Information can be imparted by asking learners to read a book or listen to a trainer. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the information will be retained. So what does make an effective course?
Irrespective of the delivery method, trainees need to feel that a course is relevant to them. Instead of being just an academic exercise the content of a course should relate to the real world. The presented information needs to be up-to-date and authoritative to give the learner confidence in its validity.
A course should be designed with certain prerequisites and aims in mind and its structure designed to provide a coherent narrative that builds on knowledge gained during the course.
Effective learning depends on the trainee’s involvement with the learning process. At first sight, instructor-led training appears to provide this as it allows trainees to interact by asking questions. But this does not necessarily happen.
For e-learning to be effective, it must maximise the opportunities for trainee interaction. For example, getting trainees to test their knowledge aids the learning process, especially if incorrect answers are exploited to reiterate information in an alternative way.
Some learners are happy to accept imparted knowledge at face value while others need to explore a subject in more detail and relate it to information previously learned. E-learning can be designed so that learners can “drill down” through content to explore a topic of particular interest. The provision of revision links that are relevant to the current topic allows learners to easily review previously studied material.
E-learning’s ability to include animations is a particular advantage for courses covering technical subjects. Animations can be used to simulate the operation of systems or explain concepts and are particular effective if conditions can be changed by a trainee to explore their effects.
The provision of online messaging between learners and subject experts within the course is another way of providing an opportunity for trainee involvement.
An online course can have voice overs to narrate the course content, though PTT feels that their inclusion can be distracting without increasing the effectiveness of the training. We are not trying to mimic the classroom situation. Instead we aim to exploit the particular opportunities offered by computer-based learning. After our 19 years of experience in developing telecoms e-learning and after training many thousands of people worldwide, we can justifiably claim to be successful in that objective.
Learning is a multidimensional activity and PTT online courses are designed with this truth in mind.