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Saturday, November 08, 2014

The Mindful Approach to E-Learning

Andrea Park, former intern at Chief Learning Officer writes, "To take advantage of the many perks inherent to e-learning and to implement various virtual options in the marketplace, learning leaders must approach technology mindfully."

Photo: Chief Learning Officer

“We can’t avoid powerful, technology-enabled learning platforms, and in fact they’re getting better and better each and every year in terms of their ability to engage learners,” said Mary Campbell, assistant vice president of talent and organizational effectiveness at the University of Southern California. “But we need to enable technology, help it evolve and figure out as an organization, as a group of co-workers, how to get better and better at this.”
Campbell said one major issue is the generation gap. While the emergent workforce is quite comfortable with technology, older generations may have a bigger challenge getting comfortable with new modalities like virtual learning She recommends organizations first identify whether this issue applies to their workforce, and if it does, develop initiatives such as reverse mentoring to make adopting virtual learning practices easier for workers of all ages.
Engagement also can be an obstacle with e-learning. When learning takes place alone, it may seem difficult to draw in employees as effectively as if they were surrounded by their peers and in face-to-face communication with a teacher. Ken Barber, manager of learning and development at Jiffy Lube International Inc., oversees Jiffy Lube University and has witnessed countless attempts to engage learners. He said the first step is to keep each virtual lesson to about two hours.
The learning platform itself also plays a crucial role in engagement. “A quality platform can almost duplicate what happens in a real classroom — putting people into breakout groups and doing practice role-plays,” he said.
The instructors are important, too. They must be properly trained on how to use the platform, in designing the course and in delivering the course virtually in a way that is engaging, interactive and keeps the student a part of the process. Barber said facilitators actually play a more significant role in virtual learning because engagement is more elusive in impersonal e-learning situations.

Source: Chief Learning Officer

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