Delivering eLearning and Other Non-Trainer Led Learning
When elearning first made its appearance, it was supposed to be a quick killer of the classroom. But it did not take long before people realized that is was not the silver bullet it was supposed to be. Part of the reason was that for the most part, the early elearning programs were copies of PowerPoint slides. Thus instructional designers started to add more interactivity to their elearning programs, but they were still missing an important part — social learning.
eLearning can have an attrition or drop-out rate as high as 20% as it often treats the person as a “lone learner.” Yet people often need to interact with others when they are in a learning situation, for example, in an informal learning episode a person will interact with an average of ten people (Tough, 1999).
Thus blending learning was born. Classrooms enhance elearning in that the interactive and social nature of a classroom, blended with the self-paced environment of elearning may increase learning by an average of 11% for both procedural and declarative knowledge (Sitzmann, Ely, 2009). eLearning and other similar programs need to be built on a platform that provided them not only with the benefits of a self-learning environment, but also with the needed social support system.
With the new social media tools now available, the classroom common environment can now be replaced in many instances with these tools, such as blogs, microblogs (e.g., Twitter & Yammer), file sharing (e.g., Flickr & SlideShare), Virtual Meeting Places, (e.g., Adobe Connect & Elluminate), social sites (e.g. Facebook & MySpace) and wikis.
The tool now acts as the common environment in that it allows the learners to meet and share experiences. Thus with a little imagination, the techniques discussed in Deliver the Training and Learner Involvement can often be replicated without the expense of a classroom.
Sitzmann, T. & Ely, K. (2009). Web-Based Instruction: Design and Technical Issues which Influence Training Effectiveness. Retrieved Nov, 2, 2009: http://webboard.adlnet.org/Technologies/Evaluation/Library/Additional%20Resources/Presentations/ASTD%202009%20Presentation%20Slides.pdf
Tough, A. (1999). Reflections on the study of adult learning. Paper presented at the 3rd New Approaches to Lifelong Learning (NALL) Conference, University of Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Toronto, Canada. Retrieved January 8, 2008 from http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/depts/sese/csew/nall/res/08reflections.pdf
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