What is important to learners is a good learning experience and not the means of delivery
For some years I have been promoting that working learners (as opposed full-time students) are seeking what I call a ‘J3’ learning experience:
‘Just-in-Time, Just-Enough, Just-for-Me’
The ways in which the learning is delivered is less important to them. If you can tick these three boxes then learners will better appreciate, enjoy and benefit from their learning experience.
Let’s consider how eLearning performs against these three learner criteria:
- Just-in-Time – By its very nature, it offers learners the opportunity to study anywhere, anytime, anyplace, and to revisit the learning as many times as they wish.
- Just-Enough – well-designed & structured eLearning content offers students the opportunity to dip into a learning programme and select topics of particular interest and need to them. Learners never again need attend that one day classroom course just to learn that 15-minute topic of real importance to them, saving them precious time, and money too.
- Just-for-Me – this can be a hard criteria for eLearning to deliver and it demands good instructional designer to craft a module that is directly relevant to the needs of the intended audience. The challenge for eLearning is that every aspect of the learner journey must be hard-coded into software with no ability to flex the delivery for a specific audience or student ‘on the fly’ as you can with instructor-facilitated learning models. Microlearning is the digital solution to this requirement, enabling learners to pick-and-chose only those modules and topics of importance to them.
Compare this with classroom training (the most common alternative) and the results are reversed. It is easier to tailor the delivery to meeting specific needs, but it is much harder to schedule at a time best for every learner, or, to allow learners to ‘dip in and out’ of sections of the course of importance and relevance to them.
Perhaps surprisingly then, eLearning scores an impressive 2 out of 3, whereas classroom training, often perceived as the preferred learning mode, only scores 1 out of 3. So, why is it that eLearning is not more favoured with more learners? In my view, this is much down to poor design or, just plain and simply, poor courses. If eLearning courses were actually classroom courses then more than half of them would be in the bin from day one. eLearning is somewhat a victim of its own success. At Course-Source we have curated the ‘best of the best’ of the extensive range and choices for off-the-shelf eLearning content for business use.
Perhaps it is now time for a new WJ3 goal:
‘Well-Designed, Just-in-Time, Just-Enough, Just-for-Me’