Time For The Next Chapter In E-Learning
The Melcher Studios team wanted to take the time to share our thoughts on the world of e-learning, a world we have immersed ourselves in after recognizing the potential a number of years ago. It is no secret that learning has been moving from the classroom to the online world for over a decade. E-learning has expanded into never-imagined markets, forever changing content delivery to an array of students and employees across Canada and beyond.
These developments, however, need to be taken with a grain of salt. Over the past ten years (specifically the past four or five years) many e-learning solutions have simply replicated the shortcomings that student/employee education and training have always faced. Content often does not provide inspiration, and learners often do not remember critical information after the experience. These realities are coupled with the fact that the attention spans of the general population are shorter than they have ever been, making for what can best be characterized as a pointless experience in many e-learning cases. Recent research has shown that learners perform only modestly better with online learning than with traditional instructor-led learning. Acceptance of the status quo is one of the only explanations for these findings. At Melcher Studios, we believe that with all that current technology has to offer, it is time, well beyond time, to re-ignite the power of e-learning and all the possibility it provides.
Re-igniting e-learning begins with content creators much like the team we have here at Melcher Studios working with our clients to ask important questions about e-learning implementation: including: What are we doing? How are going to do things differently? How do you train in such a way that real learning is transferred – and retained? And, most importantly, why are we doing the work? We believe that one of the problems with e-learning today is that it is treated as a one-time thing, with little or no reinforcement after the fact to ensure the learning is a longer-term exercise. Fortunately, there are some new and exciting innovations that the Melcher Studios team, and other innovators like us, are using to improve the e-learning landscape. When combining cutting-edge technology with leading-edge research (on how our brains actually work to improve memory and cognition and on how content should be delivered to different learners), e-learning can be far superior to the traditional classroom, or even how it most-often appears online today.
We believe that it is important to divide learning into small segments (modules) as the human brain functions well when processing four to five bits of information at any given time. We work from the perspective that it is important to provide ongoing reinforcement of critical learning through testing providing learners the much-needed exposure period to imprint knowledge more effectively. Testing also provides the mechanism to measure knowledge, attitudes, as well as the e-learning application itself. Measurements can then be used to direct future training, as well as provide an indication on the ROI of the e-learning project. We also believe that (if the budget allows for it) that personalizing learning works wonders, allowing learners to go about the process in accordance with his or her learning style.
At Melcher Studios we work from the perspective that it is important to make use of social networking, gamification, and 3D animation as part of the e-learning process. These technologies are changing by the day, and are increasingly becoming necessary to heighten engagement and retention of information. Today these advanced technologies can be supported by almost all mobile devices, so not only is learning becoming more fun, but it is also becoming more convenient.
There is no question that e-learning is quickly becoming the dominant form of education and training as the traditional classroom experience is fading away. Innovation and technology, coupled with a better understanding of how the brain works allows the Melcher team, and others like us, to add value to the learning process, and move on to a new and exciting chapter of discovery.