Way back in 1999 at a CBT Systems seminar, the word eLearning was shared with the audience to describe how the Internet added a whole new opportunity for learning. Flash forward to 2015 and we find eLearning has evolved to include a broad selection of online platforms from webinars, to courses, to entirely virtual conferences.
Also in the mix of change are the available methods of consumption for learners. Gone are the days of dial-up and desktop-only platforms. Learners have vast choices for how they participate in eLearning from webcast, to tablet, to smartphone. And so, to be successful with providing eLearning products and certainly to remain competitive, associations now must look at what technology platforms best serve all the changes with eLearning and the demands of the audience.
Accommodating for today’s eLearning is only the first step. Associations must also consider what changes the future will bring and identify a platform that offers flexibility to accommodate for the inevitable changes to come.
What is Next Generation eLearning?
Dr. Amanda Batson, founder of ADB Partners, refers to the upcoming changes as Next Generation eLearning. With a doctorate in curriculum and instruction, she has spent more than thirty years working in professional development, curriculum design, and instructional delivery for public and private educational organizations and non-profits.
She says, “We are to the point where eLearning moves across platforms. It’s on the go. It can be online but the users determine where they want to participate in the eLearning.”
Batson also says Next Generation eLearning must be designed to work across the various modes of consumption. Those associations providing eLearning products need to move beyond desktop consumption and look at opportunities to take strong existing content and repurpose or redesign it to be sure it is responsive across platforms. The evolution of eLearning in just the past decade confirms that more changes are coming, so it’s either plan and prepare, or be left behind.
A Checklist for Organizational Readiness
On February 26, iCohere will host a Leadership Learning Series webinar featuring Dr. Batson. The webinar will cover eLearning basics and then consider Next Generation eLearning features. Everyone attending will leave the webinar with a Quick eLearning Checklist to determine organizational readiness for next generation eLearning.
For organizations, the webinar and checklist will help answer:
1. Where are we now?
2. Where do we need to be?
3. How do we get there? Includes a review of the eLearning platform features necessary for next generation learning.
4. What are the critical steps? Includes a close look at strategy, program focus, and platform selection.
5. What is eLearning leadership and why is it important?
Dr. Batson has worked with clients like ASAE, the Center for Association Leadership. As a former ASAE University online instructor, one of her lasting lessons was the importance of active and ongoing engagement in eLearning. Next Generation eLearning will require engagement that is interactive and transformative. During the webinar, Dr. Batson will highlight tips for moving from online instructor to online facilitator of engaged learning.
In her consulting for the Professional Ski Instructors of America/American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI), her emphasis was on education leadership in an environment of continuous improvement. PSIA-AASI is an organization with some 33,000 members and a 50-year history of commitment to quality member education. Blending in-person and online learning has long been a mainstay of PSIA-AASI. When education, as in their case, is already at high levels of excellence, leading to new levels can be challenging and filled with opportunities. Leaders who are active, dynamic champions of education are required and PSIA-AASI executive and volunteer leaders are such leaders.