We are all talking about Virtual Learning and Events, but I have found there is no real concreate definition for these Online Learning experiences. Having said that, I have found some clarity after reading a few articles directed at the teacher/student relationship. I’m going to make an attempt to share how we can relate these tips to our industry.
Online Learning is basically taking an action using technology to learn. Another way to think of it is learning while needing an internet connection. Needing a reliable internet connection is another story and one I should probably not blog about! Online learning is not new. Much like social media, it just feels new because it is always evolving. I am going to describe online learning as I understand it, but I welcome feedback!
We will discuss Online Learning within these categories:
• Virtual Learning
• Distance Learning
• Blended Learning
E-Learning is basically online instruction (no in-person option) where the presenter is engaging the attendee. Attendees don’t have access to the other participates. E-Learning is similar to that of an On-Demand webinar where you get to learn from another person but don’t have the ability to interact.
Virtual Learning can be used within a building or online. This is where the participates are learning through some type of software program. There is also an element of attendee engagement where both instructor and attendees can engage with each other. This would be similar to a Live webinar where you’re able to ask questions and interact with the group in real-time.
Distance Learning is a great tool to allow information to travel to other regions or groups. Think of this as opening a course up to the public or offering a class that would normally be held in the classroom, but you have the curriculum/content recorded and virtual “check-ins” with the instructor offered to participates a way to engage with each other. So you learn from a far but have ample access to the instructor as you go through the course.
Blended Learning is like it sounds…blended! It combines in-person instruction with a virtual component. This is the best of both worlds. As I prepare to send my children back to school, this is the form of education that I think all events and training will be considering. To me, it seems the most effective and gives peoples options on how they learn best. Sometimes, we just need to be face-to-face to understand a topic. Other times, we can read it or see an image and understand it.
As all of these categories fall under the blanket term of ‘Online Learning’. I think it’s safest to use this term when describing programs as a whole but it’s always a good idea to learn the different categories within Online Learning! I believe I will continue to use Virtual learning as I want to make sure we incorporate engaging with our audience as much as we can when we can’t see them in person.
Find what works for your educational style and resources, and make sure you adapt your trainings to incorporate online learning.
If you would like to hear more about Online Learning, join us on the Empowering Industry Podcast.