Exploring E-learning

This guide summarizes current research and commentary on e-learning, examining the key issues facing organizations exploring e-learning for employee development. The guide contains six sections. The first section provides an introduction to the issue of e-learning and a summary of the issues discussed in the remainder of the guide. Section 2 summarizes the various dimensions and descriptions of e-learning, concluding with a definition of e-learning as "the delivery and administration of learning opportunities and support via computer, networked and web-based technology to help individual performance and development." Sections 3 and 4 describe potential benefits and drawbacks of e-learning. Benefits include that e-learning is timely, accessible, learner-centered, cost effective, up-to-date, quick, retainable, risk-free, consistent, interactive and collaborative, easy to track, and that it increases information technology skills. Drawbacks include that e-learning can be technology-dependent, incompatible, unsuitable for some types of training, unsuitable for some types of learners, heavily reliant on self-discipline, less interactive than one would think, initially expensive, still dependent on human support, and difficult to support with content. Section 5 discusses key issues to consider when developing e-learning, including how best to blend new e-learning technologies with traditional classroom approaches to training; whether to buy new off-the-shelf materials, develop content externally or in-house; how best to provide learner support; how trainers will adapt; and how to tell whether the strategy is working. The final section concludes with a summary of the issues and potential of e-learning. The guide includes a glossary of 13 terms and a resource guide listing 64 reports and articles, 7 websites, and 8 magazines and journals. (KC)