An Introduction to E-Learning

An Introduction to E-LearningDo you have an app on your phone that teaches you how to speak another language? Have you ever watched your children do part of their homework that involves them completing exercises on an app or website? These are all examples of e-learning, but how is it applied to business and can your business benefit?

What is E-Learning?

E-learning is a catch-all term that describes any training or educational activity that is delivered to learners through an electronic device. Typically, this is through a website or app that the learner accesses with a computer, tablet, or phone.

There are two methods of delivering e-learning:

  1. Synchronous e-learning – this is where there is a trainer or facilitator online at the same time as the learners. Learners can, therefore, interact with the other learners and the trainer through chat, audio conferencing, and/or video conferencing. This is similar to classroom-based learning, although individuals are not in the same physical location.
  2. Asynchronous e-learning – this is where there is no trainer or facilitator involved with the learner. Instead, the learner progresses through the course or material independently. There may be features that enable interactivity, such as asking a question or communicating with other learners, but they are not in real-time.

The Benefits of E-Learning

E-learning can be a significant cultural change in organisations that deliver training in traditional ways. For many businesses, however, there are significant benefits to introducing e-learning or increasing its use. Those benefits can be split into two main categories:

  1. Improved learning outcomes
  2. Lowers costs

In next week’s blog, we’ll look in more detail at the benefits that e-learning courses can bring compared to standard classroom-based learning.

What about your business, though? Will e-learning be advantageous to your business and how can you implement an e-learning strategy?

Can Your Business Benefit?

E-learning can be used in a range of different business training scenarios:

  • When new staff members join as part of the induction process. E-learning ensures each gets the same level of training and has information they can refer to on an on-going basis.
  • For annual and compliance training. E-learning makes this type of training more engaging for the learner and less of a hassle, not least because the learner doesn’t have to take as much time away from their normal duties and responsibilities.
  • Performance training where your staff can learn a new skill or way of doing things that will benefit your business.
  • Product training, particularly when you introduce a new product.

In fact, because of the flexibility of e-learning, you can use it for almost any type of training scenario.

It can benefit all businesses in all situations, but those that have large teams or geographically diverse teams will benefit most. In other words, if you need to run multiple sessions when you need to do training and/or you have to conduct those training sessions in multiple locations. If this applies to you, e-learning is something you should look into.

There are two main ways you can create an e-learning course:

  1. Through a platform called a Learning Management System (LMS) where you create the course yourself. This is the lowest cost option, but you will need time to create the course as well as the right skills.
  2. Outsource the development to an e-learning provider. This is the most expensive route, but the e-learning course is likely to be more professional looking and will deliver better results. The latter is because e-learning providers have training as well as technical and design skills.

As already mentioned, in next week’s blog we’ll look at the specific advantages of e-learning so you can see exactly how your business might be able to benefit.

If you would like any other help or advice with your business, please contact a member of the Gilroy Gannon team today.

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