Commonly Asked eLearning Questions


Q: What is e-learning?


A: eLearning is the name given to all training and education which takes place through an electronic medium. eLearning may be delivered via the Internet or an intranet, CD or DVD. There are several forms of eLearning: online training or Web-Based Training (WBT), Computer-Based Training (CBT), simulations or learning games. There are two main types of e-learning - self-directed learning, meaning that learners can use whenever it is convenient for them and progress at their own pace, and scheduled or synchronous learning, meaning that it must be taken at a particular time with an instructor and/or other learners.


Q: What are the main advantages of e-learning?


A: Both self-directed and scheduled e-learning offer the following advantages:

  • Scalability – e-learning helps organizations to carry out training quickly and easily, regardless of the number of employees or learners participating. Training 5,000 employees would take no more resources than training 10. It allows training solutions to grow with a company while remaining highly cost effective.
  • Accessibility – it gives the possibility to learn at geographically large distance from your instructor or training team. It enables more users to participate in the training program, and is especially beneficial to organizations with remote employees or multiple locations.
  • Reduced Travel Costs – users learn wherever they are located. The only thing they need is their computer and internet access. Without the need for students or a trainer to travel, the associated costs are greatly reduced.
  • Process Automation – e-learning automates much of the administration, reporting and other duties associated with managing a training program, thereby freeing up the time of training administrators and instructors.
  • Consistency – e-learning provides the ability to easily ensure consistency in training throughout the organisation, as well as provide a vehicle for easy reinforcement training.
  • Self-directed e-learning offers some extra advantages:
    • Less Disruptive to Workflow – users start the learning process when it fits into their schedule, rather than when the instructor is available.
    • Reduces Overall Training Time – according to statistics, self-directed e-learning allows to reduce the time required to reach the learning objectives by 50-80% in comparison with traditional classroom education.
    • Personalization - users adhere to their individual learning pace that allows them to progress at the speed at which the best gain knowledge. Additionally, learning plans and access to courses can be customized to the specific needs of each student, rather than taking a ‘one size fits all’ approach when providing training.
    • Frees Up Instructor Time – self-directed e-learning frees time for instructors to concentrate on tasks that demand face-to-face interaction.


Q: What is ‘Asynchronous eLearning’ ?


A: Asynchronous eLearning is another term form ‘self-directed’ e-learning. Self-directed e-learning permits users to take part according to their schedule and to move from one exercise to another at their own pace.


Q: What is ‘Blended Learning’?


A: Blended learning means that two or more training methods are being used to provide users with a wide range of learning experiences. Blended learning most often refers to courses that include both self-directed e-learning and traditional Instructor-Led Training components. Blended learning may also involve other forms of training such as scheduled e-learning, on-the-job training, print materials, coaching or e-tutoring.


Q: What is Computer-Based Training (CBT)?


A: CBT is e-learning that is provided via CD, DVD or specific workstations dedicated to training.. The two main challenges that are associated with CBT are that of keeping materials easily up to date, and ensuring that learners have access to the appropriate CD/DVD or workstation. CBT is becoming less popular as Web-Based Training (WBT) solves both of these challenges.


Q: What is Distance Learning or Distance Education?


A: Distance Education is frequently used to refer to higher education that is provided remotely via different services such as conference calls, video or satellite broadcasts, web-meetings, written correspondence, self-directed exercises and e-learning. Many post-secondary educations are moving to e-learning as their main format for delivering distance education.


Q: What is Distributed Learning?


A: Distributed Learning is a form of Distance Education that highlights the preference of the use of technology over traditional written correspondence.


Q: What is eTutoring?


A: Electronic Tutoring or eTutoring enables students learning remotely e-learning to access a mentor or tutor via email, conference calls or web-meetings.


Q: What are Immersive Learning Simulations (ILS)?


A: Immersive Learning Simulations or ILS are simulators that are used to assist learners to figure out complex concepts and processes. Immersive Learning Simulations may also be referred to as learning games or exercises.


Q: What is Instructor-Led Training (ILT)?


A: ILT is the term used to differentiate traditional learning techniques where an instructor is present to provide training. It is usually referred to training held at a particular physical location (such as in a class), but may also be applied to scheduled e-learning events in which an instructor is participating.


Q: What is a Job Aid?


A: A job aid is reference information that gives learners critical data that cannot be easily remembered, in a format that is accessible to them while on the job. Job aids give users the opportunity to quickly access information such as procedures, specifications, product codes. These can take the form of easily accessible electronic files or web-pages, or hard copy printed materials.


Q: What are Learning Games?


A: Learning games are interactive, engaging training tools that are used to assist learners in understanding complex processes and ideas. Learning games are sometimes referred to as learning exercises or Immersive Learning Simulations (ILS).


Q: What is a Learning Management System (LMS)?


A: A LMS is a software system designed to manage, track, and quantify all of the training, continuing education, employee development, certification and other learning activities within an organization.


Q: Who Use Learning Management Systems (LMS)?


Organizations implement a learning management system because they’re committed to continued learning, development and knowledge transfer for employees, external and internal customers. Knowledge and expertise is a powerful edge in today’s complex business climate.


Q: What types of learning can be managed by an LMS?


A: LMS-managed training can be delivered online, in the classroom, in clients’ offices, onsite at customer facilities. It can be deployed via computer-based training like CD-ROM and DVD, or in a blended approach that combines in-person and self paced learning, or in live classes. The LMS can track training in all these different ways as well.


Q: What is an Learning Content Management System (LCMS)?


A: An LCMS is focused purely on managing and delivering the appropriate e-learning content for users when they need it. The Learning Content Management System provides an infrastructure that can be used to rapidly create, modify, manage, and deliver training content for a wide range of learning to meet the needs of rapidly changing business requirements. The LCMS can use its detailed data on learner scores, question choices, and navigation habits to give content managers crucial information on the effectiveness of the content when combined with specific instructional strategies, delivery technologies, and learner preferences.


Q: What is the Difference Between a LMS and a LCMS?


A: A Learning Management System (LMS) is focused on providing access to training, tracking learner results and metrics, and a host of other tasks associated with the administration and management of a training program. A Learning Content Management System (LCMS), however is concerned with created the electronic course content that is delivered via the LMS. Today most LMS platforms include an LCMS component which allows trainers to created and edit course content. That said, it is important that you understand if your LMS does have LCMS functionality prior to purchasing it. If it does not, you will have no way of getting web-based training content into your Learning Management System (LSM) other than by purchasing them from a third-party vendor of course content.


Q: What is Online Training (OLT)?


A: OLT refers specifically e-learning delivered via the Internet. This term is often used interchangeable with Web-Based Training (WBT).


Q: What is SCORM?


A: SCORM is an acronym for Sharable Content Object Reference Model. These are a number of specifications that resulted from the US Department of Defence’s Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) initiative. SCORM is a special form of packaging and marking e-learning elements in a way that they can connect with Learning Management Systems (LMS) and be used as building blocks in a vast number of courses. This is the main standard used today in the packaging and delivery of web-based e-learning courses.


Q: What is a Subject Matter Expert (SME)?


A: The acronym SME is used to refer to an expert in a specific topic of e-learning course content. The SME will often be the author of the e-learning course and in some e-learning models is available to learners in a ‘eCoaching’ or ‘eMentoring’ role to provide them with support and answer questions.


Q What is Synchronous Learning?


A: Synchronous Learning is a term for an e-learning event where cooperation happens at the same time in real-time. It demands that users attend the event at particular time and usually has an instructor or Subject Matter Expert (SME) present. It often will incorporate a teleconference portion with training. This is also knows as Scheduled Learning.


Q: What is Web-Based Training (WBT)?


A: WBT is e-learning specifically provided via the Internet, rather than at a designated ‘training workstation’, via CD/DVD or other forms of e-learning. It is also referred to as Online Training (OLT).


Q: Is e-learning as Efficient as Instructor-Led Training?


A: Many studies have been made to compare the efficiency of e-learning and Instructor-Led Training. The results show that in the majority of cases e-learning, when it is properly developed, is as effective as Instructor-Led Training, if not more so. As with any method of training, its success depends on the quality of the training provided. It must be informative, interactive, and engaging.


Q: Is Implementing eLearning Expensive?


A: When all cost factors (such as trainers’ time, learners’ time, lost productivity and travel expenses, amongst others) are taken into consideration, e-learning has been shown to reduce the overall expenditure on employee training by an average of 50% over traditional Instructor-Led Training. Additionally e-learning is usually able to be developed, implemented and delivered in a much shorter time span than the equivalent Instructor-Led Training.


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