Lorena Klingel is a learning expert who has been working in corporate learning for over 20 years. Lorena recently founded a digital training solutions organization, Learn to Flourish. For more information, visit www.learntoflourish.com. This article is the first installment in a two-part series discussing learning with Lorena.
What does Learn to Flourish do?
Innovative and growing businesses hire us to create digital training solutions for their organizations. We have an amazing team of experts in instructional design, audio, video, multimedia, graphic design and project management so that we can bring a full solution and a team approach to our projects.
What is e-learning? Could you give a few examples of e-learning?
E-learning is any learning that is delivered electronically. It could be online courses, videos, e-books, educational websites, and even podcasts.
When did e-learning emerge as a popular form of learning and how did it help revolutionize how people learn?
The use of technology in learning has been around for a very long time. My first experience with e-learning was in the 90s on an SAP implementation. On this project, we were publishing help documentation on the client’s intranet site. These were step-by-step reference guides. At the time, this blew everybody away that you could have reference documentation online.
Since then, e-learning has evolved so much. In today’s world, we’re all online and we expect our learning to be available digitally.
What are the differences between instructor-led training and e-learning?
Instructor-led training is an effective strategy for smaller groups of learners and, especially, if they’re present at a single location. It’s great for audiences that aren’t comfortable with the use of technology and for content and audiences that require a highly personal touch. Many people consider it a work benefit to be able to leave their desks and go away for in-person training programs so it’s a great way to get focused time and attention on learning. It also provides the ability to socialize and interact with others while learning something new at the same time. However, it is very expensive for organizations with the costs associated with travel, possibly setting up training classrooms, and, most importantly, having their employees away from their work.
On the other hand, e-learning is the best option when there are a lot of people who need training and they are geographically dispersed. E-learning is a flexible solution that allows people to access the information they need anywhere, anytime. If it’s designed well, it allows the learner to control their own learning path and engages all the different types of learners, whether visual, audio, or kinesthetic. It’s a great solution for busy people living in a world of technology.
How do you design effective learning programs?
There are some things that you need to keep in mind no matter what type of learning program you are developing. Training needs to be relevant to the learner. People learn best when they need the information or skill. They learn best when information is presented in small chunks. And they learn very well when they can apply what they’re learning—when they can have action and then apply the information and skills immediately in a realistic way. They also learn better when they can experience an emotional connection to the content. These key concepts should be used whether you’re designing learning for online or a classroom. Overall, the most important thing is to know your audience, what their needs are, and their preferences.
Personally, I believe that all organizations should use a blended approach in their overall strategy. Blended learning solutions usually combine the approaches of classroom training, e-learning, and support. E-learning can be a huge cost-saving opportunity for an organization and it can be used to accelerate the distribution of knowledge. But human beings need interaction. They need community and mentorship in order to learn and grow and thrive. Therefore, high performing organizations use solutions that blend all of these different components.