In the last decade this specific industry, a combination of education, tech, design and marketing has grown from a closed little world with a few well known names to a gigantic circus in which everyone and nobody wants to have their say.
To be able to join the conversation or at least form an informed opinion it's important to at least know some of the terminology that's being used.
The top 10 eLearning words:
- E-learning, or Elearning, or elearning, or eLearning?
It's no more (or less) than electronic learning in whatever way possible, but in general it is used as a way of digital learning that's setup as such. Like a webinar, a language app, a Zoom class, An online course or an instructional video for your work. You can look at it as wide-ranging as you want.
Is there actually still learning without the E nowadays?
- Instructional Design:
Developing and designing learning journeys and learning materials to transfer knowledge, skills or behavioural changes. Don't underestimate the job of the Instructional Designer. Learning and digital didactics have everything to do with how the brains of people work and how they process new knowledge. Just a series of videos or a nice handout is not enough to do the job.
- Blended learning
A combination of digital learning and live classes is the base of Blended Learning. This 'blend'can be composed in many ways as long as the components complement and strengthen each other.
Assignments, discussions, practice, videos, games, infographics, online lessons or webinars; every blend is different depending on the learning objective and the learners.
In work environments there is often not a lot of time for long learning trajectories. People need information on the spot about all kinds of topics. When a whole series of small learning objects are organized in such a way that they can be found quickly and offer exactly the right learning experience to continue the work, it's called microlearning.
A Massive Open Online Course is a form of online learning that is often offered by universities. It gives a lot of people worldwide the opportunity to gain knowledge about a certain topic and start talking about it with each other. MOOCs often are free or very affordable while the quality is very high. For universities it is a chance to show who they are and what they're good at.
Or rather a Subject Matter Expert. Someone who knows a lot about a specific topic. Often it's not the one who eventually will create the digital learning experience, but it's someone who tells the Instructional Designer everything of importance about the subject. And who also gives input about the learning objective and whether or not the learning journey is correct. They will want to include way too much information, so the Instructional Designer has to figure out what is a Need-to-know and what a Nice-to-know.
- Social Learning
Very simple: people learn more from each other than from books. So where people talk about a specific subject, form peer groups or where people help each other and explain how things work, there is Social Learning.
Facilitating social learning in an online situation can be an important part of eLearning.
- Authoring tool
To create digital lessons people often us an authoring tool. With an authoring tool you can build in text, images, videos, interactivity, buttons and menus. And even quizzes and scenarios. Without an authoring tool the possibilities are more limited and often lead to a series of videos or text with images and questions.
The most used authoring tool worldwide is Articulate Storyline. It looks like PowerPoint, but with a lot more features and interactive possibilities.
You can offer an online course via a website, but if you want to see who is doing the course and how they're doing, you need an Learning Management System .
With an authoring tool you can create a Scorm or an xApi file and the LMS can recognize this and activate it.
There are many different LMS platforms, so it can be a challenge to figure out which one is the best for your business.
Even though there has been a lot of research on using game-like elements in eLearning, it's still not widely accepted. People can learn a lot from games, but in which way the same principles can be used for learning in a work environment is still a matter of trial and error. Budgets and time are usually not sufficient to really develop it. Still gamification is seeping through in online learning and it is interesting to keep it in mind as a way to motivate and challenge people.
Are you an SME and are you dreaming to create an online course around you expertise and skills? But you don't know how to approach it? Start with obtaining the free Starter Kit and who know you will get so inspired that you will want to become your own Instructional Designer and share your talents with the world.