E-learning has been fast emerging as an alternative to traditional classroom learning techniques. While classroom learning makes you confined to an instructor imparting training, e-learning exposes you to all its elements that can be easily perceived. It offers high visibility of content that improves retention and optimizes learning in students. Basically, e-learning provides better access to the instructional environment. However, there are various aspects of e-learning that need to be researched in order to determine if it is really effective for learners of all types. For this purpose, it is important to study the way people learn and retain information.
There is further need for finding out the effectiveness of varied instructional methods and media elements. Although technology supports new learning, it is still to be seen if it can overtake the benefits of classroom teaching techniques. Many people assume that e-learning is more effective due to its use of latest technology and methods. However, experts feel that it is more important to focus on the way such technology and methods are utilized for instructional purposes. It is the way a lesson is designed that impacts learning. If a lesson is poorly designed, then even a good delivery technique could fail.
E-learning can be highly effective if we concentrate on designing lessons with a learner-focused approach instead of only focusing on the way these lessons would be delivered. There are several media that e-learning uses to deliver content. It is not necessary that every medium would be equally effective in carrying specific content. It is the synergy of the effectively designed content and the right delivery technique that governs effective learning in students. Students usually feel that they can learn better through graphics and audiovisuals. Again, this aspect of using various media elements for the delivery of lessons depends on the way these elements are used.
While some studies have shown that learning through graphics is highly effective, it is also shown by other studies that a dramatic use of these graphics can also depress learning. Thus, instructional designers need to be aware of the best use of media elements in designing such content that enhances learning instead of hampering it. E-learning surely has a wide scope of designing and delivering lessons in several innovative ways. The only need to turn it more effective for target learners is to make the best use of design techniques, delivery methods and media elements.
Mike Cornell and Emma Jones are behind the success of Elearning Blog, a blog solely focused on providing free resources and tips for e-learning.