For the teaching and training professional looking to develop engaging and interactive e-learning opportunities, times have never been better. Technology tools have grown more sophisticated but they’re only as successful as the professionals using them. Expectations have never been higher for professionals looking to bring the virtual classroom to life by developing high impact e-learning content that engages the learner with rewarding experiences.
It takes a comprehensive approach covering not only the what, features and functionality, but the how, course development and instructional design. Equally important is the mastery of specific online tools such as Google Apps, Ted talks, YouTube, Khan Academy just to name a few.
E-learning in the space of just a few years has grown in popularity and will continue to do so for years to come. Behind the rise of e-learning is better technology that delivers more reliable and interactive content, and an increasing number of tech savvy learners.
Still for many educators e-learning remains an uncertain option for a number of reasons. A few of them are fact but most of them are fiction. Yes e-learning does still have some shortcomings and limitations and these shortcomings are what critics point to as they dismiss the value of e-learning. “It’s boring.” critics say, or that “Learners need to be tech savvy to be successful.” And that “E-learning offers no support for the learner.” While these criticisms may be legitimate on a small scale. My opinion of e-learning is a little more balanced.
In the case of e-learning the magic is not found in the sophistication of the technology, but in how well the virtual tools are used to create and facilitate an engaging learning environment. The same technology that is behind highly interactive and interesting e-learning is what also creates ineffective and boring e-learning experiences that invite criticism.
The only difference between a successful e-learning experience and an unsuccessful e-learning experience is good instructional design executed by a motivated and skilled facilitator. It’s all about creating an ideal mix of technology, excellent design and engaging facilitation.