The pace of growth in the popularity of elearning courses has been extremely high. The reason for such a growth rate is the feasibility that online learning brings with it. It’s a way to reach a widespread workforce, offering flexible learning opportunities, tracking progress and evaluating performance using innovative ways. And it helps organizations across the globe to majorly cut down on their learning costs.
Till about a decade ago, online learning was in its experimental phase. It has now become one of the most accepted medium of learning because of the attributes that it possesses which cannot be found in a traditional classroom environment. Today, trainers all over the world are using internet as a medium to transfer their knowledge and expertise to learners from different parts of the globe.
However, some organizations are still reluctant to switch to online training from traditional methods, unaware of the fact that the content, activities, interactions and assessments can be replicated on web as well as on mobile devices, thereby making it more learner-centric. On the bright side, a lot of companies have opened up to the benefits of an online learning program and have already incorporated online learning in their training and development process.
As essential as an online learning plan is for an organization, there are also a few points that need to be looked at whilst making such a transition. First, one must understand that to be able to achieve the benefits of online learning, it should be ensured that the content and assessments are of the most superior quality so that it significantly outnumbers the benefits that a traditional training offers to its users.
However, while making the transition, trainers have to consider the following:
- Delivering good quality content, and
- Designing an effective assessment process.
Let’s try and dig deeper into this.
Delivering good quality content
The need of quality assurance in online learning is very high and is focused upon by the content creators. For an online learning program to do well, good quality of content is indispensable. This is something that can be easily achieved, given a few basic measures are taken while creating content. A lot of attention is paid to details like the layout, typography, color, icons, sequencing etc. and are decided after a lot of research to make sure that it’s in the best benefit of the trainees.
Unlike classroom training, where there are multiple teachers, online training has only one content creator who owns the content that gets posted online. There is one teacher passing on knowledge to many learners, making the training process uniform for all. The approach towards developing such a uniform learning program is process oriented, where user experience is given utmost importance. There are various factors that should be kept in mind to ensure quality maintenance and user experience in online learning. Some of them are:
- User engagement – The course should include elements that keep the trainee active and engaged. Lack of engaging and interesting content can significantly reduce the life cycle of the product.
- Bite sized – Transferring extensive content online can be a big challenge to the objective of user retention. If the content is lengthy and extensive, then it must be organized in the form of bullet points, tables etc in order to make it easy to absorb. Hence, apart from just the content of the program, formatting and presentation of the same must be paid attention on. And if the mode of delivery is mobile, then even more care needs to be taken care of while designing the flow of the online learning program. Here’s a quick starter on creating learning content for mobile learning.
Focus on Assessment Process
A fair evaluation is a major attribute of online assessment programs. A comprehensive, evaluating tool should be created to enable assessing users on the same set of criteria, making it a fair game. The assessment mechanism must be centralized and should be made in such a way that it evaluates the user in the best possible method.
However, a holistic online assessment goes beyond a fixed structure or a constant set of parameters or rules. They need to be variable, continuously incorporating changes and having the ability to take inputs from the user. These characters make an assessment process comprehensive and sustainable.
To sum this up, a training program on web/mobile directly delivers the content to the learners without any physical intervention and focus should be on promoting quality assurance and effective evaluation to help the learner not only achieve his/her final goal of deriving benefits from the course, but also assist development of human resource as a whole.
For an employee who spends most of his day on the job, it is very important to retain his interest in the course by making it interactive. Good quality content and assessments enable users to absorb content easily and evaluate all on the same set of parameters and is a fair methodology. A well designed assessment that is interactive and engaging can keep the user’s interest intact in the course and create an environment for active learning. It’s important to give enough time to plan the content and assessment structure and use innovative ways to evaluate and transfer knowledge.
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