Online education is making up more and more of the education system, but not only that, it is replacing meetings in the business world, increasing the level of on-the-job skill mastery across organizations and overall, helping with retention of employees and raising the standard of success. While e-learning is taking the place of other sources of learning, classroom learning can sometimes be more beneficial to the intake of information than it’s online counterpart - but there are ways to ensure that students are as engaged whether they are sitting in a classroom or at their desk in an office.
- Time Bound. It can be helpful to have an eLearning course that has a schedule and fixed timeline. This ensures that learners do not push learning to a later date but keep up the momentum. Consistency is key to knowledge retention and memory recall. Imposing a timeline for your employees to complete courses, turn-in course work, or engage in forum’s can ensure that they are learning at an acceptable pace without letting other works duties infringe on the importance of continuing education. These timelines can also be helpful if employees are working for certifications or something else that is time bound. Ensuring they get ample time to complete courses or continuing education before they need to recertify will help the online classroom feel a lot more like brick and mortar learning.
- Discussion board. Creating a way for users to engage with other learners of the same material can help increase the memory of that information. Discussion boards can be created for collaborative learning experience similar to that of classroom environment where students are able to engage in healthy debate, ask questions and get answers. By using a discussion board, this is one of the easiest ways to simulate a classroom learning experience without the classroom, but with the same effect.
- Case study. Online learning programs can have case studies to aid in learning, which could be shared as part of unit-end assessment. These case studies can be reviewed by peers or by managers to ensure proper learning. This also allows for inter-mixed learning between colleagues that may not otherwise communicate.
- Incorporating puzzles and games. Puzzles or riddles can be incorporated into elearning modules after each topic. This enlivens the elearning process and ensures that there is no monotony which can lead to disengagement. Disengagement can be poisonous for the learning of your organization. Apathy to learning can be costly, from mistakes on the job, to poor customer service and ratings by consumers.
- Creating stories/scenarios. Scenarios or stories are used to simplify complex concepts or ideas. Scenarios can be included in eLearning courses through simple images, animation or videos to explain a concept or rule. By applying knowledge or learned concepts to stories or scenarios, you are helping employees learn what it would be like to go through something similar without the fallout from a situation that is mishandled in real-life. By providing feedback to the solution-based scenarios, you now have more control over how employees are performing their jobs and representing the company, creating cohesion and an overall engaging experience.
These five examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating online content that mimics the classroom learning experience - there are many ways to create elearning courses that are just as engaging, if not more engaging, than a classroom learning environment. Keep in mind that an online education is not meant to be exactly like a classroom - there are pros and cons to using each method, but while shaping your content to the strengths of the online environment, you will maximize the potential for great learning through your courses.