The evolution of eLearning and how it's changed business training

In a short amount of time, the internet has grown to play an unmistakably large role in the way the world operates on a daily basis. Most notably, this technological and societal shift has impacted the way we learn and grasp information. 

Gone are the days where traditional learning - which solely focuses on theory, classroom learning and on the job training will suffice. With eLearning, organizations are able to better train their staff in an engaging way, leading to improved staff performance and decreased business costs. In recent studies, simulation and scenario-based eLearning methods have proven to be particularly beneficial for organization training efforts.
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Simulation and scenario-based eLearning allows organizations to:

  1. Create engaging and effective training experiences

  2. Adapt learning to styles most relevant to the learner

  3. Provide actionable feedback to the learner as they learn

  4. Train staff anywhere, anytime, at their own speed

  5. Deliver training that is free from trainer bias or omission

  6. Be more certain that learners are truly job-ready

  7. Increase staff performance, satisfaction and retention

Below, we uncover the details of this evolution, and how eLearning's monumental journey has come to change the core of how smart businesses train staff. 

History of eLearning

To truly understand eLearning, we first take you on its creation and progression journey... what it is and where it's going. 
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What is eLearning?

In its simplest definition, eLearning is training content hosted on an online platform. With it, learners have access to a large amount of information and can distribute learning content and test learner understanding.

eLearning provides a variety of benefits to all who use it - learners, trainers and organizations. Its convenience and flexibility mean resources are available for solo learning. It also promotes active and independent learning as learners are able to train according to their personal learning styles. A one-size-fits-all method of traditional learning is no longer suitable in an ever-changing society. And, being able to learn on a day to day basis develops confidence in learners, leading to increased staff engagement and retention.

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Where is eLearning going?

With technological advancements and instant access to the internet at your fingertips, eLearning has shifted toward self-guided engagement. It has embraced mobile devices and become a vital component to business training, specifically in mission-critical businesses and high-consequence industries.
 
Since evolving from the monolithic Learning Management Systems (LMS) of old, eLearning has become more engaging, learner-friendly and flexible, proving to be beneficial to most organizations as learners are increasingly able to acquire a wide range of important information and knowledge. Organizations are able to test recall of that knowledge and measure completion of training, which helps to fulfill compliance-driven training needs. Adoption has grown quickly, especially in the corporate sector, with 40% of Fortune 500 companies utilizing eLearning. Various sectors have adopted eLearning broadly, with banking, health care, education, services and government being the most prominent.

Shortfalls for learners

Traditional methods of training are no longer working in the digital age. Firstly, there's a lack of engagement wi...
Traditional methods of training are no longer working in the digital age. Firstly, there's a lack of engagement with learning activities, which is leading to poor retention. Secondly, cognitive overload during training will cause reduced comprehension. Finally, the disconnected approach to theory and practice often ends up with a learner’s inability to apply the theory in a practical context. When learners are left disengaged due to training gaps, the learning program developed by the trainer has failed and on-the-job performance is likely to be below standards.
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Shortfalls for trainers

For trainers, traditional learning tends to be risky, costly, ineffective and inflexible. For example, in a tradit...
For trainers, traditional learning tends to be risky, costly, ineffective and inflexible. For example, in a traditional learning environment, an individual could be physically present in the classroom, but mentally absent, and the trainer would be none the wiser. The result of this would only reflect in test scores at the end of the course, which is a lot of time, resource and effort lost. Worse still, learners’ true understanding and capability may only emerge in hands-on training or on the job, which can have deadly repercussions in high-consequence industries.
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The effects on organizations

In the past, employees have always learned the necessary skills on the job - which meant the career itself was a j...
In the past, employees have always learned the necessary skills on the job - which meant the career itself was a journey of learning. However, the disruption in learning in the digital age has become a catalyst for radical change that many savvy businesses have identified and sought to resolve. Organizations are therefore emphasizing the need for a growing learning and development program so their learners can perform their jobs effectively, and reduce the risk of massive failures. These failures can range greatly, from a loss of life, profit or legal issues.
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Can you integrate eLearning with your current training program?

There are several benefits of supplementing existing training programs with eLearning. Many companies have well established traditional training programs that direct their onboarding processes. Whether these programs have been the most valuable, is another question.
 
eLearning can boost an existing training program to bring even more value when training new hires or upskilling staff, which is often called ‘blended learning’. Practical training programs and assessments can improve theory application to ensure learners grasp the knowledge required before they are put into real-life scenarios. This is particularly important in mission-critical organizations where a gap in training can lead to dangerous consequences.

Some benefits include:

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Enhanced abilities

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Increased retention

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Better transparency

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Greater flexiblity

How to transition to an eLearning training method

Implementing an eLearning program in an organization requires several steps to be successful.  Depending on what program you currently have in place, what type of industry your organization is in and the needs of your learners, these processes can be varied - but here are the steps you can begin with:
 
Step 1: Set clear objectives for your organization.
Step 2: Create an implementation plan and business presentation. 
Step 3: Assign advocates or team leaders to further engage employees.
Step 4: Set up a communication and tracking strategy.
Find out more on how to integrate, here.
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What is simulation learning?

The term simulation means different things to different people. However in this application, simulation learning (SML) is a technique for practice and learning that can be applied to many different disciplines and trainees. It replaces and amplifies real-life experiences with guided ones, and are “immersive” in nature, i.e. the simulated environment replicates real life very closely. This evokes or duplicates substantial aspects of the real world in a fully interactive fashion.

Take pilot training for example. Flight simulators allow pilots of all experiences to practice or learn new maneuvers that could potentially save an entire flight. The simulation allows pilots to practice safely and repeatedly until they feel confident with their procedures.

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The benefits of simulation eLearning

Simulation learning gives trainers the ability to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of their learners while protecting them from unnecessary risks. It also gives learners a platform to learn, mitigate and resolve issues - improving their decision-making skills. Simulation learning comes with many benefits, but most importantly, the ability to practice real-life scenarios with no consequence gives learners a personalized and authentic experience, preparing them thoroughly for when they tackle situations in real life. This is particularly important for practicing and perfecting procedural skills that need to be deployed to a high standard in high-consequence industries.

Learn more about how Simulation learning could work for your business.

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What is scenario-based eLearning?

Scenario-based eLearning (“SBeL”) supports active learning by putting the learner into branching scenarios, or interactive forms of learning that challenge the learner to make decisions before then presenting the consequences. This unguided problem solving is based on the principle that learning best takes place in the context in which it is going to be used, resulting in productive failures (making mistakes and learning from the consequences).

SBeL presents a compelling and a more interactive style of skill-based training. This full engagement captures the attention of the learners, and in the process of learning, they must apply their subject knowledge, and critical thinking and problem-solving skills in a safe, real-world context. 

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The benefits of scenario-based eLearning

Scenario-based eLearning is especially effective when used to simulate real-world practice - practice which can be particularly vital in mission-critical organizations that can’t afford to make a mistake. It allows learners to make better decisions based on the knowledge they have gained through their experience and also through the training as the learning goal for many organizations is to increase both the employees’ and the company’s productivity. Therefore the investment in learning has to pay off as the learner has to learn and apply his new knowledge and skills.

In the fast-paced world that is the modern workplace, organizations need to place more emphasis on growing learning and development programs in order for their people to perform their jobs most effectively and reduce unnecessary risks. With the evolution of technology, scenario and simulation-based eLearning will only continue to improve how organizations train their staff.
 
Learning solutions like SimTutor are evolving as the superior training method in businesses all over the world. SimTutor offers one-on-one, tailored instruction that businesses need in order to employ a capable workforce.

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