The following is the first in a four part series on using digital learning technologies.

Many trainers, facilitators, training organisations and businesses who deliver predominately through face to face are asking themselves the question “Should I use eLearning to deliver training?”. It’s an interesting question, but with the wrong focus. People often talk about developing or delivering eLearning or if they need to consider mLearning (mobile learning). To start with, we should drop the little letter at the start and consider it all as “Learning”, whether it is done face-to-face, electronically, on mobile or through other means.

The real question that should be asked is “How can I use technology to provide a better learning experience?”.

Reflecting on the last ILP Future of Learning Conference (if you missed it you should consider getting to this year’s event in September), during one keynote participants were surveyed and approximately 70% of the ILP members present were still delivery through face-to-face only. In my opinion, these individuals and organisations are missing great opportunities. By incorporating learning technologies into their facilitation toolbox they have a much greater opportunity to reach a wider audience and higher chances of creating an effective transfer of learning.

So why aren’t more people using learning technologies effectively to facilitate learning? The main reasons I have come across are:

  • Are happy with how they are facilitating
  • Don’t know how technologies can be used
  • Don’t see the benefits of using learning technologies
  • Confused by the volume of different technologies and don’t know what to use
  • Don’t know how to get started

How can technologies be used?

Some of the ways we can use learning technologies include:

  • Extending our reach by delivering virtually through webinars
  • Creating immersive experiences for participants to roleplay and apply skills and knowledge
  • Providing materials as part of a pre-course activity
  • Delivering asynchronous training through videos, podcasts and online presentations
  • Providing just-in-time resources for participants back in the workplace
  • Providing post-course follow-up or materials to support the transfer of learning
  • Creating and faciliating a social and collaborative space for participants to learning socially, with and from others
  • Creating a virtual learning environment to simulate or immerse people in difficult or dangerous to replicate situations
  • Curating content from the wide range of sources available
  • Allowing participants to create their own content
  • Providing participants an opportunity to capture digital evidence of their skills

There are many more ways that technology can be used, with a range of wide ranging benefits. In part 2 of this series we will explore these various benefits.

Part 3 will look at the types of technologies. The final part will showcase a possible playbook for implementing digital technologies.