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Online learning, is it worth it?

by Paul Eldridge5 minute read

In the past, when we thought about studying, no doubt we had visions of driving to a campus or a venue each day, having to purchasing text books and resources.

Then there is the issue of fitting our day around class timetables. Many of us have experienced sitting through a boring lecture delivered by someone reading directly from the manual and droning on for hours. No doubt a few of us cringe at the thought of putting up with fellow students who, given a choice, we probably wouldn’t hang around with normally.

 

With the introduction of online learning (eLearning), many of these issues are no longer relevant. We can say good bye to the boring lecturer and disruptive classmates. Importantly though, not all online learning is the same. Some RTO’s and colleges view eLearning as simply cutting and pasting their content from their manual up to a web page and adding a few static images which means you have replaced the boring lecturer and swapped them with an worse experience – simply reading copious pages of text with just a few images to break up the monotony. This is not good eLearning.

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Quality eLearning should be interactive and engaging. You should experience learning in a way that meets your individual learning preference. If you’re an adult learner, it should treat you like an adult.

What are the benefits of good eLearning?

• It’s convenient, you can study anywhere at any time so it fits around your lifestyle rather than forcing you to structure your life around study commitments.
• It’s self-paced, you chose how often and how long you study for.
• It’s engaging, it stimulates your thought process, it presents information in a variety of mediums (video, audio, podcasts, website links, activities, etc.)
• It can also be very cost effective as you don’t have to travel and park and the college doesn’t have to provide you with rooms and pay trainers to be in a classroom all these savings typically get passed on to you in the form of cheaper study fees than classroom based programs.

Who chooses online study?

• Those working full-time and who don’t have the ability to take days off to attend classroom
• People who want the flexibility to study at their own pace in their own time
• Those who are uncomfortable in a class room environment where they feel they may be left behind by those who grasp concepts faster than they do
• People looking to formalise skill sets and knowledge they already have.
What’s this Blended Learning I hear about?


Blended learning means the learning is delivered to the student in a variety of formats. A common form of blended learning is one which combines a few classroom days to cover topics that are best presented in a classroom environment (e.g. role plays or heavily communication dependant activities) with the rest of the learning being delivered online. The online component in a best practice environment would consist of some self-paced learning supported by some instructor led web-tutorials and/or discussion forums.
The blended approach gives the student the best of both worlds. There is some classroom time which enables the student to interact with the lecturer and fellow students where this is important for the learning outcome. And then there is the online component which allows the student to learn at their own pace.

Intellitrain’s approach to online learning includes web-tutorials in small groups with a ‘live’ trainer as well as self-paced interactive learning modules. Each module requires around a $10,000 investment and with 15 in a Diploma that represents a large investment in building an eLearning course. Worth it? Our completion rate is above 90% which compared with the industry average completion rate of 47% clearly shows that building a quality engaging learning experience is paying dividends for us and our students.

paul eldridge

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