Is eLearning evolving due to need or trend? Want to save time yet increase interactivity using annotations in Articulate Presenter? Or slice your images the easier way in Photoshop? Read on for tips and tricks!
Let’s recap an old topic of “What the “e” in eLearning stands for”. When the term eLearning was first coined, many would often try to define or get others to state what the “e” in eLearning actually means to them. The most common of course was “e” for electronic learning (as compared to traditional face to face or printed materials); while the second most common was “e” for learning everywhere (or to be exact, everywhere learning). The latter became prevalent with the rise in the use of laptops and even more now with an enormous range of smart phones and tablets. Thus while eLearning used to be an initiative that required some mindset change and motivation to use, we are now seeing a change in attitude, with learners requesting for eLearning instead. Fortunately or unfortunately, this change is not due to all those benefits listed when eLearning first became prevalent, like better ROI, consistency of instructions etc. It is however factors like technology, trend and culture or even the generation of learners (digital natives) that are the reasons for such a transformation.
For me, I personally see the “e” in eLearning as evolving. It is evolving because lifestyle, trend and culture of the younger generation have evolved our way of learning, as well as our way of developing eLearning. The continuous improvement in technology has also vastly expanded the scope of eLearning to areas of gaming and augmented reality and in more friendly deployment mode which is more in tuned with current lifestyles. This is exemplified in the increased apps focused on learning developed for tablets and smart phones everyday! So what has evolved?
The Learner: from digital immigrants to digital natives
Mindset: with the help of technology and lifestyle, the e word is no longer such a taboo word. In fact, with the devices most of us have, it is very much preferred as learning is really at one’s fingertips.
Experience: Learning starts with the experience. This experience is not about how much interactivity there is but how meaningful the interactions are.
With such vast experience and perceptions of what eLearning is, we have come to realize one of the most important clarifications when we meet with clients is what they deem eLearning as. From the perspective of an SME, the introduction of rapid eLearning tools has made publishing SCORM compliant eLearning content extremely easy and fuss-free. While the ease is definitely unarguable, it also raises the question of how IDed (instructional designed) the courseware is. Many end up converting their content into eFormat rather than have an IDed eLearning courseware that looks into the instructional value and strategies of the content presented. Conversion ensures the content is in electronic form but does it warrant content to be learnable? And is it really an issue for our learners today?
A survey conducted in 1999 when eLearning first because prevalent asked the question “What do you see as the single biggest problem we’re facing as an interactive learning industry”. Replies from gurus in the field said “Poor Instructional Design” was the biggest problem. Quoting David Merrill, he said “The biggest problem is that INFORMATION is not INSTRUCTION”. So while from an instructional design perspective, it may seem to be an issue, we have yet to hear “complains” from the younger generation whereby “google-ing” for answers on the web as part of their learning mode is a norm. Most of such sites are definitely not highly interactive nor engaging. In fact, from physical books which older generations would very much prefer to read from, this habit is also changing to reading off an eReader or tablet. This is an illustration of the learners and the learning process that has changed our perception of learning and eLearning.
Therefore, why does my e = evolving? Fundamentally, because the way learners learn has evolved. While we focus on instruction of learning, the younger generation may want the information for them to form and shape their own learning. Instructional design is important to ensure learning is effortless, but to the current generation, the importance of instructional design is in the type of user experience they get to impact and create the motivation to learn. The time and space of what everywhere means has also evolved with the evolution of mobile devices and tablets. Lifestyle and culture has played an important role and has evolved due to extreme reliance on technology where we are constantly connected to information.
So what does the “e” in eLearning mean for you?
We hope this issue provided you with useful tips to help in the creation of your designs! One eye on your development and the other looking forward to the upcoming festival and festive season! Season greetings in advance!