E-LEARNING CONCEPTS, TRENDS, APPLICATIONS

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JadenNorton,United States,Researcher
Published Date:14-07-2017
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E-LEARNING C O N C E P T S , T R E N D S, A P P L I C A T I O N S About © Epignosis LLC. All rights reserved. Epignosis LLC 315 Montgomery Street, 8th and 9th Floors San Francisco, California, CA 94104 United States of America (+1) (646) 797-2799 Visit us at: www.efrontlearning.net www.talentlms.com You may download, display, print and/or reproduce this material in unaltered form only for personal, non- commercial use, or use within your organization. All other rights reserved. This is a FREE digital ebook. V 1.1 – January 2014 1 Contents Introduction ................................................................... 4 What is e-learning? ......................................................... 5 The history of e-learning ................................................ 8 The benefits and drawbacks of online learning ............. 11 Can we learn online? .................................................... 16 Best practices of online training ................................... 19 Learning vs. Training ................................................... 22 E-learning in education vs. corporate sector ................ 24 The future of e-learning ................................................ 29 What is a LMS? ............................................................. 34 Types of learning management systems ....................... 39 What is a content authoring tool? ................................ 42 Synchronous e-learning vs. asynchronous e-learning .. 43 What is SCORM & TinCan? .......................................... 46 Technologies used in e-learning ................................... 49 Elements of Online Courses ......................................... 53 Why are tests and quizzes a vital part of e-learning? ... 56 How to make e-learning effective ................................. 61 2 Tools to create an online course ................................... 65 Blended learning .......................................................... 69 Social and collaborative learning.................................. 71 Gamification ................................................................. 73 Micro-learning .............................................................. 75 Video learning .............................................................. 78 Rapid e-learning ........................................................... 79 Personalization and e-learning ..................................... 82 Continuous learning ..................................................... 84 Customer service training ............................................. 89 Sales training ................................................................ 93 Customer training ......................................................... 96 Safety training .............................................................. 98 IT training ................................................................... 101 Product training ......................................................... 104 Healthcare training..................................................... 107 3 Introduction While the term “e-learning” has been thrown around quite a lot in recent years, many are still unaware of what it actually means and how it can help them achieve success in both their professional and personal lives. This short e-book aims to provide an introductory level overview of the e-learning field for those people. This e-book is divided into five main topics. The first topic sets the case for e-learning by dealing with subjects such as its history, its advantages and any drawbacks, and whether it can actually lead to learning. The second topic describes important types of learning tools that are available today. The third topic deals with the characteristics of online courses and how one can create successful learning communities. The fourth topic is about emerging learning trends. Here we explain themes such as micro-learning and gamification. And the final topic describes the application of e-learning in different industries. 4 What is e-learning? When it comes to education, the model has been pretty straight forward - up until the early ‘00s education was in a classroom of students with a teacher who led the process. Physical presence was a no-brainer, and any other type of learning was questionable at best. Then the computer evolution happened and it radically changed the learning landscape. In essence, e-learning is a computer based educational tool or system that enables you to learn anywhere and at any time. Today e-learning is mostly delivered though the internet, although in the past it was delivered using a blend of computer-based methods like CD-ROM. Technology has advanced so much that the geographical gap is bridged with the use of tools that make you feel as 5 if you are inside the classroom. E-learning offers the ability to share material in all kinds of formats such as videos, slideshows, word documents and PDFs. Conducting webinars (live online classes) and communicating with professors via chat and message forums is also an option available to users. There is a plethora of different e-learning systems (otherwise known as Learning Management Systems, or LMSs for short) and methods, which allow for courses to be delivered. With the right tool various processes can be automated such as the marking of tests or the creation of engaging content. E-learning provides the learners with the ability to fit learning around their lifestyles, effectively allowing even the busiest person to further a career and gain new qualifications. Some of the most important developments in education have happened since the launch of the internet. These days learners are well versed in the use of smartphones, text messaging and using the internet so participating in and running an online course has become a simple affair. Message boards, social media and various other means of online communication allow learners to keep 6 in touch and discuss course related matters, whilst providing for a sense of community. In the fast-paced world of e-learning the available technologies to make a course exciting are always changing, and course content can and should be updated quickly to give students the very latest information. This is especially important if the e- learning training is being given to employees in a sector where keeping up-to-date on industry developments is of the utmost importance. This is one of the reasons why many businesses are now offering training via e- learning - other reasons includes low costs and the ability for employees to study in their own time and place. Overall, traditional learning is expensive, takes a long time and the results can vary. E-learning offers an alternative that is faster, cheaper and potentially better. 7 The history of e-learning The term “e-learning” has only been in existence since 1999, when the word was first utilized at a CBT systems seminar. Other words also began to spring up in search of an accurate description such as “online learning” and “virtual learning”. However, the principles behind e- learning have been well documented throughout history, and there is even evidence which suggests that th early forms of e-learning existed as far back as the 19 century. An e-learning timeline Long before the internet was launched, distance courses were being offered to provide students with education on particular subjects or skills. In the 1840′s Isaac Pitman taught his pupils shorthand via correspondence. 8 This form of symbolic writing was designed to improve writing speed and was popular amongst secretaries, journalists, and other individuals who did a great deal of note taking or writing. Pitman, who was a qualified teacher, was sent completed assignments by mail and he would then send his students more work to be finished using the same system. In 1924, the first testing machine was invented. This device allowed students to tests themselves. Then, in 1954, BF Skinner, a Harvard Professor, invented the “teaching machine”, which enabled schools to administer programmed instruction to their students. It wasn’t until 1960 however that the first computer based training program was introduced to the world. This computer based training program (or CBT program) was known as PLATO-Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations. It was originally designed for students attending the University of Illinois, but ended up being used in schools throughout the area. The first e-learning systems were really only set up to deliver information to students but as we entered the 70s e-learning started to become more interactive. In 9 Britain the Open University was keen to take advantage of e-learning. Their system of education has always been primarily focused on learning at a distance. In the past, course materials were delivered by post and correspondence with tutors was via mail. With the internet the Open University began to offer a wider range of interactive educational experiences as well as faster correspondence with students via email etc. Online learning today With the introduction of the computer and internet in the late 20th century, e-learning tools and delivery methods expanded. The first MAC in the 1980′s enabled individuals to have computers in their homes, making it easier for them to learn about particular subjects and develop certain skill sets. Then, in the following decade, virtual learning environments began to truly thrive, with people gaining access to a wealth of online information and e-learning opportunities. By the early 90s several schools had been set up that delivered courses online only, making the most of the internet and bringing education to people who wouldn't previously have been able to attend a college due to geographical or time constraints. Technological 10 advancements also helped educational establishments reduce the costs of distance learning, a saving that would also be passed on to the students - helping bring education to a wider audience. In the 2000′s, businesses began using e-learning to train their employees. New and experienced workers alike now had the opportunity to improve upon their industry knowledge base and expand their skill sets. At home individuals were granted access to programs that offered them the ability to earn online degrees and enrich their lives through expanded knowledge. The benefits and drawbacks of online learning Whether you're a high-school teacher looking to engage your students in a more interactive way, or a corporate trainer hired by a large company to design training 11 curricula, e-learning packs a punch when it comes to benefits that make the creation and delivery processes easier and hassle-free. Important benefits are outlined below: No Boundaries, No Restrictions Along with locational restrictions, time is one of the issues that learners and teachers both have to face in learning. In the case of face-to-face learning, the location limits attendance to a group of learners who have the ability to participate in the area, and in the case of time, it limits the crowd to those who can attend at a specific time. E-learning, on the other hand, facilitates learning without having to organize when and where everyone who is interested in a course can be present. More Fun Designing a course in a way that makes it interactive and fun through the use of multimedia or the more recently developed methods of gamification (further discussed in later chapters) enhances not only your engagement factor, but also the relative lifetime of the course material in question. Cost Effective 12 This is directed to both learners and teachers, but there is a good chance that whatever your role you had to pay exorbitant amounts of money at some point to acquire updated versions of textbooks for school or college. While textbooks often become obsolete after a certain period of time, the need to constantly acquire new editions is not present in e-learning. It Just Fits As companies and organizations adopt technologies to improve the efficiency of day-to-day operations, the use of the internet becomes a necessity. As multinational corporations expand across the globe, the chances of working with people from other countries increases, and training all those parties together is an issue that e- learning successfully addresses. Let's blend all of that together and apply it in a real-life scenario: In an effort to enhance the credibility of course material, oftentimes a professor will summon a field specialist to give a lecture relevant to the topic at hand. In the traditional model of education, the professor would have to extend an invitation to said expert, and incur the costs of his flight, stay and training. 13 With e-learning: With e-learning the professor has the ability to host a guest lecture without having to spend much money. It can be done virtually, with cameras for both the lecturer and the students, and with the use of microphones to facilitate the same level of interaction that would be possible if the lecturer were physically present in the room. The added benefit comes in when we are able to replay the lecture and gain even more out of it. Students that missed out can view the recording, or students that attended can watch it again to further their understanding. Concerns that arise with e-learning Even given all the benefits of e-learning, one cannot deny there are some drawbacks. Practical skills are somewhat harder to pick up from online resources. For example, although building a wooden table is something you can easily share information about, record videos of and explain, the practical experience is essential. Pottery and car engineering are examples of skills that require hands-on experience. Isolation 14 Though e-learning offers ease, flexibility and the ability to remotely access a classroom in the student’s own time, learners may feel a sense of isolation. This is because learning online is a solo act for the most part, which may give the learner the feeling that they are acting completely alone. As technology progresses and e-learning benefits from the advancements being made, learners can now engage more actively with professors or other students using tools such as video conferencing, social media, and discussion forums amongst others. Health Related Concerns E-learning requires the use of a computer and other such devices; this means that eyestrain, bad posture and other physical problems may affect the learner. When running an online course it’s a good practice to send out guidelines about correct sitting posture, desk height, and recommendations for regular breaks. 15 Can we learn online? One of the most longstanding debates in the field of education has been whether or not we can benefit from e-learning to actually learn. Do we, as human beings, have the ability to soak up information in this fashion, and can we truly learn new skills and expand our knowledge by learning virtually? We realize the reservations of people who will argue that computers promote procrastination and offer distractions, however we owe it to ourselves to dig a little deeper and see the other side of the coin that pinpoints the unique advantages of learning online. It's true that as individuals we don't all respond to one teaching method in the same way - some learn visually, and others learn with repetition or writing; some prefer 16 to learn by themselves, whilst others need someone to guide them all along the way; some are extroverts and feel comfortable talking in front of people, whilst others are introverts and are afraid to communicate openly inside the classroom. E-learning responds to those different needs with the use of different tools and a variety of materials. For example, e-learning commonly offers audiovisual content or interactive testing on the go that can be more attractive for younger learners than traditional books. E-learning also lets people communicate through email, forum or chat, allowing even introverts to take part in related conversations. E-Learning, in comparison with traditional learning, significantly reduces the time needed to locate information. It also offers access to online resources, databases, periodicals, journals and other material you wouldn't normally have access to from a library. If a student has trouble understanding part of the coursework, finding tips on the matter couldn't be easier than having immediate access to supplementary, unlimited and mostly free material online Those characteristics can potentially maximize the time spent actually learning rather than looking for information 17 (note however that seeking information can be a learning process in and of itself – the word serendipity describes exactly that, the accident of finding something good or useful even when not specifically searching for it). Learning online in practice Universities already embrace the power of e-learning to deliver content to students all over the world, even for free. At a time in which universities are under great pressure to deliver education, combining technology with education is integral to coming up with a final product that will empower the educational institution, set it apart, and allow it to grow its student base worldwide. Harvard and MIT are just two of the most well-known universities that have launched programs focused on offering classes online for free. Harvard videotapes its lectures and puts them online, so even its own student body can view and review them in case they missed a lecture or need to review a section. Coursera is a hub for universities that choose to offer online classes through its platform for free. Already, companies and corporations spanning the globe accept certificates of completion of classes offered in Coursera 18 as valid credits, as if they had been completed at the university of origin. The material is essentially the same, the difference is the medium. Harvard for example, takes the delivery of online courses very seriously, delivering live classes which are recorded and delivered online. Harvard has even launched a specially designed section within its campus, employing videographers and specialists to design and create the perfect content to be delivered through its online platform. Best practices of online training Online learning can offer a wide range of benefits. However, the knowledge that a student is able to acquire this way depends not only on the course material that is 19

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