eLearning and mLearning Development
Education methods have come a long way and you are no longer required to sit in a classroom to receive quality instruction. Modern technology has created alternative learning methods that allow students to learn outside of a traditional classroom. eLearning and mLearning are two such methods that take advantage of new capabilities to deliver educational content around the world through the Internet.
What is eLearning?
eLearning is short for electronic learning and the term first appeared professionally in 1999. eLearning only exists because of the rise of the Internet and affordable digital devices. Without those two basic blocks, the rest of eLearning could not develop. Learning management systems and forever advancing multimedia capabilities have allowed eLearning to flourish. With eLearning, students use an Internet-connected device to view and interact with educational content ranging from videos to games and audio lectures.
What is mLearning?
mLearning stands for mobile learning where a learner receives their educational content through a mobile device like a smartphone. mLearning first started appearing in Google search trends in 2005 and has since become a fixture in modern education methods. mLearning can be seen as a subcategory to eLearning as learning from a mobile device is still done through the Internet, but mLearning content looks and functions very differently than eLearning content.
What are the Differences Between eLearning and mLearning?
eLearning and mLearning may seem similar since both methods deliver learning content online, but the content each method specializes in make them different. eLearning content can cover a wide variety of content as laptop and desktop screens are generally large enough to handle complex material without the learner missing details. eLearning courses or classes range between 20-60 minutes, but mLearning content is 10 minutes max. mLearning is designed for quick consumption on the go while eLearning is designed to mimic a longer class setting where topics can be expanded and discussed in detail.
Imagine you are trying to train a new airplane pilot remotely using eLearning and mLearning. Many eLearning components need the increased power of a full computer, so you would use eLearning to teach longer complex lessons or run flight simulations. mLearning would be useful for letting the new pilot quickly review pre-flight checklists on the go.
eLearning Development: Important for Employees and Managers
eLearning is an educational method that offers many benefits for all learners: employees and managers alike. Those taught through eLearning are not forced to travel to receive training, they can learn at their own pace, and independently review the material as needed. Managers that supply eLearning training benefit from lower costs, progress tracking, and a centralized knowledge base.
Employees trained with eLearning are not forced to travel to a classroom. Even if the trip to the classroom was only across town, that is time and money the employee no longer must waste. Since eLearning content is entirely digital, employees can sit down to learn whenever they have time from the comfort of their own offices or homes. If a learner does not fully understand a lesson, they can review the material on their own without slowing down the rest of the students by asking the teacher to reexplain a topic. eLearning gives employees the freedom to learn on their own time from any location which makes the training process less stressful and easier to navigate.
eLearning is often seen as beneficial for learners, but the managers supplying new employees with eLearning training also benefit. eLearning does not require employees to convene in a physical classroom, so the manager isn’t tasked with organizing and paying for a classroom, physical instructor, and accommodations for employees that travel long distances. Paying for an eLearning service is much less expensive than in-person training. Managers can also track employee’s progress through eLearning courses with analytics showing each student’s performance in reports. eLearning also creates a centralized knowledge base so when the business needs to train more employees, new courses can be created, and old ones can be updated to quickly onboard new employees.
There is a great deal of variation within eLearning content. Two courses can both be delivered online but contain quite different content styles and education methods. Some courses rely heavily on video while others may prefer a text-based approach. The strategy behind eLearning content often determines what type of media the course will use.
Video lectures most closely replicate a traditional classroom setting where the learner watches a pre-recorded video of the instructor explaining the lesson. Video courses can be augmented with pop-up questions or small games to reinforce the lesson while increasing student engagement. Video lectures should be paired with multimedia content to avoid the problem of boring talking-heads.
Text-based eLearning is common as many learning management systems have catalogs of books, articles, studies, and other documents. Learning through reading can be effective, but many learners find this strategy uninteresting. eReading materials help build a large knowledge base that learners can go back to at any time but avoid using only text-based lessons to keep learners engaged.
For jobs that require training for specific interactions, computer simulations can help prepare a new employee for the real situation with no risk. A customer service phone operator could practice calls with a simulation so they can practice answers to common questions and prepare for challenging calls. Simulations can mimic a vast range of situations from mechanical maintenance procedures to flying a plane. Simulations are especially important for practicing tasks that are dangerous if performed by someone without the proper skills.
Implementing eLearning & mLearning Strategies
Successfully implementing eLearning and mLearning strategies require careful planning and consideration. The end goal of implementing an eLearning or mLearning course will greatly affect the complexity of the implementation plan. If you want to train new employees on basic job functions, the implementation plan will be rather straight forward. However, if your goal is to raise the overall skill level of all employees, you will need a custom plan for each employee with different levels of qualifications. Before you launch a new digital learning course, the content must pass a test run to ensure there are no technical hiccups or inaccurate information that could negatively impact learners. Once learners have their hands on a new course, monitor their progress to track the course efficiency and conduct a learner survey once the course has finished to further refine the experience.
eLearning and mLearning can be fantastic tools for businesses and employees. Managing and maximizing these training tools takes planning and SkillSource Learning’s professional digital learning consultants can help you craft the perfect plan. Click here to learn more.
We have developers with expertise in authoring tools, including:
- Articulate Storyline
- Articulate Studio
- Articulate 360
- And more…
Activities That Our Developers Typically Perform
- Creating storyboarding templates for development.
- Creating highly engaging interactions and animations.
- Creating games, simulations, and videos that improve engagement, motivation, and performance.
- Designing the interface and prototypes.
- Designing and implementing microlearning that is short, focused, and impactful.
- Programming and testing eLearning courseware.
- Training internal employees on authoring tools and software.