The Advantages of eLearning

Technology has revolutionized business; now it must revolutionize learning.

In the 21st century, people have to learn more than ever before. Especially for global organizations, live classroom-based training is becoming too costly and cumbersome. Even if employees had the time to attend all the courses and seminars and to read all the books and reports they should to remain up-to-date in their area of work, the cost of such learning would be prohibitive. The need to transform how organizations learn points to a more modern, efficient, and flexible alternative: eLearning. The mission of corporate eLearning is to supply the workforce with an up-to-date and cost-effective program that yields motivated, skilled, and loyal knowledge workers.

Anywhere, anytime, anyone.

The Internet can offer the logical solution for a company’s education and training objectives. Approximately 80% of the professional workforce already uses computers on the job. Technical obstacles, such as access, standards, infrastructure, and bandwidth, will not be an issue in a few years. The growth of the World Wide Web, high-capacity corporate networks, and high-speed desktop computers will make learning available to people 24 hours a day, seven days a week around the globe. This will enable businesses to distribute training and critical information to multiple locations easily and conveniently. Employees can then access training when it is convenient for them, at home or in the office.

Substantial cost savings due to elimination of travel expenses.

When delivered through technology based solutions, training is less expensive per end user due to scalable distribution and the elimination of high salaries for trainers and consultants. The biggest benefit of eLearning, however, is that it eliminates the expense and inconvenience of getting the instructor and students in the same place. According to Training Magazine, corporations save between 50-70% when replacing instructor-led training with electronic content delivery. Opting for eLearning also means that courses can be pared into shorter sessions and spread out over several days or weeks so that the business would not lose an employee for entire days at a time. Workers can also improve productivity and use their own time more efficiently, as they no longer need to travel or fight rush-hour traffic to get to a class.

Just-in-time access to timely information.

Web-based products allow instructors to update lessons and materials across the entire network instantly. This keeps content fresh and consistent and gives students immediate access to the most current data. Information can be retrieved just before it is required, rather than being learned once in a classroom and subsequently forgotten. Training Magazine reported that technology-based training has proven to have a 50-60% better consistency of learning than traditional classroom learning (c-learning).

Higher retention of content through personalized learning.

Technology-based solutions allow more room for individual differences in learning styles. They also provide a high level of simulation that can be tailored to the learner’s level of proficiency. With 24 x 7 access, people can learn at their own pace and review course material as often as needed. Since they can customize the learning material to their own needs, students have more control over their learning process and can better understand the material, leading to a 60% faster learning curve, compared to instructor-led training. The delivery of content in smaller units, called “chunks,” contributes further to a more lasting learning effect. Whereas the average content retention rate for an instructor-led class is only 58%, the more intensive eLearning experience enhances the retention rate by 25 – 60%.1 Higher retention of the material puts a higher value on every dollar spent on training.

Improved collaboration and interactivity among students.

In times when small instructor-led classes tend to be the exception, electronic learning solutions can offer more collaboration and interaction with experts and peers as well as a higher success rate than the live alternative. Teaching and communication techniques which create an interactive online environment include case studies, story-telling, demonstrations, role-playing, simulations, streamed videos, online references, personalized coaching and mentoring, discussion groups, project teams, chat rooms, e-mail, bulletin boards, tips, tutorials, FAQs, and wizards.

Distance education can be more stimulating and encourage more critical reasoning than a traditional large instructor-led class because it allows the kind of interaction that takes place most fully in small group settings. Studies have shown that students who take online courses are typically drawn into the subject matter of the class more deeply than in a traditional course because of the discussions they get involved in.2 This engagement is further facilitated by the fact that instructors do not monopolize attention in an online environment. Another study found that online students had more peer contact with others in the class, enjoyed it more, spent more time on class work, understood the material better, and performed, on average, 20% better than students who were taught in the traditional classroom.

Online training is less intimidating than instructor-led courses.

Students taking an online course enter a risk-free environment in which they can try new things and make mistakes without exposing themselves. This characteristic is particularly valuable when trying to learn soft skills, such as leadership and decision making. A good learning program shows the consequences of students’ actions and here/why they went wrong. After a failure, students can go back and try again. This type of learning experience eliminates the embarrassment of failure in front of a group.

With all of these advantages of taking classes online, it is hard to imagine why anyone would opt to sit in a lecture to learn new information. There are online classes available free on a multitude of topics, just start surfing, find one to your liking, and start learning!

ENDNOTES

1 Jack E. Bowsher, “Revolutionizing Workforce Performance: A Systems Approach to Mastery,” 1998; D. Peoples, Presentations Plus, 1992; Training Magazine, 1998.

2 Greg Kearsley, A Guide to Online Education, 1997; Dennis A. Trinkle, “Distance Education: a Means to an End, No More, No Less,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 1999; Colin McCormack and David Jones, “Building a Web-based Education System,” 1997.

Advantages And Inconveniences Of Distance Learning – Choosing The Right School

The advantages of distance learning are clear, by becoming a distance learner, the candidate can continue his professional activity, take care of his or her child(en) or pursue multiple diplomas simultaneously. In fact, it is not uncommon for some students go to college and simultaneously work towards another diploma via distance learning.

Finally, the advantage for some is that you will be able to follow the curriculum that interests you without having to move to the other end of the Earth.

Words of caution though; consider the main constraint of this system: you are alone. No professor will be available to give you a written or oral demonstration. Of course, most of the schools proposing distance learning courses supply you with the telephone and email contacts with your professors, but it will never replace the face to face interaction. Often it is difficult to motivate yourself, looking at your homework after a long day at work. Motivation and discipline are therefore essential if you wish to succeed. Another element to take in consideration is of course the price! The private schools are often costly… And once the paid, impossible curriculum to go back!

Why choose distance learning?

Candidates going after a distance learning education may be:

  • Salaried persons
  • Imprisoned persons
  • Employees wishing to evolve
  • Job seekers
  • Handicapped persons
  • Persons living abroad

The main reasons to justify distance learning are to obtain additional skills, get a professional specialization or finish a diploma. Employees are more and more interested in distance learning that allows them to advance professionally, thanks to their newly learned skills. Students, employed or not, isolated or on a budget, who are unable to follow a standard curriculum, use the distance learning.

Qualities required

Seriousness, self-discipline and motivation are essentials! No one will be behind you to push you if you are not consistent or if you fail to follow through on your work. You must learn to manage everything alone. Choosing distance learning is to subscribe to a moral and financial agreement… In any case, distance learning can be a solution for those that are not able or do not wish to follow classical teaching.

What solutions are available?

Distance learning programs have huge variations. Public and charter schools are free but aren’t available everywhere. Programs are occasionally unreliable and accessible only to students living in certain cities. Some private programs offer better quality at a high price tag.

The public distance learning programs

Most states offer distance learning programs. They are often free or inexpensive. Nearly all public distance learning programs meet state and national school requirements and are regionally accredited. Charter schools are also free but you must investigate their track record and getting in may not be easy.

The private distance learning programs

A large number of private and public distance learning schools are available. You should trust word of mouth and look into their reputation. Take the time to be fully informed. If possible make an appointment, contact the educational director and the former students if possible. Private schools are more expensive but good ones can deliver excellent results.

How to choose the right school?

Because educational support is essential, regardless of curriculum, make sure you get the most information on the teachers with whom you will be in contact. How easy is it to contact them? By which means should you contact them?

At last, concerning the cost of your curriculum, review the options proposed by the chosen school. Are manuals part of the price? Multimedia courses that are often pricier: Are they worth really the cost?

Is your Internet connection fast enough to follow the online video courses? If you choose a class using mail, think about your postage stamp budget!

The content and the organization can vary from one university to another. Normally, it is not necessary to live nearby a school to be able to register. Nevertheless you may have to attend specific locations for some exams.

Thanks to distance learning, you can educate yourself, when you want and from where you want. Taken on seriously, this can be a great way to obtain the training and diplomas that will step up your professional future.

What Are the Advantages of Distance Learning?

Nowadays, the demand for distance learning is at an all-time high, and many universities, colleges, government agencies, and organizations are offering online courses and programs. Distance learning has opened doors and opportunities for many people who may not have the time or resources to attend conventional scheduled classes. As the Internet becomes an integral part of people’s lives, it’s logical that they desire an alternative such as distance learning. Still, the question has to be addressed. What are the advantages of distance learning? Let’s take a look.

Flexibility

Perhaps, the greatest advantage of distance learning is flexibility. Even if you are enrolled in a school or college where you are a full-time student, you can still take a course via distance learning. Assuming that you want to take a course which is not available in your school, you can easily find a school that offers that course and take the course via the Internet. As long as you have a computer and Internet connection, you can study for the course or courses anywhere in the world. In this sense, people from all over the world can enroll at any school which offers the programs or courses of their choice, without having to leave their countries. Also, most distance learning modules allow students to set their own schedules so they have complete control about how much time they want to spend on a particular subject and so on. More importantly, they can study at their most optimal times, thereby increasing efficiency and effectiveness. Distance learning is especially suitable for working parents who want to continue their education or upgrade their skills because they really don’t have the time to attend scheduled classes.

Numerous Schools

If you have ever tried to search for a school that offers distance learning for the courses or programs that you are interested in, you will be amazed at the number of available choices. In fact, there are so many schools that you may be quite confused about which school to select. Well, it’s always better to have more choices than just a few, right? With the Internet, you can find out about the best schools for a particular program, and you can perform research to find out which school is most suitable for your purpose. Ever thought of learning Japanese at some famous Japanese school? You can do that with distance learning.

Lower Costs

Since you are not required to be physically present in the school of your choice, you will save some money on transportation. Presently, the price of gas is getting higher and it has an impact on transportation costs, making it more costly to travel. For international students, it translates to quite a lot of savings because they don’t have to purchase air tickets or worry about rent, and other living expenses. Without having to travel to the school, distance learners also save a lot of time, over the long run. Typically, schools charge a lower fee for online courses in comparison to the on-campus course due to lower overheads.