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The Changing Face of eLearning

23 / 02 / 2017
The Changing Face of ELearning

Martin Duthie, Content Management Specialist, discusses the advances in understanding that have taken eLearning into the bigger, more transformative realm of Digital Learning.

Search today's modern dictionary for the term 'eLearning' and you’ll likely come across a definition similar to “learning conducted via electronic media, typically on the Internet” - but what about the terms 'web-based training', 'computer-based training' and 'online learning'? Do they all mean the same thing? In a way, yes. But a problem remains, which is that these definitions do not indicate the true benefits and methods of learning delivered by technology. The term 'eLearning' is likely to put people off with thoughts of boring PowerPoint-based training courses.

In fact, we’ve come a long way since the first development of eLearning, which would usually involve a team of programmers spending long hours putting together a limited and basic eLearning course. Thanks to the significant advances in technology we all now have access to a wide range of software that helps us to create engaging content. Since technology and methodologies around eLearning are evolving at rapid pace, the term 'eLearning' needs to similarly adapt and change, so at Mintra we favour the term 'Digital Learning.'

The Digital Learning we provide may be defined as "learning facilitated by technology that gives students some element of control over time, place, path and/or pace". Digital learning allows us to gain an element of control on our learning journeys. We all have hectic work schedules and busy lifestyles that limit our time for essential training. However, thanks to the technology evolution, learning materials can now be accessed via PCs, laptops, smartphones, and tablets allowing learners to access content anytime, anywhere. Many courses can even be accessed offline through various smartphone and tablet applications that don’t require internet access. Some of the most beneficial features of Digital Learning are Learning Paths and Knowledge Validation. Through the use of interactive questions and adaptive courseware we can make learning more engaging and personal. Powerful analytics allow us to assess the knowledge of the individual upfront and then tailor the content to their needs. In so doing, we ask the right questions and display the right content for each individual.

Knowledge Validation modules allow the individual to undertake an assessment to assess whether they need to undertake training that they already know. Much time and money is wasted on putting employees and individuals through training that they don’t need. By using KVMs individuals can be assessed on whether they should take the training or not. Any gaps in knowledge can then be identified and courses with matching learning outcomes can then be offered to the individual. If they are successful, they can be awarded with a digital certificate\badge that can be stored online in a digital locker that is verified by Mintra. This verification can be of a huge benefit to companies operating in safety critical industries, giving the employer a vote of confidence that the user is qualified and safe.

The transition from mere point-and-click eLearning to a genuinely interactive digital learning landscape is exciting. It removes geographical and temporal boundaries to learning, enables individuals to progress their careers with directed and independently verified training, and allows companies to monitor and focus their training budgets to achieve maximum efficiency with minimum waste. It's a landscape that is constantly changing and developing, but here, as you would expect from a market leader, Mintra remains a guide and pioneer for each individual.