We’re all familiar with traditional classroom-based training courses. Even Gen-Z’ers who may never have attended a classroom-based training course would find it familiar because they are very often like a school class. Yes, it might be based in a smart hotel or training centre but the principal is the same; a bunch of people sitting at desks while the teacher/trainer imparts their words of wisdom from the front of the classroom. And very often it all ends with a test or exam for a recognised qualification.
Classroom-based training courses still have a very important place in the world of professional training but equally there are now other options better suited to the modern workplace, and corporate training budgets.
One of those options is e-Learning.
What is e-Learning?
E-Learning is simply a method of using available technology to access training course material as an alternative to attending a classroom-based course. This almost always means that it is a training course delivered online. The only technological requirement, therefore, is access to the internet.
Clearly, this means the course materials can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection and at any time of the day or night. E-Learning courses can, therefore, enable trainees to complete the course at a time and place of their choosing – it means work or family commitments can more easily be accommodated.
Unlike older distance learning programs that might have been available on DVD most e-Learning course are interactive so delegates can communicate with the trainer and sometimes also with other delegates.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the training is delivered live or watched live because the courses are always recorded to allow people to learn at their preferred time. Nevertheless, there will be the option to communicate, usually via some sort of private community or forum.
Why Choose e-Learning?
Training courses delivered via the internet have proven to be both a popular and successful method of training. They are cost-effective for businesses and convenient for delegates who can study where and when is most suitable.
However, this type of learning is not an easier option because it requires certain personal skills that are less important in a classroom-based course. Skills such as:
- Time management
Benefitting from e-Learning
To get the best out of e-Learning here are some essential tips:
It really goes without saying that a reliable internet connection is a must, but even the most reliable internet services can sometimes experience problems so complete course assignments well in advance of any deadlines in case course materials are inaccessible.
Often easier said than done but being able to stay motivated is essential when there is no one there to provide encouragement. Traditional beliefs about motivation are outdated and proven not to work so don’t underestimate how hard it might be to remain self-motivated throughout the course.
Keep reminding yourself why you started the course in the first place or try looking at the many motivational quotes available online – this may sound cheesy but they really can work. For example, a personal favourite:
“I never dreamed about success, I worked for it” Estee Lauder
It’s always easier to be motivated to study when goals and objectives are clear. It may be that a professional qualification will help secure a promotion or a coveted new job – remember that.
Create A Study Plan
Just like with school or university exams a study plan or schedule is essential for successful learning. Know when assignments are due to be completed and start them well in advance. It’s all about good time management so use calendar reminders or audible phone alerts. Or even use a time management app if there are major events such as a business trip or family holiday that need to be factored in.
Planning ahead will help avoid last-minute panic and stress, which is never conducive to effective learning. But it’s one thing to create a schedule and another to stay on track so monitor progress every week to make sure everything is on target.
Make Use of Support Available
Taking an e-Learning course may sometimes seem like a solitary activity but the best courses have active communities or forums that provide peer feedback and help is always available from the trainer. There may also be private groups on social media for sharing tips and exchanging ideas. Make use of all this online support – it’s about clever use of time and not a sign of weakness to ask for help.
The best trainers are more than happy to help with problems because they want all delegates to succeed. The comments and feedback from an active online discussion can also help the trainer improve training materials or delivery.
Sounds a bit like school again but regular revision is essential to obtain the benefits of any form of training and vital for passing any exams that might follow the course. Active revision is always more beneficial than passive revision so write notes, draw charts and diagrams, attempt past papers if there is an exam involved.
Find a Quiet Study Space
If possible allocate a space at work or home to study without distractions or interruptions. Make it clear to family or work colleagues the importance of quiet time for study. But equally importantly remove distractions from temptation’s reach – especially social media or email alerts – switch them off.
Take a Break
Don’t forget that fresh air and exercise can help the brain function more effectively so build regular breaks into a study schedule.
E-Learning can be a perfect way to study without impacting the working day but it will mean giving up free time. The benefits, however, can be huge in the form of professional qualifications and accreditation, which can boost career prospects. The Project Management Institute Salary Survey, for instance, revealed that project management professionals with the PMP certification earn 23% more than peers without the certification. Now that makes the effort and commitment all sound worthwhile.