Happy Friyay! The UK weather has been more on brand this week, it giveth and taketh. Tonight England take on Scotland, which should be a good game where I expect England to come out on top. If they do they will likely finish top of their group too, meaning they would face one of France, Portugal or Germany! I’ll be following this all from home tonight. For today’s blog I’ll be looking into learning from home in contrast to traditional classroom learning.
E learning can be defined as an aggregation of all kinds of learning, which use the computer for medial support of the learning process. Prior to the pandemic, a range of courses from project management to accountancy, were traditionally taught in classrooms, however this traditional method of teaching came to a halt March 2020 in the UK, and similarly globally, with the pandemic preventing teaching in such close proximity. This disrupted not only the learning but the ability for people to take tests, I witnessed this first hand at my organisation. This has led to an explosive growth in the eLearning industry, and following the end to restrictions it’s popularity is not expected to see a major decline.
Some of the key elements that have been lost this last year with the loss of classroom learning has been the lack of networking available to course attendees and a tailored approach to individual students. I undertook an influencing skills course in person at my last organisation. I really benefited from the face to face element and building rapport with attendees, not just during the course, but also over the short breaks. I really enjoyed that the course and the teaching style employed by the instructor. In contrast shortly after the first lockdown I undertook another course ‘Managing Conflicts & Difficult Situations’ and the experience was rather different. I found it challenging to remain engaged the whole way through, as was the case with other attendees, and whilst it was an informative session, I am positive it’d have benefited from being done in person. One issue traditional instructors now face is that even with being proven and good, this does not automatically make them engaging for eLearning teaching.
That said one of the immediate benefits of that course taking place virtually, was that it required no travel, in turn saving myself time and money on the journey. The money savings aren’t restricted to just myself but organisations too, with them being able to enrol more staff for a lower cost. This is allowing for upskilling at a reduced rate and I was able to make use of this since the impositions of lockdowns, the ILX platform offered me self paced learning, where I could rewind and skip topics which I needed to dedicate more time to or was already well versed on. The content was also engaging and provided instant feedback, mock tests and quizzes were made available where on submission I was able to review the questions and answers with a space to mark them to refer back to. Quizzes made the experience more interesting as it allowed for quick application of the content. For organisations, eLearning delivered in this way offers the benefit of staff having more time available to work, traditionally with a course like Prince2, staff would be away for a week to study and take the exam, but eLearning allows for flexibility for the organisation and employee. I was able to complete my Prince2 in bitesizes over the space of 6 weeks.
Comparatively, that traditional method of staff going away for a week to complete those courses has received mixed opinions, I myself, have not been on a course of a nature in that setting so can only go off of what I’ve heard and read. One view held by both people I’ve spoken to and read is that the nature of learning the contents of the course in a week does not allow for people to retain the information well. What classroom learning can be seen to offer is a higher completion rate for courses. The dropout rates for eLearning courses are high and the completion rate of classroom courses are often 10% - 20% higher. When completing classroom courses staff are more concentrated on the course rather than their work responsibilities as is expected, but for eLearning courses, staff frequently struggle to fully detach from competing work pressures and tend to not fully engage with the course contents.
With the continued growing popularity of eLearning, it is essential that course providers continually identify ways to make there courses interactive and engaging. It allows for a reticent students to have a louder voice in these courses, and it can help tackle the high dropout rate of eLearning courses, as part of the reason for the drop off is the distance from the instructor and fellow students, considerations for supplementing this learning with face to face consulting or 121s can aid this too. With the growth of eLearning comes new providers and courses too, so it will be interesting to follow what additional courses will be rolled out, Linkedin now offer a range of courses as do Google (including project management certifications), offering an alternative pathway to a lucrative career there.