Synchronous vs asynchronous elearning

DeliveryFormats_1In today’s elearning environment the type of learning that takes place is generally divided into one of two categories: synchronous and asynchronous. Both strategies have their own pros and cons, and the technique that is right for a student greatly depends upon their method of absorbing the information that is being provided.

What is synchronous learning?

Examples of synchronous elearning are online chat and videoconferencing. Any learning tool that is in real-time, such as instant messaging that allows students and teachers to ask and answer questions immediately, is synchronous. Rather than learning on their own students who participate in synchronous learning courses are able to interact with other students and their teachers during the lesson.

The main benefit of synchronous learning is that Continue reading

A brief history of elearning (infographic)

teaching-machineThe term “elearning” has only been in existence since 1999, when the word was first utilized at a CBT systems seminar. Other words also began to spring up in search of an accurate description such as “online learning” and “virtual learning”. However, the principles behind elearning have been well documented throughout history, and there is even evidence which suggests that early forms of elearning existed as far back as the 19th century.

An elearning timeline

Long before the internet was launched, distance courses were being offered to provide students with education on particular subjects or skills. In the 1840’s Isaac Pitman taught his pupils shorthand via correspondence. This form of symbolic writing was designed to improve writing speed and was popular amongst secretaries, journalists, and other individuals who did a great deal of note taking or writing. Pitman, who was a qualified teacher, was sent completed assignments by his students via the mail system and he would then send them more work to be finished.

In 1924, the first testing machine was invented. This device allowed students to tests themselves. Then, in 1954, BF Skinner, a Harvard Professor, invented the “teaching machine”, which enabled schools to administer programmed instruction to their students. It wasn’t until 1960 however that the first computer based training program was introduced to the world. Continue reading

Online training best practices

Best practice pinned on noticeboardOnline learning can offer a wide range of benefits. However, the knowledge that a student is able to acquire this way depends upon not only the course material that is offered but also the practices used to provide them with the necessary information. Here are just a few of the best practices of online training which help to better facilitate the elearning process.

A supportive elearning environment and community. Teachers and elearning establishments should encourage a strong sense of community amongst their online students. This will enable students to interact with one another and the instructors, as well as with the resources provided, which will make for an enhanced educational experience.

Clear expectations between pupil and teacher. Students should be aware of what they will be receiving from the virtual class instruction, and both parties should know the preferred method of communication and delivery of the core curriculum. For example, a teacher may prefer to email assignments to students, while another might choose to deliver it via the elearning site instead. Also, it’s best to have clear expectations about how long each item of coursework should take to complete. Continue reading

eFront: a usable LMS

Recently Wyver Solutions Ltd. reviewed eFront LMS. The following article has been reposted from the Wyver Solutions blog. The original article may be found here.

For straightforward, content-based online learning eFront is hard to beat.

We’ve been spending quite a bit of time recently with eFront. It comes from the team at Epignosis who have also brought us TalentLMS (a fantastically user-friendly, cloud-based basic learning management system).

eFront is the older brother of TalentLMS, and is designed to support a more tutor-led, social approach to online learning.

Four key, stand-out features are:

  • A really clean user interface, which draws a lot on modern techniques like AJAX
  • A Facebook-like chat box, that sits at the bottom of your screeneFront with chat box open

eFront with chat box open Continue reading