Distance learning has actually been going on for a very long time. It has always been used in remote areas as a teaching tool. First radio then audio and television have all been distance learning platforms.
Now we have computer based eLearning platforms that can be accessed from anywhere you happen to be. All you need is a computer, the Internet, and the appropriate software package and the infrastructure is in place.
Many learning platforms work well with software additions. They all offer up some amazing tools that can create an interactive learning experience for students and employees. It is unfortunate that many teachers, coaches, and human resource facilitators have rarely used the tools available to maximize the learning and training experience.
Passive Vs Active Approaches
Since distance learning has become available to more and more of the younger population, more people are using it. However, most seem to use it as a basically passive arena. Coaches and teachers upload assignments that students work on during their own time. They end up using the discussion board much like a chat board. Though some leaders actually learn a little about the software, most still fall back on the more passive activities.
These software platforms were designed to do so much more. There is group chat, conference calling, video conferencing, game play possibilities, video-lectures, VoIP, etc.
You may even find that mobile tools can be enhanced by software like iSpring that will turn PowerPoint into an interactive mobile eLearning tool, adding even more ways for employees to learn.
For companies, this opens up the door to creating multiple curricula based on job description skill sets, and setting up training simulations, educational videos, interactive projects, tests, and specific training benchmarks to assess growth in knowledge of a particular job.
There is also the very real possibility of actually re-creating a classroom-like environment, whether you are teaching a group or an individual is training for another job position. Everything you can do inside a classroom can also be done by distance as well.
The Learning Curve Limitations
The one major issue is the learning curve of technology. Sometimes by the time students and employees get used to using the software, the frustration level has begun to set in, and interest in achievement rapidly declines. Teachers, Coaches, and facilitators need to keep an eye on students to guide them through until employees are comfortable working alone.
Teachers end up picking and choosing what they are willing to spend their time working on. Learning to use the technology does cut into learning about the classroom topic.
In the near future, that may not be a big problem. Companies supplying Blackboard and additional software packages for mobile platforms are adding more and more how-to tips to get both teachers and employees up to speed and running very quickly.
As younger students get older this may not be as big an issue, because they will be much more familiar with different aspects of distance learning technology before entering college or the workforce.
You can contact us for more information on the platform and software that may work best for your company eLearning needs. Also you are welcome to check out iSpring Learning Platform to explore the ways of how your employees can learn more productively.