In the present life, the internet has played an important part in ensuring that necessary information is available for both the learners and instructors. Information technology (IT) oriented learning entails utilizing the internet to gather materials that would facilitate the learning process. It helps in regulating courses in many organizations. E-learning is defined as the use of information and technology to facilitate the learning process. A journal by Arorful & Abaido (2014) was able to indicate that e-learning is a multifaceted word because different researchers have defined it differently. The authors noted that the term e-learning has transformed such that it not only encompasses online courses but also involves using technology to ensure that a course is delivered wholly or partly irrespective of permanent time and place. However, the vital point to note is that in all definitions, there is the element of information technology.
E-learning and Organizations
E-learning is becoming popular in today’s life. Notably, in 2015, an estimated 80% of cooperates utilized online services to train their employees. E-learning was used to facilitate 30% of the training. IBM, Google, Colleges, Armstrong, and Apple are among the organizations that have been found to utilize e-learning extensively to improve their performance. however, many companies are often hesitant to buy the idea of e-learning. Whenever such companies are approached to provide the advantages of using e-services, the majority of them incline their views on the potential demerits of using this mode of learning. Unarguably, everything has its good and bad side as well. Thus, this article shall discuss both sides of e-learning.
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Merits of e-learning
E-learning has many benefits to both the employees and the organization. These advantages will be reviewed under the subheadings below:
Compared to the traditional way of learning, e-learning happens to be cheaper. For instance, when business organizations employ a tutor to conduct training programs to the employees, a lot of costs are incurred. However, there is much saving when e-learning is used instead of the traditional methods. Reports indicate that companies can save between 35-60% of the costs incurred in organizing traditional education plans. One may be wondering where these cost savings originate. It should be noted that traditional learning is associated with too much traveling and massive use of consumable materials to facilitate the process. All these factors imply an additional cost.
However, with e-learning, the traveling and material costs are significantly cut down hence increasing on savings. This method is also meritorious to the trainers since they can develop course materials that can repeatedly be used. The continuity in the utilization of the course material is beneficial since they will devote their time in searching new concepts that would be essential in improving the outcomes of a training process. Furthermore, the method saves the employees more time and since they will not have to move from one place to another paying bus fare to attend lectures. That would make them concentrate on their work hence improving their productivity. Efficiency
Organizing training sessions are not only expensive. Rather it is time-consuming especially when the employees have spread in all parts of the country or rather the world. With e-learning, it will be possible for employees to get the training irrespective of time and place. Apparently, this is one of the greatest benefits of online learning. In other words, once an individual has a computer, and it is internet enabled, learning process can proceed no matter the geographical location. Research has been able to show that distance has been the significant barrier to accessing learning for both academic and professional needs. Nevertheless, with this technology, organizations can conduct corporate training and reach a limitless number of employees within a short time irrespective of their location.
The biggest challenge facing the face-to-face mode of practice is the fact that the trainers ought to adjust or rather adapt his/her course depending on the learner's ability to synthesize information. That is because students come from different backgrounds and show diversity in relation to understanding some concepts. Nevertheless, with e-learning, the learners can advance depending on their speed of grasping information. Besides, the learner can create vast learning strategies that would equip them with more experience in the area of study.
As mentioned earlier, e-learning reduces traveling. A reduction of traveling, on the other hand, implies a decrease in the emission of greenhouse gasses such as Carbon (IV) Oxide. An increase in greenhouse gasses has led to global warming which has jeopardized the lives of many species on earth. Thus one of the strategies that ought to be embraced to curb global warming it to adopt e-learning.
Challenges of e-learning
E-learning is beneficial at the same time disadvantageous. In this section, the disadvantages of e-learning will be discussed in detail as follows;
A lack of motivation characterizes e-learning due to lack of control. Research has revealed that learners who exhibit low motivation often lag behind when using this technology. That is true because no definite time expects them to be focusing on it. Besides, they usually tend to be responsible for the organization of their own. Failure to have a fixed schedule is an implication that e-learning is developing to be more complicated bearing in mind that deadlines are usually given to different people at various stages of their training.
It is selective
E-learning is targeted since it appears to favor a particular group of individuals. Notably, not everyone will enjoy this method of learning mainly activists and pragmatists. In fact, it has become difficult to make e-learning appealing to these categories of individuals. People learn of fail to get to depend on the style deployed to effect the learning process. There is that class of individuals who prefer images; others value reading, and some fancy talking about or rather undertake a task in order to understand some concepts.
A face-to-face form of learning provides individuals with a chance to ask questions and getting appropriate responses. Regressively, e-learning does not give the trainees who have opted to do their learning beyond working hours with an opportunity to ask the trainer questions. Most of the e-learning sessions permit the trainees to ask questions within the working hours. That nurtures the feeling of isolation and can lead to low motivation among individuals since they will perceive that they do not have sufficient support and reassurance that physical trainers would guarantee them.
E-learning relies heavily on electronic devices such as computers. This, on the other hand, implies that the trainer has to ensure that a trainee has a mechanism that would facilitate the process. Some e-learning methodologies may need specific software like Flash. This software cannot be supported with devices like iPods. That is an implication that all the requirements ought to be met prior to launching an e-learning session. Poor internet connectivity and general faults like a drop in signal strength can interrupt the learning outcome. This is true since different countries show variations in terms of internet connectivity and power reliability.
Apparently, e-learning sessions required the trainees to have basic computer knowledge. However, some employees may be uncomfortable when it comes to using computers, especially when their jobs do not require them to have one. Thus, the employees can become demoralized in spite of the software being designed to be user-friendly. That will be an indication that this category of employees would prefer the traditional method of training.
Assessing ROI of e-learning
Most eLearning professionals face the challenge of the establishment of the return on investment (ROI) of their courses. Investors and sponsors cannot be attracted if e-learning fails justify that it is actually beneficial in an organization. It is important to note that e-learning activities ought o be measured in relation to ROI. However, when assessing ROI, e-learning specialists need to consider the costs likely to be incurred prior to initiating an e-learning training. These costs include the costs of hiring personnel, acquiring technology (computer and software’s), developing the content of the e-material, as well as hidden costs due to transition and staff disruptions.
Additionally, e-learning developers need to focus on the benefits that e-learning like flexibility and a reduction in travel expenses. Through accurate calculation of the costs incurred in preparing a training program, e-learning specialists can be in a position to justify the worth of the investment. In so doing they will be able to establish whether the e-learning program will be a viable solution or not. In the near future, it is expected that there would be Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) as well as paid online education sessions that would help in improving organizational performance.
In conclusion, it would be important to note that e-learning does not only offer economic benefits in relation to lowering the training costs in organizations. Rather, it is an efficient tool, particularly when employees need to be equipped with vital knowledge and skills irrespective of their geographical locations. Through proper estimation of the cost of a training program, e-learning specialists will be in pole position to determine the viability of the training.
Arkorful, V. & Abaidoo, N. (2014). The Role of e-learning, the Advantages and disadvantages of its adoption in Higher Education. International Journal of education and Research . 2(12), 397-410.
Jethro, O. O., Grace, A. M., & Thomas, A. K. (2012). E-Learning and its effects on teaching and learning in a global age. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences , 2 (1), 203.
Masolve, E. (2015). Calculating eLearning ROI. What We Do Instead of eLearning ROI Calculations . eLearning Industry. Retrieved from https://elearningindustry.com/what-we-do-instead-of-elearning-roi-calculation