Before discussing some of the advances (and the dis-advantages) of the e-learning approach, it is useful to think over the format in general:
Concept & Administration
A strategic approach to e-Learning is the key to successful integration of interactive web-based learning processes into a training organisation. The ACWUA/ONEE-WANT Water e-Learning courses had to be planned carefully before they were implemented.
The GIZ and their regional partners ACWUA and ONEE tried to answer the following questions:
- What are the objectives for e-Learning?
- What does the GIZ, ACWUA and ONEE want to gain with e-Learning? What are the reasons for e-Learning?
- Who is the target group?
- What kind of qualification does GIZ, ACWUA and ONEE offer and how to certify the learners?
- How does the instructional model look like:
- How do we implement eLearning as a method?
- How to support the learners?
- How to prepare the material for the chosen media (instructional design)?
- Which learning technology suits the needs best (learning management system)?
To clearly decide about an implementation of e-Learning, an organization needs to know more on the costs and the needs of their client. Also, it should be informed about the
- Saving Resources (e.g. saving in travel costs, working time, lecture time);
- Learner-friendly (e.g. no overcrowded classrooms, learning at you own convenience);
- New and broader target-groups (e.g. more and other students per course, wider reach);
- Easy to update learning content/using existing content (e.g. Content can be re-used and shared within the organisation or exchanged with partner organisations -> in-House training, Content of partners can be tied in);
- Networking among experts, alumni etc.;
- Development of new/better instructional methods and levelling instructional quality;
- Different modes of distribution (Blended Learning: face-to-face, online, offline); and
Disadvantages of an e-Learning
- Bad acceptance from the target group (e.g. due to lack of skills or technical infrastructure; Rejection from trainers / teachers);
- Learning curve too low (e-Learning beside normal workload allows only a very restricted learning-time);
- Financial constraints (Server, other related IT cost, Internet access, ...)
- Technical problems (Severe technical problems, no infrastructure or related services available);
- Administrational Problems (e.g. Rejection within the organisation itself, due to lack of information, transparency, cost; Not enough human resources like e-tutors);
- Lack of Motivation (which is the most common problem in e-Learning, where the drop-out rate is normally 60-70% (in MOOV even much more). ACWUA/ONEE tries to avoid this problem by the company of especially trained e-tutors)
There will probably be other challenges, depending on the situation and on a possible institutional setup. A well-planned implementation process will help to avoid most of them.