There has never been a more exciting time to be associated with the education field. New technologies are allowing teachers and administrators to re-imagine pedagogical processes that have remained relatively static for hundreds of years. Innovative new approaches, bolstered by these new technologies, are creating personalized educational methods that help students stay curious, engaged and motivated. Even better, much of this progress not only pays for itself but also comes at a lower overall cost–a huge plus for cost-conscious learning institutions.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the benefits offered by one of the most impactful of these technologies: eLearning software. At various stages throughout the adoption, delivery and post-education process, online learning software can deliver significant advantages for institutions that emphasize eLearning.
1. Quick setup
Some institutions may be aware of the myriad advantages of eLearning yet hesitate to fully commit, given the fear of incurring significant startup expenses. The truth, however, is that the costs associated with setup, infrastructure, and scaling are low.
Institutions adopting online learning platforms will discover that setup is reasonably simple and that the learning curve for new users is modest. Infrastructure costs, too, are very low. Scaling new learning operations becomes far more efficient, and the reach of such operations is greatly extended.
2. Speedy and cost-effective delivery of learning
The delivery phase, however, is where the value of eLearning truly starts to shine. First, the speed and efficiency offered by online learning software can mean dramatic cost reductions associated with the delivery of material. Institutions can save on course materials, as eLearning radically reduces the costs of developing and distributing physical materials. Travel and accommodation costs reduce to virtually zero, in some cases.
3. Reduced staffing requirements
Integration of eLearning means reduced staffing levels–a major cost driver for most schools. They ensure optimal use of faculty through using the online learning software.
4. Personalized learning experience
The introduction of eLearning also allows for a much higher degree of personalization. Students who feel disconnected from the material being presented (whether due to a perceived lack of relevance or flaws in the presentation) tend to lose motivation. Once this occurs, students may quickly fall behind and feel that they are not capable of doing the work.
Personalization makes these lessons more relevant and engaging. The use of eLearning software allows educators to determine how and when to deliver what content and how to evaluate students based on this content disseminated. It also allows the experience of learning to be customized. Something as simple as the repetition of the student’s name and the incorporation of her preferences (colors, avatars, voices, etc.) can stimulate deeper engagement.
5. Learner-centered instruction
By using online learning software, educators can also bring about a change from a teacher-led classroom to a student-led classroom. In a teacher-led classroom, everything is designed to support the needs of the instructor; in a student-led classroom, the reverse is true. This shift is essential to encourage greater autonomy and independent problem-solving skills among students. The use of eLearning software encourages students to learn in a personalized manner that aligns with their needs and preferences. Students can review material off-campus on a device of their choosing, for example.
By taking this student-centered approach, educators help instill the skills and habits that form the basis of lifelong learning. Teachers no longer exert total control over what students learn, how and where they learn it and how they are evaluated. By employing online learning software, instructors can tailor material to each student’s interests and abilities — something that helps drive superior educational outcomes.
(Next page: 6 more advantages of online learning software for higher ed)
6. Accessibility of learning
Accessibility is another key benefit at the delivery stage. The software allows students to escape the limitations of being taught in one central location, at one point in time. Instead, they can learn at their own pace at a time of their choosing. This kind of accessibility allows learners to stay connected with the material and greatly lowers the risk of falling behind, as learning materials remain accessible. This is also a benefit for educators, who can communicate with students in a more flexible fashion.
7. Enhanced student engagement
Student engagement is also much deeper when eLearning is integrated into a classroom experience. Most of the today’s students are digital natives who have grown up with technology. Learning in a digital environment is second nature to them. Many find the teacher-focused classroom experience of listening to a lecture and then asking questions to be un-engaging and uninspiring. Meanwhile, eLearning offers the opportunity for interaction, collaboration, and instant feedback.
8. Easy user management
Finally, eLearning platforms make user management simple — a significant plus for administrators and learners. Despite the decentralization of learning, the control can be exercised centrally. With the right software, the experience is seamless.
9. Post-learning advantages: Get into the minds of your students with data
The benefits of eLearning don’t stop when the lessons conclude. Data generated by learners is an invaluable tool in several ways.
10. Modify course material
First, it helps educators identify how courses can be modified and improved. It shows how students consume material and which methods appeal most to them. For example, educators can present problems in two different ways, then evaluate the response to see which presentation is more effective.
If specific course elements are proving difficult to negotiate for a significant number of students, educators can make adjustments. An example: If a larger than expected number of students are failing to complete a study section within a given timeframe, this section may need to be reworked.
The use of online learning software greatly expands the power of data collection and analysis. It also allows you to react and adapt much faster. Without the use of software, it may take educators weeks or even months to reach these conclusions. With eLearning, data can be analyzed in real time, and adjustments can be made on the fly.
11. Offer lifelong learning opportunities
Additionally, eLearning software opens up the possibility of lifelong learning. Students develop the core skills necessary to become lifetime learners (autonomy, critical thinking, responsibility, etc.). As eLearning becomes more entrenched in the educational and corporate spaces, students will also benefit from their familiarity with integrated learning approaches. As the technology matures, these benefits will become even more pronounced.
Adoption of online learning software offers a variety of critical benefits throughout the product’s lifecycle. Lowered costs, greater efficiency, deeper engagement, development of critical life skills and better educational outcomes are just some of the positive effects eLearning has had on the world of education.
Educational institutions seeking to seize these advantages should give serious consideration to the adoption of advanced eLearning software.