Serious games, rapid learning, virtual classes, Mooc, Cooc and Spoc, etc. This type of jargon has flooded the market for professional training and can sometime seem a little ‘barbaric’ for the traditionalists among us.
In reality, they reveal the many different forms that digital learning can take. It is precisely the infinite number of possibilities that digital learning creates that makes it interesting. However exciting digital learning may be, however, certain apprehensions remain. Some continue to doubt the effectiveness of distance learning and are apt to quickly throw in the towel faced with the scale of the task that creating an e-learning offer can represent.
The aim of this article is to present the advantages of distance-learning courses for a trainer or training organization wishing to launch or expand their digital learning offer.
Reduced costs and higher profitability
It is often said that digital learning courses are less costly. This argument is particularly pertinent for training organizations or companies reluctant to invest in the creation of e-learning modules.
All that is required to create an e-learning module is an Internet connection and a computer. It is very easy, moreover, for a trainer to reuse content for different training sessions. This can mitigate the cost of designing an e-learning module. The trainer can also quickly modify the content of their lesson if need be, wherever they are.
Classroom-based training imposes a limited number of trainees. In addition to trainers’ travel costs, a single training session can train 500 or even 1,000 people at a time. By reducing the number of training sessions required, the company and training organization can make significant economies of scale.
Apart from the cost aspects, creating an e-learning tool enables trainers to free up time to develop a training course portfolio (less travel and less content to be created).
More effective and versatile training sessions
For companies, developing their employees’ skills is now crucial given the rapidly changing nature of jobs and industries. Distance-learning courses address the operational challenges facing businesses (launch of a new product, training new sales staff, etc.).
Hence, employees can be trained 2 to 3 times more quickly than through more ‘traditional’ classroom-based training. In effect, content delivery is considerably simpler. Learners have easy access to the course materials, which they can download in just a few simple clicks.
The educational effectiveness of distance learning is now proven, thanks in particular to scenario–based learning mechanisms like serious games and rapid learning. These are only effective, however, if combined with other types of training.
Adapting to learners’ specific needs
With more types of learning methods (virtual classes, Mooc, Spoc, etc.), it is easier to design a training module corresponding to learners’ different levels of expertise. A trainee’s experience can, moreover, be easily personalized, as serious games offer veritable individualized pathways.
Contrary to a passive, classroom-based course, the learner becomes an active player in their learning and can progress at their own pace and choose to delve more deeply into certain aspects rather than others.
Finally, trainers can also have simplified access to the training sessions, can add additional online resources and can easily respond to trainees’ needs.
Distance-learning courses enable training organizations and companies to easily obtain concrete data and measure the effectiveness of training.
During the completion of an e-learning module, trainers have access to real-time information about learners’ results. It is possible, for example, to analyse learners’ evaluation results and share them with managers or with the various business lines.
It is also very easy to measure trainee satisfaction, as the trainer can obtain very rapid feedback at the end of a training session.
While digital learning is an impressive source of opportunities for training organizations, freelance trainers and companies, it also poses certain challenges for professional training providers, such as the isolation of participants during a training session and their motivation, as digital learning requires greater effort on their part than during a classroom-based session.
These issues are, however, by no means insurmountable. Blended learning, for example, resolves the matter of participant isolation, as do virtual classes, which offer a real discussion space between trainees and trainers.
Finally, the question of learner motivation is crucial, both for classroom-based and distance-learning courses. The physical presence of a trainee does not guarantee they will be interested in a training module.
Certain businesses have understood this and regularly create fun and individualized programmes. Training organizations therefore need to adapt their training offer accordingly.