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

Partner story: FusedLearning

We recently had the pleasure of speaking with eFront partner FusedLearning. FusedLearning is a learning solutions provider that offers technology and services in learning management and mobile education – and FusedLearning has partnered with Epignosis and eFront Learning to offer comprehensive online learning business solutions.

With eFront, FusedLearning is able to provide organizations in the United States access to a LMS that addresses vital training requirements for small, medium and large organizations and educational institutions that is easy to use and yet provides access to IT staff to tailor the LMS to their organizations needs.

“Prior to teaming up with eFront, we reviewed over 5 other top LMS companies and none had the ease-of-use, flexibility and growth capabilities that eFront provides out of the box.”

To read more check out our Partner story on Slideshare:

Part 1: Using Facebook as a learning platform

facebook-for-learningLet’s start this post by stating that Facebook was not actually created as a learning platform, it can however clearly be used to enhance and support elearning. Facebook is STILL the most convenient way to get connected to friends, get updated on existing friends, find new people, build relationships and express identities – so the big Facebook advantage is that your audience is most definitely there. Facebook makes it easy to network and interact with other virtual students, and because most people know how to use Facebook they don’t need to become familiar with a new platform.

It’s also relatively easy to create apps for Facebook, making it a great canvas for developers to add cool new functionality and get users involved pretty quickly. We have written about Facebook apps for elearning before in this post!

For those interested in using Facebook with students the following links may be of use: [Resource: Facebook as an “interactive learning resource”?]

1) Stephen Heppell: Using Facebook in the Classroom This page outlines the dos and don’ts of using Facebook with students. Examples include the following (and much more):

  • Do – build a separate teacher page for your “teacher” presence.
  • Do – keep your teacher and personal page very separate
  • Do – post pictures of school/lessons/trips – even diagrams you put on the board (snap them with your phone and post them) – it reminds students that you are there, generates a pride in the school and reminds them that this is not a vacuous space!
  • Don’t – ‘friend’ students yourself – not even as your “teacher” presence.
  • Don’t – accept complete ignorance of Facebook as an excuse for dangerous school policies like blanket bans. Instead offer to be an action researcher, and try it out for a year. Continue reading

eLearning in Australia

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Lee Corbett, Chief Executive at simply elearning. She has years of experience in the elearning market in Australia and was the perfect person to gain some insight on what’s happening Down Under.

1.    Please tell us a little about yourself and your organization

I have been in the elearning and VET sector training world since 2000 when I was engaged by Southbank Institute of TAFE in their Engineering faculty. I have held several committee positions nationally, mainly in the telecommunications and electronics industry skilling areas. I left TAFE in 2006 to set up an elearning department for one of the private mining RTO’s here in Queensland before starting my own business late 2007.

We are a specialised elearning content development company for the mining industry and all of the associated trade areas. We cover a lot of different facets of the sector from first aid, to plant maintenance and everything in between.

Having worked with TAFE I was familiar with a lots of LMS’s but none that wowed me.  Then after a lot of research I came across the eFront LMS. I loved the system. For a relatively complex system as far as output goes, it was very functional and for me fairly easy to understand. We matched it against the likes Blackboard, Moodle and Janison it wins hands down.

Anyway, we loved the system so much we started to refer it to our clients and the relationship with eFront has grown from there. Now with the TalentLMS on the market we are so excited about being able to provide clients in Australia with a LMS solution regardless of their size or budget. I can’t wait to see where we are in 5 years time!

2.    How would you describe the state of elearning in Australia today?

I should first clarify what I believe to be the difference between elearning and online learning. There has been a lot of resistance from trainers and educators. This is mainly due to job security rather than their dislike for elearning. Online learning (prevalent in TAFE & Universities) is merely taking paper based or video resources and putting them on the internet for students to access, download and view. Whereas true elearning is the development of training content from paper based to learner led resources. This is where you require instructional design and the ability to sit in the participants seat in front of a computer and have the content ‘talk’ to you whilst you ‘interact’ with it. This is the work that we do. We take paper based resources and we use graphical designers, instructional designers, and animators etc to build them into a ‘storybook’ of learning.

In my opinion, the elearning market in Australia is still in its infancy. Online learning is very popular with TAFE’s and Universities, but true elearning is something that the nation is still coming to terms with. Continue reading

Competition Finalist 2: Meeting Learner’s Needs

This entry was submitted by Bob Little. Bob blogs regularly and can be found on LinkedIn.

Since the 1990s, learning has been moving from “institutionalised” to ˜lifelong”; from “judgemental” to “developmental”; from “privileged” to “open access”; from “knowledge-based” to “competence-based”; from “passive” to “interactive”; from “didactic” to “facilitated and self-managed”; from “exclusive” to “inclusive”, and from “synchronous and physical” to “asynchronous and virtual”.

Learning materials can be fitted onto two continuums: tutor-directed to learner-directed and closed/ didactic to open/ heuristic. Traditional elearning fits into the “tutor-directed and closed/ didactic” parts of these continuums but more recent “web 2.0″ online learning materials are moving further way from these points, allowing learners freedom to learn by experience and from exploring other resources. Continue reading

Partner story: SDMS Ltd UK

Founded in 1990, SDMS Ltd is a specialist solutions provider (and one of the UK’s leading providers) for enterprise level personnel, recruitment and staff development management systems.

Why did they choose eFront?

SDMS Founder and Managing Director David Stevens explained,

”There are several criteria about working with other companies.  The first consideration is: do they have a product which compliments and extends what you have, and can you contribute to what they’re doing?  And the second consideration is: how easy is it to work with that other company? We chose eFront because we could answer yes to all of these criteria.”

SDMS and eFront have partnered up to provide good value online training especially to small-medium sized organizations. If you’d like to know more please check out the case study on Slideshare!

 

Competition: Love elearning & writing about it? You can win an iPad!

We would like to invite you to participate in our eLearning competition for best blog post!

The competition will take place from November 26th to Dec 17th and during that period we will accept blog entries on the following topics:

 

  • Informal learning in the workplace
  • Social learning in the workplace
  • Tablet learning
  • Performance support
  • How LMS’ save money and increase revenue
  • LMS use case studies (how has your LMS helped your business?)
  • How LMS’ help democratize learning by making it affordable to SMBs

If your topic is not covered but you would like to propose a topic in relation to elearning by all means please let us know!

During the competition period we will select the 5 best blog posts submitted and post them on the well-read eFront learning blog on December 18th. Posts will be judged according to content, relevance to topic, interest, language and expression. Blog posts must also be original and previously unpublished. The most popular post will win the competition – that is, the post with the most social shares and engagement! We will share the selected blog posts on the same day and leave them on the blog for a 3 week period from the date of posting to collect shares and comments. We will use all of our social media channels to share over the competition period!

The winner will be announced on January 10th and will be notified by email and on social media channels!

To read more and submit your blog post, please visit this page!

Customer stories: Lenzing

Background

Lenzing AG is a global market leader in the production of man-made cellulose fibers with headquarters in Austria, production sites in all major markets as well as a worldwide network of sales and marketing offices. Lenzing is the leading supplier in many business-to-business markets and supplies the global textile and nonwovens industry. The portfolio ranges from dissolving pulp, standard and specialty cellulose fibers to high-quality plastic polymer products and engineering services.

The project and its challenges

The challenge was to train over 4000 employees worldwide in a short time frame. To train them in a formal learning course wasn’t feasible and would have been a logistical nightmare which required enormous resources. Moreover, Lenzing had to

  • have an overview of which content was out of date and had to be reviewed, and
  • control the launch of the content and who passed courses.

How did eFront help? Continue reading

The new kid on the block – TalentLMS

You may have already heard the rather exciting news that TalentLMS was released on Oct 5th. Since then we’ve been bombarded with questions on how it’s different to eFront, how they complement eachother, what the benefits and features are, why you’d choose one over the other etc. so we’ve got together a two-part blog post to cover all your questions. Today we will answer your basic questions and the second post from CTO Athanasios Papagelis will come in the next week, and that will cover TalentLMS use cases and show you how, depending on your needs, you may choose TalentLMS over eFront or vice versa.

So just what is TalentLMS?

In a nutshell, TalentLMS is a handy learning platform for small and medium organizations. It’s aimed at “democratizing learning” by making premium elearning technologies affordable and accessible to all companies – no matter what the size. What’s more, TalentLMS is really simple and there is no need to install, upgrade or backup anything since everything runs from the CLOUD. Continue reading