e-learning is the abbreviation for “electronic learning.” It is a system of learning that makes use of the Internet to educate individuals. It is essential to have a strategy in place as the framework gets defined for en e-learning program. A learner needs to have a structured program to understand the objectives and to be able to provide the desired result at the end. The final step in an e-learning program is to be able to logically explain how the goals have been met.
Prior to starting a program, it is essential to understand the audiences-mental make-up such as attitudes towards computer-based education, motivation factors for wanting to be trained, comfort with using technology and training readiness. Once these factors are in place, the strategy to conduct an e-learning program can be decided quite easily.
e-learning strategy is composed of key elements such as technology, content, support, communication and financial analysis. Technology used to deliver an e-learning program is synchronous or asynchronous. In synchronous technology, there is a real-time interaction between the trainer and the learner. It makes use of a web URL for learners to tune-in and includes web seminars, web casts and chats. For asynchronous technology, the learner controls the time, place and the content they view. This includes web-based training, knowledge portals and help-systems. Sometimes, synchronous and asynchronous can also be mixed as a solution to form a comprehensive program.
Content forms the backbone of an e-learning program and should be done under the guidance of a SME or a “subject matter expert.” Interactive simulation should be obtained from instructional designers. The quality of the content should be of high standards, so as to meet the objectives of the program and give a desirable output.
Every program needs to have a support system in place — a user ID and a password to begin the program, troubleshooting options for the learners and on-line help to answer learner queries. It is essential to determine how the program will be assigned, tracked and managed successfully.
Communication is the key to a successful e-learning program. A one-to-one conversation with students by counselors helps. Financial analysis of a program is important; as it determines the nature of technology, the support hardware/software, content authoring tools, etc. Through a clear definition of these essential elements, it is possible to develop a coherent strategy for a profitable, educative and successful e-learning program.