E-Learning - The future landscape of learning and development


Mobile, relevant, personalised and self-paced content coverage at point of need. These are the things learners want. Unfortunately, in traditional classroom courses, learning is often very different and tend to disappoint.

The boom in digital revolution and mobile-phone sales has triggered dramatic changes in how we come across, view, ideate, propagate and share content. Naturally, the shift is also seen in learning.

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Whilst many want to learn at point of their need, many prefer learning at convenient timings or during weekends or on their daily commute to and from work.

E-learning has now become ubiquitous and has taken the world by storm. People are more aware of the wonders it can do for both tutors and learners. While it’s making the lives of tutors easier by cutting down costs and efforts invested, it’s doing more good for learners across the globe in the development of quality learning content.

Key advantage of imparting training on various concepts via e-learning tools, on multiple platforms and devices, is that it ensures tutors are in sync with modern-age learners, thus delivering the type of content they want, when they want it. When tutors get learners on their side they're more likely to get the results they need. Moreover, digital learning is self-paced learning that can be accessed at point of need, not somewhere more tedious, like a classroom far away. So even working professionals can learn more easily- at comfort and apply what they've learnt straight away.

There are multiple ways how e-learning is supplementing a learner’s development and is changing the future landscape of learning and development.

In modern times, when change is faster than ever before, a key advantage of e-learning is that it has swift delivery cycle- many times higher than traditional classroom-based instruction. In fact, research suggests that e-learning reduces other frills involved in learning by at least 25-55 percent when compared to traditional learning. E-learning also reduces time required for learner’s participation in training, because:

  • It does not take as long to start and wrap up a learning session
  • Learners set their own pace, rather than having to align to the pace of the group
  • No commute time is required to get to and from training events
  • Learners can focus on elements of a programme they need to learn and can skip what they already know

Concurrent to these factors, there is also a real-world limitation on how promptly learning can be imparted with classroom-based instruction, as deliverance capacity is limited by infrastructure and the number of available classrooms and trainers.

Swifter e-learning mechanisms, on the other hand, have enabled organisations to create and impart training, and individuals to learn concepts within weeks, or even days.

Owing to the convenience e-learning brings about and the promptness in which it can be delivered, costs of learning and development for an organisation is drastically reduced.

There are immediate cost-effectiveness of e-learning, in terms of reducing learner’s participation time involvement as well as savings in terms of tutor’s course materials, travel and accommodation.

When done the right way, e-learning can improve profitability for an organisation. McDonald's saved £5 million over two years by introducing e-learning for its staff and also saw 10 percent sales growth as a result of the effectiveness of the training imparted.

Compass Group saved £495,000 in six months as a result of no longer requiring to pay for accommodation, travel, time out of the business, external trainers or materials, by introducing e-learning for their staff’s learning and development.

Studies on e-learning have shown the following advantages for learners:

  • Improved approach toward the e-learning format and learning in general
  • Scaled scores on tests, certifications or other evaluations
  • Increased number of learners who achieved ‘high’ level and/or ‘pass’ exams
  • Better ability to apply the new knowledge or processes on-job
  • Improvised and long-term retention of information learnt

Additionally, being sustainable alternative to classroom/paper-based learning, e-Learning is better and effective way for tutors to significantly reduce their environmental carbon footprint.

A study found that, on an average, implementation and provisioning of e-learning courses consumed approximately 85 percent less energy and produced 80 percent lesser carbon monoxide emissions per learner, in comparison to traditional and conventional classroom-based university courses.

Statistics reveal that the e-learning market is worth over $100 billion and its two major markets are Eastern Europe, driven by Russia, and Asia Pacific, driven by India, Malaysia, China and Australia.

The worldwide market for mobile learning products and services reached $5.3 billion in 2012, and with a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 18.2 percent it is estimated that this market will reach $12.2 billion by 2017.

Industry estimates peg the growth of the online corporate market at 13 percent per year up to 2017.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)