Noupe Editorial Team March 21st, 2017

E-Learning: How to Expand Your Knowledge Independently

Every vocational field is undergoing constant change. Especially technological evolution and digital trends often cause significant changes. If you want to stay up to date while keeping up your daily stint, there are several different e-learning offers, which are powerful tools that let you educate yourself no matter the time or place.

Aside from countless free video tutorials and online classes, there are plenty of professional suppliers out there as well, using the internet’s possibilities and the according technological equipment to pass on their knowledge. Whether it’s about tips and tricks on web design, necessary knowledge for founders, or branch specific changes and expert knowledge – a lot can be found via e-learning portals.

Boom of Online Learning Programs

Today, it has become natural for most of you that information or tutorials on all possible topics are available on the web for free. However, the more specific or exclusive the knowledge becomes, the more often you will have to pay for an according learning program. The term lifetime learning becomes increasingly relevant these days, as spending the entire work life in the same company is not usual anymore. Every new job comes with different challenges, and the digital offers can help you gear up for the new job.
Specialists on the topic have discovered the digital options, and offer free learning videos or digital training and webinars. Several startups were able to get going with this type of business model since the demand for computer-based learning content is still high.

In 2015, the worldwide sales volume of mobile learning sat at 8.7 billion USD. For 2017, a volume of 12.2 billion USD was predicted.
Source: Ambient Insight

But companies from all kinds of different branches started using the web increasingly more often, spreading knowledge or tutoring their employees. If your job has something to do with particular suppliers or brands that play a relevant part, this is a good way of gaining information on this section, like new technology, or certain standards.

Different Systems

A distinction between synchronous and asynchronous learning is drawn. For the first one, the learner has to be online at the same time as the lecturer, to take part in the advanced education program. In many situations, it is advantageous to have an experienced go-to person that can answer questions, as well as take care of each student individually.
With asynchronous learning, a teacher or lecturer is either not live and simultaneously present during the learning unit, or the content is passed on via video. The autonomous development of knowledge via didactically rehashed classes is possible as well.

Here, the advantage is that the learning units can be completed whenever there’s time. This allows for the gain of new knowledge on the user’s tempo without a compulsory curriculum. Additionally, it is possible to compile different content or learning modules based on the desired topics or the individual needs.

Extensive Supply From Professional Suppliers

With many businesses, those willing to pay for advanced training opportunities will profit from the interaction between several different media options. Aside from learning videos, other content will be available for the class participant to work out on his own. Accompanying exercises, case studies, or tests, but also communication options, or replies to individual questions make for an elaborate education offer. Often, the content is well-prepared didactically, and comes with many advantages:

  • Different Preparation of the Content for Different Types of Learning
  • Learning is Time- and Place-independent
  • Self-determination of the Learning Speed and the Respective Learning Content
  • Unlimited Repetitions Possible
  • Costs are Mostly Lower

By now, there is a market of heavily specific offers. Since the digital network allows for a wide range, there’s a tutorial or webinar on pretty much any topic. Especially the latter ones give you the option to pass on unique experiences, which was not possible that way before. In a live stream, entrepreneurs talk about how they raised their company, which stumbling blocks they had to deal with, and which solutions were or weren’t helpful for the different problems. First-hand insider knowledge becomes a practical means of education thanks to digital technology.

Because of that, there are good offers available even for content that could not be learned via scholastic channels. Particularly for founders and young entrepreneurs, content on company foundation, individual case examples, or information on branch-specific characteristics are imperative and can be found digitally on different platforms.

Due to the high range, the webinars or online classes are worth it even for single persons. The more people sign up, the lower the price for the offer can be, without having to forgo turnover. A high number of participants generates a good income, especially when it comes to the so-called MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course).

Motivation and Self-Initiative

Those choosing an e-learning offer at least show a certain level of self-initiative. This is definitely needed in order to actually profit from a class or tutorial. How in-depth the content is learned and repeated to memorize it long-term is up to your motivation. To go all the way through a longer education unit, the motivation mustn’t drop. Varied content with interactive modules may help here. Many topics are designed in a way that users get to consume them in small steps. This way, gaining knowledge or selecting the units that are needed to solve a particular problem is possible even with limited time.

The lack of personal supervision causes problems for many people when using an offer where a tutor or lecturer is not present. With classes that were designed for learning alone, the lack of social contact often has negative effects. The acquired knowledge can not be exchanged, and there is no additional transfer of knowledge. Some portals balance this via other offers, like a homework chat, or moderated discussion forums, in which the participants get to talk about the different topics.

Microlearning Trend

Lots of learning content is prepared in small units, allowing users to choose what’s interesting at that moment. With the digital mediation of micro-content, for example, knowledge blocks for the exam preparation are made available so that it is possible to repeat and learn them in stages. For that, there are plenty of options for the educational presentation. Playful methods with questions and answers, similar to a quiz, are a possibility as well.

Tips For Selecting the Right Offer

Different criteria have to be kept in mind when choosing the appropriate offer. Many professional businesses give users the option of a trial course or provide some content for free. This way, users get a first-hand impression of the quality. This also lets them find out if the available classes meet the personal requirements. The following traits are characteristics of a good learning offer:

  • Clearly defined learning content and goals
  • Clear structure and target-group oriented content
  • Appropriate class duration, preferably multiple short stages of about ten minutes for self-learning classes
  • High-quality didactic preparation with sensible use of multimedia elements
  • Additional class and accompanying material, like worksheets and exercises to solve online or download
  • High audio and image quality of video lessons
  • Displayed image content matching spoken text
  • Note form summary of the learning content at the end
  • Visual and verbal explanation of circumstances

At some professional educational providers, it is also possible to purchase certificates that go along with some advanced training offers. However, most of the time, this is only possible for classes with attendance at specific times and is connected to a final exam.

For example, the European Business Competence License (EBC*L), and several language certificates are obtained this way. Aside from the nationally or internationally comparable degrees, some businesses also make out a company-specific certificate as proof for your participation. Depending on the reputation and popularity of the educational provider, this type of license may leave a good impression in a résumé.

Noupe Editorial Team

The jungle is alive: Be it a collaboration between two or more authors or an article by an author not contributing regularly. In these cases you find the Noupe Editorial Team as the ones who made it. Guest authors get their own little bio boxes below the article, so watch out for these.