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E-Learning: Strengths and Weaknesses

In our digital age, most companies, institutions and universities are always looking to digitize and optimize their training process. In 2015, the e-learning market accounted for $107 billion and its growth over the next five years is estimated at 9.2% annually (source: Callimedia).
Concretely, what are the reasons behind the success for all three parties in the training process (trainee, trainer and the company)?
For the employee, this training solution is especially flexible, responsive and adaptable since it allows trainees to manage their learning autonomously. The emancipation from geographical constraints (training at his or her computer station) is a real asset as well as the collaborative aspects offered by certain training centres (via modules which facilitate collaborative work, co-creation, interaction, exchanges via forums, instant messaging and chats). The self-evaluation and personal follow-up on one’s progress are features much appreciated by trainees.
On the company side, the advantages are both numerous and intriguing. The optimization of training costs (no transportation, lodging or food costs), reduction of logistical constraints (no rental of conference rooms or spaces, displacement of staff, lodging), the possibility of training a high number of employees simultaneously, follow-ups on employees progress with precise reporting, and automated analysis of results thanks to tracking technology are the principal advantages of these solutions.
The sustainability of training support and reduction in a company’s carbon footprint (lower CO2 emissions, less printed documents, and less wasted course support) represent undeniable strengths of this option.
Finally, another essential trait is the reactivity potential of these solutions in terms of training needs. Thanks in particular to the customized options offered by certain trainers which include personalized, strategic analysis according to one’s needs, employees benefit from being better trained.
As far as trainers are concerned, they will appreciate working with the various attractive and interactive tools available to them and their trainees while also being able to track their progress through a progress tracking platform.
Meanwhile, what are the weaknesses faced by trainees, companies and trainers, you ask?
With regards to e-learning solutions, the employee must first be able to grasp the software tool, be comfortable with new technology, be an autonomous worker and learner, be able to concentrate in this type of environment, have the ability to manage their own motivation and involvement level, and be able to adapt to not having direct contact with their trainer (for those already working remotely that could prove to be a deal breaker).
The company meanwhile is at times misinformed and apprehensive in light of new technologies. In addition, it also has no control over the motivation, engagement and management of their trainees. There is also the necessary investment in software and other digital equipment and requisite changes in behaviour and habits to consider associated with this type of training service.
And finally for the trainer in question, the lack of direct contact with trainees is the biggest drawback in addition to the transformation of their roles from “information lead” to that of “orchestra conductor” and move to more written communication which the trainer could come to regret.
In closing, like all training methods, e-learning has both its advantages and limitations. It is up to all of us to be aware of both and navigate them in order to draw the most from this type of training solution.

Source : www.eduperformance.com

Caroline Irrmann

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