E-learning – avoiding the pitfalls

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Courtesy of Energy Institute (EI)

The Energy Institute (EI) is currently developing an e-learning qualification for energy managers and has learnt valuable lessons in the process.

E-learning has surged in popularity over the last twenty years, evolving froman interesting idea into a huge global market. Its range of use covers everything from fire training to stock trading, and its benefits are increasingly felt by energy-related organisations worldwide. Research shows that 67% of professional bodies now use e-learning in some form, and mostly for CPD training courses. A well-implemented e-learning course can benefit learners in a number of different ways.

In many ways e-learning is a fantastic solution for training developers. It can increase a course’s scope, as well as guaranteeing consistency of messages to a wide variety of learners. Its flexibility can allow learners to work at their own pace and also involves less commitment from a client because time away from the office is often reduced.

There are, however, various challenges that must be considered before planning any form of open learning course. By definition, this form of training relies on a significant degree of self-study, and can be a lonely experience for the learner. This can be mitigated in various ways, from introducing regular student/tutor contact to developing more engaging content to improve the learner experience.

One of the fundamental features of a taught class is the interaction between delegates, offering the opportunity to learn from each other and share skills and examples. During the development of its new e-learning qualification in energy management, the EI has worked with the course developer to ensure delegates are offered regular opportunities to share experiences and learn from each other as a central aspect of the training. Delegates are also able to direct technical questions to tutors for feedback at any point, limiting their potential feeling of isolation.

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