What is eLearning?

By using eLearning, knowledge can be learned and taught online. Unlike traditional ways of learning, eLearning works regardless of time and location – teachers, training locations, calendar schedules are not any longer necessary with eLearning.

Depending on the type of eLearning, students can take part in online courses via their computer, tablet or smartphone and can access training materials online.



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Advantages of eLearning

Lower Costs

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Reduce costs by up to 60%

Through the introduction of e-learning in a company, the costs for education and training can be significantly reduced. The speed and simplicity with which e-learning can convey knowledge saves important resources. The working time that employees have to spend on continuing education through e-learning courses is much lower than with conventional face-to-face training.

In addition to the reduced development time of e-learning and the saved working time, there are immediate financial advantages: reduction of expenses for travel and accommodation, production of course materials and salaries for trainers.

In addition to saved money and time, e-learning has a positive effect on productivity and employee satisfaction, as scientific studies prove.

An excerpt from case studies and scientific work is illustrated by several examples:

  • According to the scientific work of Judith B. Strother, which also dealt with the results of Hall and LeCavalier, Ernst and Young were able to reduce their training costs by 35 per cent through the introduction of blended learning while improving the uniformity and scalability of the training.
  • Also, in this report, Mr. Strother notes that IBM could lower its training and education costs by approximately US $ 200 million (about one third of the original spending) through online courses (2).
  • According to a study by Clive Shepherd, the chemical company Dow Chemical was able to reduce its training costs to just US $ 11 per student by switching to e-learning. Previously, the cost per participant was US $ 95 to more than eight times, not taken of the cost of accommodation and travel (3).
  • According to Shepherd, the telecom company Cisco reduced its total training costs by about 40 to 60 percent and was able to increase the effectiveness of the sales staff in the same train (4).

Easy Scalability

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Participants

Due to the nature of digital products, easy scalability, ie easy duplication and extensibility, is also provided for e-learning materials and learning platforms. In contrast to attendance training, additional participants in an e-learning course generate little additional costs. The more participants attend a digital course, the better they can exchange information about the teaching content and improve the learning effect. If new e-learnings are created, the company can often rely on existing materials, which reduces the cost of creating additional materials. In addition to easy scalability, positive scale effects are also the result of the introduction of an e-learning platform.

Fast Learning Success

Compared to traditional attendance events, e-learning can lead to a faster learning effect. Scientific studies such as Marc Rosenberg (2001) show that the learning time a participant needs to learn a topic can be reduced by at least 25 to 60 percent through e-learning (1). This has the following reasons:

  • The time required to start and finish e-learning is shorter than on-site training.
  • There is no time to get back to training.
  • Participants can follow their own learning tempo and are not tied to a group.
  • Learners can concentrate on training topics they need to learn and can skip out topics they already know.
  • In addition, the time to build an eLearning system and make it available to users is significantly shorter than conventional on-site training.

Environmentally Friendly

Reduce energy needs by up to 90%90%

The use of digital media and e-learning provides companies with a very good opportunity to improve their carbon footprint while preserving important environmental resources. Compared to paper-based, traditional face-to-face training, e-learning is an environmentally friendly alternative.

The main areas where the introduction of a digital learning platform to reduce the environmental impact are:

  • Reduce expenses and resources for travel and accommodation of participants and trainers
  • Reduce the need for a training center and its maintenance
  • Paper is no longer necessary

A study by the Open University found that on average, the production and supply of learning materials needed almost 90 percent less energy and generated 85 percent less CO2 emissions per participant than conventional presence-based university courses (5).

Frequently Asked Questions on eLearning

Yes, location and time are not important, since the course was already created, made available via a platform on the Internet, and can now be used flexibly. When and where the participants want to retrieve the course content is up to them. The course can, however, be restricted to a period of time so that the usage is only available for a maximum of four weeks and the next lesson is ready for retrieval.
Yes, since e-learning courses are not tied to a lecturer or trainer, they can be repeated as often as desired. The more often the teaching materials are processed, the higher the learning effect. It is therefore recommended to repeat e-learning in order to replenish forgotten or deepen knowledge.
In order to carry out an e-learning, as a rule only a computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone with access to the Internet and a current web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc.) is necessary. Depending on e-learning and the chosen e-learning platform, there may be different system requirements for the device on which the e-learning is performed (e.g., speakers for teaching videos).
Yes, e-learning can be used to any extent. Since this is a digital product, any number of participants can carry out the e-learning without creating a multi-user wall.

As a rule, e-learning platforms can be built on an existing IT infrastructure. This also depends on the desired platform software, the existing IT infrastructure and the expected number of users. Standardized servers can be used for all standard platform software. A special infrastructure for e-learning platforms is not necessary.

E-learning and e-learning platforms can be created in several languages, adapting to the individual preferences of users. The e-learning platform can process the participant data independently of the different languages. For example, results from onlinetests or feedback from the participants collected can be evaluated independently of the chosen language of the users.

In principle, most e-learning courses can be adapted afterwards. Changes to, for example, texts, questionnaires or onlinetests can be made without any effort. Video and audio materials (e.g., screencasts, instructional videos, sound clips) can also be modified later, but involve a slightly higher cost of change.

A Learning Management System (LMS) is a learning platform that is based on a complex software system and is used to provide learning contents and the organization of learning processes. An important component of the LMS is the communication between the learning person and the provider of the learning materials. This communication contributes significantly to the learning success of the participants. In addition to the important tasks of providing the teaching materials and the possibility of communicating between the provider and the learning person, the learning platform takes on numerous administrative tasks, e.g. Participant management, tracking the learning progress or archiving learning contents.

Blended learning, also called integrated learning, is a combination of the advantages of a presence event and e-learning. In a face-to-face meeting, for example, practical activities can be learned, the theoretical knowledge of which is then taught in e-learning. In this case, the learning management system can also assume many administration tasks for the presence event (for example, sending information to participants, registering participants, database for training evidence, etc.).

 

Resources

(1) Rosenberg, M.J. (2001). E-Learning: Strategies for Delivering Knowledge in the Digital Age. New York: McGraw-Hill.

(2) Strother, Judith B. (2002). An Assessment of the Effectiveness of E-Learning in Corporate Training Programs. Florida Institute of Technology.
http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/viewArticle/83/160Tauber

(3) und (4) Shepherd, Clive. Case studies: http://www.fastrak-consulting.co.uk/tactix/Features/lcms.htm#Dow%20Chemical; http://www.fastrak-consulting.co.uk/tactix/Features/lcms.htm#Cisco

(5) Roy, Robin; Potter, Stephen and Yarrow, Karen (2004). Towards sustainable higher education: environmental impacts of conventional campus, print-based and electronic/open learning systems. In: Murphy, D; Carr, R; Taylor, J. and Wong, T.M eds. Distance Education & Technology: Issues and Practice. Hong Kong: Open University of Hong Kong Press, pp. 129–145.
http://oro.open.ac.uk/6816