eLearning Development Incorporates Different Styles
When researching eLearning options, managers are not comparing apples to apples. There are various types of eLearning, just like there are many various types of apples. When choosing eLearning for your next project, remember the details are always important!
Here are some eLearning styles and how they are used:
Self-paced slides: These are usually a series of slides with information. Good for basic tutorials and a walk-through of basic info. Example: HR training on the company’s history.
Self-paced interactive: This is a bit more complex than a slide-show. Here there may be quizzes or exercises that demand the attention of the learner. This works best when you need to check for basic comprehension and test for basic competencies. Example: HR training on operational policies and procedures (how to ask for a day-off, how to address harassment, etc.)
Self-paced with asynchronous human interaction: Here participants learn at their own pace, but also interact with other learners in a threaded discussion board or blog. This allows for discussion of elements pertaining the course. There is interaction with mentors, peers, and subject matter experts. This style works best with more complex information that requires deeper critical thinking skills and creativity. Example: Customer Service advanced training: handling the most difficult customer complaints.
Self-paced with synchronous human interaction: This style is interesting. It allows the learner to pick up most of the content on their own, but then they discuss the content with peers, mentors and/or subject matter experts in a live chat or even a face-to-face setting. This works particularly well when there are physical skills required as part of the competencies. Example: student nurse learns about the anatomy of the arm online and about the concept of inserting an intravenous needle, but learns with an instructor and a live participant how to insert a needle in the arm of the participant.
Instructor led: unlike the last two, this style is not self-paced. The instructor sets the pace and walks the learner through the content within specified time frames. This works best when the content is extremely complex and requires very strong guidance. Example: teaching of very complex theory (physics, chemistry, engineering, etc.)
Blended (aka hybrid): a mix of any or all of the above.
As you can see, the success of an e-learning strategy depends on the type of e-learning and how well it was matched to its objective.