Rapidly changing technology have revolutionized the ways that training is presented to learners.
In order to choose the best method of presenting information, Instructional Designers must understand what technology can do as well as their advantages and disadvantages.
Some examples of the technology-based solutions include computer-based training (CBT), job aids, electronic performance support systems (EPSS), e-learning, video teleconferencing, simulations, audio, and video.
Here are some of the advantages that E-Learning offers:
First of all, E-learning addresses learning at the individual level. It can be designed for use anytime and anywhere assuming that there is access to a computer. E-learning can be designed at a pace that corresponds with an individual’s learning style.
Another benefit of e-learning is that it does not require additional physical space. E-Learning can be either synchronous or asynchronous. Asynchronous E-Learning refers to e-learning that does not require the trainer and the learner to participate at the same time. Some examples are Internet or DVD courses, online discussion groups, and email. Synchronous E-Learning occurs when the trainer and his learners interact in different places but at the same time. Some examples of Synchronous E-Learning include: Audio and Video Conferencing, chat, and instant messaging.
Now that we looked at the advantages of E-Learning, let's look at its disadvantages.
Some learners feel that e-learning is less personal than in-class training. Also, E-learning requires excellent instructional design and production. This is especially true about asynchronous courses because there is no instructor who can clarify directions or content.
To determine if E-Learning is an appropriate solution, the Instructional Designer should consider the following questions:
• What is the nature of the problem that the intended program is expected to address?
• Is training the appropriate solution to achieve anticipated results?
• Who is the target audience?
• Is interactive technology currently available in this setting? How widespread is it?
• Is this project on fixed or flexible budget?
Now, let's look at the advantages of classroom learning. Some advantages include face-to-face interaction with the instructor, greater comfort level for some learners who may be more familiar with a traditional training environment, and ability to express
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