Shirley J. Caruso, Ed.D.
What is Online Learning?
Online learning, also referred to as e-training or e-learning, is a method of delivering training that allows learning to occur anywhere in the world with the help of the Internet and the use of a computer.
What Are the Training Delivery Methods for Online Learning?
There are generally two types of online classes or training delivery methods for e-training or e-learning classes – those that are delivered at any time or place at the convenience of the learner (asynchronous online learning), and those that are delivered to the learner who is online at a specified time (synchronous online learning).
Both asynchronous and synchronous online learning is usually self-paced, according to the speed at which the learner can learn. Today’s technology allows asynchronous and synchronous online learning to simulate classroom training. It can include three-dimensional conferencing (synchronous) and interaction and discussion (synchronous and asynchronous). These techniques allow online learning to be an effective form of teaching for today’s workforce.
What Are Some Online Learning Benefits?
Training and development is the keystone of a successful organization’s operation. There are a many training methods today that are easily available, but organizations must consider the time and costs involved, and whether the curriculum and course oriented match the needs of the organization. That is why it is very important to realize all pros and cons of these methods:
|Training Delivery Method||Benefits||Drawbacks||Best for||Not recommended for|
|Asynchronous online learning||Just-in-time training; No travel costs; Self-paced learning; Remedial training at no cost; Consistency; Possible increased retention; Easily distributed/updated training materials.||Self-directed motivation can be problematic; Lack of classroom collaboration; May be viewed as “done on your own time”.||Basic training; Students in multiple locations; As part of instructor-led training course.||Observable interpersonal skills/feedback; Real-time knowledge sharing.|
|Synchronous online learning||High quality delivery; Immediate Q & A; Leverage student questions; Rapid, low-cost content.||Cost-per-student higher than asynchronous training; Network connection needed.||Basic training; Students in multiple locations; Highly interactive knowledge sharing; Hands-on application training.||Students of widely-varying skill levels Observable interpersonal skills/feedback|