Digital learning may be seen as a response to the fundamental challenge of vocational training, which is to create or use teaching resources to teach defined skills, while accounting for learners’ constraints (time, place, access to a computer, etc.).
It is not in opposition to face-to-face training, rather, they enrich and complement one another to create an effective ecosystem that puts the learner in the driver’s seat of their training. The thoughtful integration of technology into a learning journey can enable learners to actively engage with and enhance their learning experience.
THE BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES OF THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION OF TRAINING.
A LITTLE HISTORY…
The democratisation of e-learning dates from the early 2000s. It was developed in American universities with the aim of creating a range of distance learning courses. The offer then developed in companies and has since doubled every year.
We still have in mind the boring and endless e-learning modules followed by a quiz to check if everyone has followed. These courses were originally conceived as “correspondence” courses designed to reach a wider audience at lower cost. They were the digital adaptation of a face-to-face course.
Of course, in over 20 years, e-learning methods have had time to evolve. With the evolution of digital tools, it would have been a shame to stay with this kind of format. The variety of digital media at our disposal has given us the opportunity to design modules specifically designed for e-learning.
This is how digital learning came about.
The main advantage of digital learning is that instead of taking learners out of their daily lives and putting them in a classroom, they are able to remain right where they are, with the tools they use every day, whether in their work or their private lives.
While digital training also has set objectives and a time limit for completion, it does not usually have a fixed starting time nor a defined course order. Everyone can log on according to their availability, choose the order in which the topics are covered, and progress at their own pace.
By definition, digital learning is mobile, as there is no physical classroom. All you need is an internet connection to participate. Learners can therefore connect from their office, from home or even when they are on the move. In mobile learning, the modules are responsive, they are adapted to be read on a smartphone.
It is possible to adapt the training course for each learner. To do this, the system will propose content according to the answers they have given to questionnaires or quizzes.
Digital learning also allows trainers to follow the progress of their students in real time via a learning platform and to adapt the training to their needs. This is particularly the case when there is a synthesis between digital and face-to-face courses (blended learning).
It is possible to create, publish and share a module within just a few hours (e.g., a video, a tutorial, etc.). This gives learners access to the training they need when they really need it. For the company, there are also ready-to-use modules on repeated subjects, such as regulatory or safety topics.
With digital learning, there is no need to rent a space, arrange accommodation or travel. A training module can be easily shared with all the company’s employees with only internet access.
All learners have access to the same training and therefore the same content. Even when the training can be adapted according to the learner’s profile, the knowledge base will be the same. There is therefore no risk of contradictions in what is taught.
The level of digitalisation within the company may put a brake on the development of digital learning. There are also some challenges for the learner.
Digital learning puts the learner in the driver’s seat of their training, as it is the learner who decides when, where and in what order they take each module. If it is not put together in an interesting way, it can easily turn into a case of “no way, no how”.
One example is compulsory training.
These courses will be taken because they are compulsory, but if they are badly designed, learners will not benefit from them. It is important to involve your learners and to offer an interesting and motivating experience, by varying the modalities used: infographics, video, illustrations, games, etc.
Face-to-face training has the advantage of placing employees in the same room, which makes it possible to discuss and offer solutions to each person’s problems or queries.
Obviously, there are digital solutions that enable learners to interact or ask questions, but this does not always replace a direct exchange. Depending on the subject and the duration of the training, it is possible to consider mixed solutions such as blended learning to overcome this obstacle.
By definition, digital learning is a training method that requires access to computers and an internet connection. It may therefore not be suitable for audiences that are not equipped with computers and are not comfortable in the digital environment. However, with the wide-spread adoption and sophistication of smartphones, this obstacle seems to be disappearing.
I DIGITISE, YOU DIGITISE, HE DIGITISES…
As digitalization develops in companies and in everyday life, digital learning enriches its offer to adapt to learners’ uses.
Continuity or novelty, these formats will be part of the digital learning ecosystem in 2023:
LMS… LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
To organise and monitor a digital course, a tool is needed. An LMS is that tool, a platform that supports the learner through the training process while ensuring they are properly followed-up on their learning path.
It centralises all training content, manages both the community of learners and the community of trainers, and handles admin.
An LMS is software with a wide range of functionalities.
Most of them offer:
The larger the number of employees in a company, the greater the volume of training, the more complex the administration of that training will be. There comes a time when investing in an LMS becomes a necessity and represents a significant potential ROI.
In particular, an LMS facilitates:
There are a great number of possibilities for an LMS, all of which meet specific needs depending on the size of the structure and the budget to be allocated. For this reason, it is best to ask the right questions beforehand.
Here is a list of criteria to consider in making the right choice:
When evaluating different options, consider involving future contributors and users to ensure that all needs are met and constraints considered.
LRS and LXP.
These words may not mean much to you yet, but they are indicative of a trend in digital learning: the use of data and artificial intelligence to enhance the learner experience. Here are some simple definitions of these key terms to help you anticipate and understand the evolution of the sector.
LXP: Learning Experience Platform
A LXP is a new feature that aims to turn LMSs into intelligent platforms. The principle is to record the preferences and progress of a user to suggest training content, as Netflix or YouTube already do. The aim is to offer the user a unique, customised and therefore more effective experience.
LRS: Learning Record Store
The LRS is a database in which the navigation data of the users of a training module is stored. By using xAPI traces (markers placed at key points in a module), it is possible to obtain precise data (path, time spent on a page, a video, an activity, etc.) and to improve the training devices accordingly.
eSkills has been designing and producing innovative digital learning modules since 2012.
We are based in Geneva, Switzerland and work throughout Europe for organisations of all sizes and in all fields: banks, SMEs, multinationals, public or state institutions, NGOs and international organisations.
Because we believe that training should be enjoyable and beneficial, we use the magic of digital technology to achieve your objectives with creativity, professionalism… and a touch of humour.
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