and share knowledge, either offline or online. In simple terms, it is a blend of synchronous and asynchronous learning. Employees can gain knowledge and acquire new skills by interactions and employees who could not make it to the online session can participate in online forums, live chats, instant messaging, and use message boards.
Embedding ourselves in the learner’s journey and being with them wherever they are on that journey means on whatever device they are most comfortable using. Entertainment platforms have also shifted towards mobile, particularly for young smartphone users. Ericsson’s TV and Media 20173 reported that 70% of viewers now watch TV and video on mobile devices, with an estimation that by 2020 half of all viewing will be done on mobile screen.
In the corporate world, as BYOD policies are widely used (currently 59% of organisations allow employees to use their own devices for work purposes), digital learning experiences need to be available as a seamless experience of any device, whether it’s desktop, laptop, tablet or phone, and learners are bound to be more comfortable using their own.
Seamless is the key concept here: customers look for seamless journeys, so that moving from one device to another should make no difference to the quality of the experience, though it may be implemented somewhat differently with each device, and for different modalities.
Watch out too for emerging trends with a new cohort coming to a workplace near you: Generation Z. This latest generation to join the workforce may not be yet easily characterised (a topic we’ll cover in an upcoming piece) but they are of course the generation most ‘raised on digital’ yet, and trends such as their multi-screen habit – using multiple screens at once – will up the ante further for some of the must-haves of digital learning delivery.
The above mentioned are the various eLearning modes. Undeniably, training delivered through any of these forms imprints the essence in the learners’ mind, hence making it productive for organizations.
Right now, mobile and multi-device is very much an expectation, and learning experiences need to be designed to smoothly adapt and flow whatever mix of devices, locations or learning modes the learner choose or weaves between.
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