Our Thinking


Today’s Range of e-Learning Solutions

Luke Kempski

Training leaders today need to consider a wide range of e-Learning and blended learning approaches to accomplish their objectives. Frequently, I see organizations use rapidly developed e-Learning modules as the solution to all learning needs. Others may conduct all of their training in the classroom or through Web-Ex or some other single approach. At the same time, I often read purists lambast rapidly developed learning modules while advocating for full-blown simulations for almost every need. While each approach – including new ones such as social learning – can be appropriate, each learning goal deserves special consideration.

Considerations when searching for the best e-Learning solution

Most of us try to align the right approach with the learning need. We want to know the targeted learner, the size of the population, the subject matter, the value of the learning, the longevity of the training need and whether there is existing, agreed-upon documentation as we select an approach or blend of approaches. We also evaluate the time, budget, technology infrastructure and potential return on investment before proposing a solution.

But let’s face it, not all training is of equal value. A rapidly developed learning module that teaches our armed forces how to detect land mines is not the best approach, nor would it be for teaching members of the Federal Reserve how to identify conditions that could lead to a financial meltdown. Now that would be a valuable simulation!

On the other hand, using a learning game or simulation to teach a cell phone representative about a new feature is not worth the time and expense. A rapidly developed module may be all that is necessary to provide an effective, economical learning solution, and one that is much more valuable than no training at all.

Expanding your range of e-Learning options

Never before have training leaders needed to consider so many options. While many of us have become comfortable with producing rapidly developed e-Learning modules, we are probably less knowledgeable about the possibilities, challenges and opportunities for using learning games and simulations.

One way to increase your knowledge of learning simulations and games is to participate in the Learning and Entertainment Evolution Forum (LEEF) at Harrisburg University on June 17th and 18th. The forum will feature real world case studies, high tech demos and keynotes that will give you ideas for how simulations, games and virtual worlds can be used to address critical and ongoing learning needs.

I’m often asked by training leaders what we’re doing with e-Learning that’s taking it to the next level. Usually I talk about a learning game or simulation that we recently developed. They are the most challenging projects and the most fun to talk about. They can also be the best solution for some learning needs. Please share your thoughts on how you choose the best approach to address a learning need.

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