E-Learning is the future of continuing education. This is shown by studies which put the worldwide trend in digital continuing education at over 80%.1 In Germany, too, the e-learning market is recording growth of 14%, with more and more companies seeing opportunities in digital continuing education as a model for continuous learning.2 3
We have already presented many of the advantages of e-learning for companies and learners on this blog, e.g. cost-benefit calculation or the consideration of different types of learners. In this article we would like to introduce you to 5 further advantages of e-learning that will convince you of the e-learning cosmos:4 5
Learning independent of time and place
One of the most decisive advantages of digital applications is their independent availability across time and place. In other words, your e-learning course can reach people all over the world. Distance is no longer an obstacle to sharing information, restructuring and new hires with employees. With the decentralization of employee qualification, companies whose employees are scattered around the world not only save costs, time and logistical effort, but also create a significant relief for field staff.
Self-directed instead of trainer-dependent
E-learning has revolutionised learning culture to the extent that e-concepts are usually designed to enable users to learn at their own pace, according to their own learning preferences or even in exchange with other learning modules. The trend is towards self-directed learning. This method requires learners to understand the learning objectives and the concept and to fathom them independently. In contrast to workshops, where the trainer is responsible for defining and fulfilling learning goals, the learner is now in the process of discovering the learning world himself. The assessment of learning success, which in face-to-face training is largely the responsibility of the trainer, can also be recorded using data in online courses and made transparent for learners and supervisors in user reports. This increases motivation and ambition to shine with success. With an e-learning course you not only make learning more independent, but also instruct learners to apply their knowledge directly in formats such as quizzes, games, interactive scenarios or simulations.
The quality of the content is also ensured consistently and independently of the trainer, time and location. A trainer sets accents, has personal preferences – and this also influences the course of training. In its independent but unchanged structure, the online course offers a constant and reliable quality.
Learning motivation 2.0
One of the central challenges in the field of continuing education has long been to maintain the commitment and motivation of the participants. Especially when classroom training ends in a frontal lecture, the participation of the learners drops to a passive level where the concentration quickly disappears. For this reason, trainers are becoming more and more creative in order to create learning incentives with their training. With digital and web-based applications, e-learning brings the decisive advantage with it, since the diversity of learning worlds is so great that there is something for every learner. This ranges from serious games, in which participants playfully click their way through the learning modules, to learning simulations that simulate a real (working) scene for users. With a well thought-out story and interactive learning spaces, users are directly involved in the virtual world and are encouraged to actively participate in the learning process. At the same time, learners can set their own learning pace. You can also score points with graphically appealing scenes or game elements that stimulate competition and user ambition (e.g. rankings, bonus points, etc.).
Learning outcomes as an incentive to learn
If you make learning outcomes transparent, for example in a user report, and make them available to the learner, you kill two birds with one stone. On the one hand, the learner can come to a self-assessment based on his own results and identify strengths and weaknesses. On the other hand, you set new learning incentives, because the user will want to optimize these weak points – a self-imposed challenge. If you want to promote the ambition of your learners even further, make the results visible among all learners in a ranking or similar.
More flexibility and independence
Meanwhile, learning management systems allow trainers to design their courses flexibly according to their requirements and needs. In addition to the learning content, this also includes various formats such as (interactive) pictures, videos and tables. This flexibility in the course structure not only allows us to respond individually to learning behaviour, specific topics or learning objectives, but also to tailor the learning course to different target groups. When introducing a new product, the sales department must be informed more intensively and in more detail than, for example, employees from the shipping department.
On the other hand, learners benefit from e-learning programs that can also be called up on mobile devices, as they can complete the online course anywhere and at any time. This not only enables independent learning, but also promotes learning participation. Users can decide for themselves where and how to learn best. One person attends the course at work, the other lacks concentration and prefers to learn in the park during lunch break. Independence promotes self-directed and self-motivated learning, which takes place on one’s own initiative and not as a compulsory programme.
Advantages of e-learning
According to a study by the industry association BITKOM, learning by computer, tablet or smartphone will become the dominant trend in continuing education in the coming years.
After all, continuing education has never been easier than today in the age of the Internet, smartphones and apps. Nevertheless, many participants are still hesitant as to whether e-learning is the right thing for them.
Advantages of e-learning:
- Free time management
- No travel expenses
- Short learning units can be easily integrated into everyday life
- Participation at individual learning pace
- Current contents
- Courses for every level
- Knowledge verification through online tests
- Consistent quality of online seminars
In most cases, meaningful further training fails because of the time factor: small companies in particular cannot send their employees on further training for several days. Online training, which can be carried out at any time and any place, is becoming increasingly popular. In addition, courses can be selected that exactly match the participant’s level and pace of learning. Unlike textbooks, learning content can easily be kept up to date by the author.
Disadvantages of e-learning:
- No personal exchange
- High self-motivation required
- Intransparent offer
The most common disadvantage mentioned is the lack of exchange with other participants. Many online seminars offer chats, forums or groups in social networks to cushion this disadvantage. Another weak point is often seen in the necessary self-motivation. Online courses require a certain amount of self-learning competence.
However, if the participant is motivated, the advantages of e-learning usually outweigh the flexibility and low costs.