For a wide variety of reasons covered in this article, e-learning has some important advantages over instructor lead training which means as a course delivery method, it is here to stay and will grow in importance as technology advances.
Advantages of e-Learning
- Self-paced learning – Instructor lead courses run to a schedule and this means the course and the learning activities move perhaps faster than delegates would like. This can mean reduced exam confidence and embedding of domain knowledge.
- On demand availability – Our e-learning systems are available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.
- Examinations in your own surroundings – Via Virtual Proctor U can now sit your AXELOS examinations (PRINCE2, ITIL and MSP) in the comfort of your own home.
- Covers all learning styles – E-learning provides a single experience that accommodates the three distinct learning styles of auditory learners, visual learners, and kinesthetic learners.
- Truly GREEN approach to learning – If anyone has ever worked in a training company then you will appreciate that van loads of paper is used to print manuals, worksheets and past papers. On average our accredited students get through in excess of 250 pages of double-sided paper per person. E-learning eliminates this.
- Low cost – When travel costs are taken into account e-learning is very often cheaper than instructor lead courses.
- Helps those with busy diaries –Some people have very busy lives and fitting in a 5 day instructor course plus evening homework is often impossible. E-learning allows learners to fit the course around their work schedules.
- More efficient performance monitoring – Students via examination simulation questions at the end of each course module and at the end of the course can via their student dashboard see statistically their exam performance and assess their own readiness to sit the real examination. Also our instructors can and will monitor your performance more easily than in an instructor lead course and intervene in order to see if you need further support.
- Instructor support – Via forums and direct messaging a trainer is never too far away in order to support your learnings.
- Community based support – We have forums for all our courses were learners and instructors and pose questions and swap ideas and opinions.
- Exam results are coming close to instructor lead courses – We currently have a 99% pass rate for PRINCE2 foundation examinations and 89% pass rate for Practitioner Examinations. The on-line pass rates which make up these pass rate averages is creeping up almost monthly as the technology and content is refined through forum input. Currently we have a situation where practitioner pass rates online are exceeding the average we achieve for instructor lead courses.
- Multi-platform delivery – E-learning can now be provided through Mac, PC and mobile devices such as the iPad.
It is our view that e-delivered learning solutions will never eliminate the need for human instruction. However much e-learning develops, computers will never completely eliminate human instructors for the following reasons :-
Disadvantages of e-learning
- Lack of focus – Sometimes poorly motivated Learners can quickly fall behind in an online course. With n fixed schedule or routine, e learning can become difficult for people to meet specific learning deadlines.
- Techno-phobia – Learners who are suffer from techno-phobia find e-learning a real challenge with the technology acting as barrier to learning rather than a learning accelerator. At Balance we have tried to make our e-learning experience as interactive as possible using common web-based features common to anyone familiar with using the web and YouTube. However, we accept at Balance that this a constantly evolving battle to make the learning experience as technologically intuitive as possible.
- Portability – of training has become a strength of e-learning with the proliferation of, laptop computers, tablets, and mobile phones, but still many argue these do not rival that of printed workbooks or reference material.
- Reduced social and cultural interaction can be a drawback. The impersonality, suppression of communication mechanisms such as body language, and elimination of peer-to-peer learning can make e-learning a challenging experience for some learners. However, as technology improves and our offerings evolve through learner feedback the potential disadvantages are reducing over time.
The pros’ and con’s of e-learning and how they affect your choice between instructor and e-learning course delivery all depends on your learner profile. For example if your employer will not give you time off to attend an instructor lead course and you are a self motivated individual then e-learning is not just a preferred option but the only learning option open to you.