The breakthrough of e-learning in times of pandemic

learning blog post

 

  • Virtual solutions are replacing their physical equivalents in a large number of industries.
  • The education industry is adapting by implementing e-learning programs.
  • From virtual classrooms to virtual reality training, e-learning best practices can help create effective and engaging solutions.

The importance of virtual solutions to replace their physical equivalents has become rapidly and increasingly obvious since the COVID-19 outbreak—whether it be online meetings and conferences, online shopping, or ordering take-out food on restaurant websites (the list goes on and on).

Many companies and organizations have been forced to rethink the way they operate in order to survive in the current economic circumstances. But there are also industries whose products are already adapted to our new normal. Among them is the e-learning industry. Virtual learning and training are not only used by schools, colleges and universities, but also by companies and organizations that wish to train their employees in order to foster their personal and professional development within their enterprises.

UNESCO reports that a staggering 1.38 billion learners have been impacted by national school closures worldwide. Needless to say, it is time to rethink the best practices of global education and training. Not surprisingly, this trend can already be seen in the financial market: according to Business Insider, “The investments made to learning technology companies in 2019 were the highest in the history of the learning technology industry by an extraordinary margin and blasted past the records set between 2015 and 2017 and far outpaced the historic high in 2018.” (https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/2019-global-edtech-investments-reach-a-staggering-18-66-billion-1028800669)

In all of this, the role of e-learning companies and professionals is to ensure that the new virtual training and education solutions are effective and pedagogically sound. Here are a few of our best practices for delivering effective e-learning programs:

  • Engage the learner: use interactive elements (for example in the form of quizzes), apply a storytelling approach and include gamification elements to take your training experience from passive to active.
  • Apply e-learning assets creatively: use a mix of on-screen text and multimedia elements such as videos, animations, narration and podcasts.
  • Optimize solutions for the mobile market: use authoring tools such as Articulate RISE to create courses that can be consulted on the go on any mobile device, including tablets and smartphones.
  • Respect accessibility standards: from a design perspective, ensure that your solution is inclusive, meaning it should follow accessibility guidelines (such as AODA) for learners with disabilities. On a functional level, make sure your e-course is optimized to be accessed in remote locations with limited bandwidth or internet.

When it comes to e-learning as an addition or alternative to traditional classroom learning, the numbers speak for themselves: “For those who do have access to the right technology, there is evidence that learning online can be more effective in a number of ways. Some research shows that on average, students retain 25–60% more material when learning online compared to only 8–10% in a classroom. (…) e-learning requires 40–60% less time to learn than in a traditional classroom setting because students can learn at their own pace, going back and re-reading, skipping, or accelerating through concepts as they choose.” (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/coronavirus-education-global-covid19-online-digital-learning/)

As with every global industry development, it is important to understand the trends and what is in the pipeline. One of the biggest keywords of modern education is “immersive solutions”. The significant developments to follow in e-learning include immersive solutions that put the learners directly in the centre of the experience and allow them to virtually immerse themselves into the learning environment. “In the last four years, investors have aggressively shifted their interest away from legacy products like Self-paced eLearning to next-generation companies developing Cognitive Learning, AI-based Learning, Mixed Reality Learning (AR-based Learning and VR-based Learning), Mobile Learning, Location-based Learning (Location Intelligence), Game-based Learning, and even Educational Bots (both physical and virtual).”(https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/2019-global-edtech-investments-reach-a-staggering-18-66-billion-1028800669)

Whether your audience responds best to a virtual classroom set-up, a course based on a storytelling approach or a virtual reality e-learning environment, the key to creating great e-learning programs is to turn the act of learning into a dynamic and engaging experience.

For ideas and samples of engaging e-learning solutions, visit ellicom at www.ellicom.com or request access to our portfolio by emailing info@ellicom.com

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