Businessman taking online learning course

Not All Virtual Learning is Created Equal – Strategies for Selecting Engaging E-Learning

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

With fall right around the corner and so many students heading back to school, there has been a lot of speculation about the effectiveness of remote learning. Although remote learning is a brand-new concept for many children in the United States, online education for adults has been around since 1989. It was then when the University of Phoenix began using CompuServe, opening the door to remote learning possibilities to professionals across the country.

Since 1989, online learning has evolved into consumable videos, online seminars, and webinars. But let’s face it, not all virtual learning is created equal. We’ve all sat through a webinar that we were probably half-listening to while multi-tasking. Webinars offer a form of passive learning. They are a great way to be exposed to new ideas, but they are not necessarily the most engaging form of learning.

Best Practices for Engaging E-learners

The first step to engaging an online learner is to make the login experience as seamless as possible. If learners struggle to log on to a course, they will likely check out before class has begun. Participants need to have clear instructions for how to log on and the date and time of the class, at least 48 hours ahead of the course delivery. This allows time to schedule, plan, and prepare technology to ensure smooth class participation.

A successful e-learning course should also actively involve participants, allowing them ways to engage with the content and with each other. This should be accomplished through synchronous whole group instruction and small group breakout sessions to provide a variety of learning opportunities. This also allows for networking while learning; something professionals crave more than ever before during this time of physical distancing.

With online learning, equity is paramount. An effective e-learning course should offer participants multiple ways to engage in class, ensuring all learners have an active voice, no matter their remote learning circumstances. With so much technology at our fingertips, virtual instructors have more opportunities than ever before to engage online learners.

Equally important, virtual courses should include the same hands-on materials that an in-person class provides. Be it a participant guide or a handout, keep in mind the materials should also be in the form of an editable pdf so learners can engage on-screen and off to best suit their learning style.

Tips for Selecting Engaging E-learning

When selecting an e-learning course or series for professionals, it’s important to ask key questions to ensure an engaging experience.

Nuts and Bolts Questions:

  • How will the class be delivered?
  • When will participants be provided login information and course access?
  • Are cameras and microphones required?

Identifying necessary technology ahead of time will ensure a smooth experience for learners and will avoid headaches later.

Engagement Questions:

  • Is the course interactive?
  • What types of activities are in place to enhance the learning objectives?
  • Will learners receive a participant guide?

Ensuring learners have opportunities to engage in the content in a variety of ways enhances the learning experience and promotes equity in the classroom for all participants.

The Archbright University Difference

At Archbright University, we have a philosophy that learning must always be engaging and experiential. Class participants should have a voice, and that voice should be equitable. We want course participants to walk away with new skills and feel confident they can apply them at work and everyday life.

When taking an Archbright University virtual course, participants can expect the same interactivity as when taking an in-person class. They can learn and share ideas alongside coworkers, in small and large group activities, bringing teams together during remote work.

Archbright’s virtual courses are equitable, allowing participants to communicate in various ways, such as the on-screen chat, virtual whiteboards, and good old fashion conversation. No cameras, masks, or social distancing required!

Also, Archbright’s virtual courses are always taught by an expert, live on screen so that participants can ask questions throughout each class for deeper understanding. Every participant also receives a participant guide or handout to reinforce learning long after the course has concluded.

2020 has been a game-changer, there’s no doubt about it. With so much uncertainty in our futures, employee learning does not have to be one of them. Consider virtual classes at Archbright to provide new opportunities for professional growth and to bring remote teams together through learning. To register for an Archbright University course, please visit www.archbright.com.

nv-author-image

Amy Bachmann

Amy Bachmann, M.Ed. is the Director of Archbright University. She leads a team of Senior Learning and Development Consultants and Instructional Designers responsible for designing and delivering Archbright course curriculum. Amy joined Archbright in 2019 and has more than 20 years of experience in adult education--including experience in academia, the medical field, and non-profit organizations. She holds a Master’s in Education from the University of San Diego, with a focus in Curriculum Design.