Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Changing Landscape in E-Learning

During the Thought Leadership Webinar on “Interactive Courses on a ShoeString Budget” in November, 2011, I had a good discussion with Jim Hanlin, President and Founder of Best Training Resources. Jim shared his views on the changing landscape in e-learning.

Vikas: What are clients looking for in eLearning programs?
Jim:  What strikes me is that there is a phenomenal change in the eLearning industry in comparison to when eLearning was first introduced. As eLearning is ever growing and getting interactive likewise the clients' demands have also grown over the years. They face a lot of cost pressure on eLearning programs. At the same time, the expectation for developing interactive eLearning courses is also on the rise.

From the Producer’s standpoint – we have to focus on reducing the cost of producing eLearning programs and increase the level of interactivity and graphic rich content. Especially important from supplier’s viewpoint is the decrease in cost for per hour of eLearning development. It has reduced to almost half of what used to be $50,000/hour of level 2 custom content development for eLearning. Suppliers of eLearning courses are looking for tools for better high quality program creation, produce them faster and create them for low cost.

In short, clients are looking for: better, faster, cheaper programs.

Vikas:  How have eLearning development practices and processes changed over the past several years?
Jim: eLearning has made a staggering change from mainframes and dumb terminal delivery to page turners with graphics. All of this was delivered in linear fashion without any deviation from the learner path of learning. In 90s, the standards like AICC and SCORM were developed along with LMS and other tools. Later first generation tools came in which helped developer create courses with similar objectives. Then, there were interactive video discs introduced which were bulky. These were soon replaced with CDroms where courses where stored and means to share it others. Now a days, most of the training is delivered by web based technologies. Technologies such as mobile learning, virtual worlds, cloud based learning, Learning platforms, learning with informal learning applications etc are in great demand.

The advances in technology have triggered the extraordinary growth in eLearning courses development tools. The changing landscape is a win-win situation for both the providers and the clients.

Technology has allowed producers to produce engaging programs relatively quickly and in a lesser cost. For suppliers, technology has helped to get customer satisfaction and retention along with getting repeat business. The advancement in technology has brought about such a win-win situation which is endearing for all.

Vikas: What methods are producers using to achieve results the clients are looking for?
Jim: Today, the real advantage to the producers is that they are able to create innovative, creative, interactive and graphic rich eLearning courses at a much faster pace and lesser cost unlike the old times. The best thing to do is have a right selection of tools and make the best toolbox for developing eLearning programs. This is the ultimate survival tool in the market which will allow the producers to stay ahead in the competition and adhere to the customer demands in time within their shoestring budgets.

Vikas: Thank you Jim for sharing your thoughts with us in the webinar. The key takeaway from your inputs is that “the provider with the best set of tools will be the winner”.

Jim:You are welcome.

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