- March 18, 2020
- Posted by: Elias Kinyua
- Categories: eLearning, mLearning
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major disruption for business and the training and development sector hasn’t been spared either. This has made organizations think of creative and flexible ways of how they can support learners/target audiences in achieving essential learning and development objectives. Many companies are realizing the need to shift their training & development initiatives to eLearning/online learning to replace the conventional ways of learning/training. Just how prepared (or not) is your organization? Can institutions still be able to cater to the needs of their learners when they are no longer attending the physical classrooms? Well, old school is not the only way. Academic and corporate institutions have resulted to eLearning in order to ensure they still achieve their learning and training goals by conducting their learning and training remotely.
Shifting to remote-learning should not only be getting course materials to students but also offer a student-centered learning experience through the online/remote learning experience.
For institutions planning to shift to remote learning, you will need:
- A learning management system (LMS) for administering your online learning
- Webinar and video recording tools
- A technical support team that can help you quickly adopt those tools.
Delivering your training online:
Depending on your target audience and available technology, you will have to choose a form of online learning that will effectively work for you. There are three formats that you can use: synchronous learning(real-time), asynchronous (self-paced) learning or a blended approach.
This is real-time learning. The learning sessions take place in real-time as the learners and the learning facilitator are online and interact at the same time from different locations. This can be done through the use of video conferencing software such as Zoom, BigBlue Button and Skype, most of which can be integrated with your Learning Management System. Synchronous learning brings about immediate personal engagement between students and instructors. This is a great way for fostering learners’ participation and engagement, keeping a sense of community and lessening feelings of isolation.
This can, however, be logistically difficult to implement in areas with low/no internet connectivity and where learners don’t have access to the necessary devices required for learning.
This is a self-paced form of learning and there’s no set time for the learning to take place. Learners study at their own set time and it can happen anywhere, anytime. Learning facilitators/instructors prepare course materials for students in advance for students’ access and place them on a central location where students can access them at a time of their choosing and will interact with them over a longer period of time.
This form of eLearning allows a higher level of flexibility as compared to synchronous learning. It makes the learning experiences more accessible and convenient for learners who may otherwise not be able to access live classes. They are able to go through the provided learning materials such as recorded lecture videos, participate in forum discussion and social learning activities at their own set schedule. In some cases, there may be set due dates for quizzes and assignment submissions. Without real-time interaction, learners may feel less personally involved and the course materials have the potential to be misconstrued.
This is a mixture of Synchronous and Asynchronous learning. More preferable depending on the nature of the course content and technology available for students, In cases where internet connectivity is an issue, asynchronous learning will be more effective. Organizations can, however, explore more creative ways of delivering learning in areas with low/no internet connectivity.
Once you settle on your desired form of online learning, package your course materials in a format best suited for online access.