|Photo: Ralph La Fontaine|
Take the UK’s Victorian education system, for example. By and large, learning today is still carried out the way it always was - an authority figure at the front of a room, delivering a monologue to students, with time for Q&A if you’re lucky.
That is why, despite the emergence of electronic learning techniques, many still wonder if elearning is “as good as” the supposed exemplar of classroom learning.
Well, it is time to say elearning is not “as good as” classroom learning - it is far better.
Even in professional learning and development, people typically still see electronic delivery as a poor cousin to face-to-face, and it is often mainly used to deliver uninspiring content, like simply clicking through a series of slides on compliance training.
But things are changing.
1. Technology has been proven to work
During the financial crisis, businesses began to see what elearning really has to offer. Out of necessity, many started cutting back on business travel expenses, instead beginning to choose remote, digitally-delivered learning courses online, rather than on-site or at training centres. We have since seen a huge uplift in the numbers of businesses moving in the same direction.
And why not? Whilst earlier elearning tools were stilted and awkward, modern platforms have found the knack to making the technology blend into the background, letting the content take centre-stage. Now it’s all just learning. In fact, freed from the tyranny of too much technology, people have found a way to learn multi-modally, moving in and out of the “real” and “digital” worlds.
2. Remoteness powers individual preferences
In recent years, a lot has been written on how individual learners each have different “learning styles” that must be catered to. Much of this theory has now been debunked - but that doesn’t mean students don’t still have distinct characteristics, and even physiologies, that can hinder or help their learning.
For instance, neuroscience research has shown that blood sugar levels present in the body can impact workers’ decision-making. Learners who are less energetic may be automatically disadvantaged, performing worse in workplace group training or tests at times of the day that are incompatible with their sugar digestion.