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E-Learning Modes

Formats Features Advantages Challenges

Overview Live online (features common to all types of e-learning) (advantages common to all types of e-learning) (challenges common to all types of e-learning)
Asynchronous • Information/training is delivered through • Potential for one presenter/instructor to reach • Lacks non-verbal cues and expressions of in-
Instructor-led information technologies and electronic many geographically distributed learners person interactions
media • Eliminates time and cost for travel • Difficult for instructor to gauge learner
• Instructors & learners are not in the same • Convenience of training and learning at your response/commitment
physical location desk • More challenging to teach “soft skills”

Formats Features Advantages Challenges

Live online Instructor-led • Instructor & learners meet at same time in Creators: Creators:
(synchronous) webinar, a virtual ‘room’ • Most like a f2f classroom – easier transition • In-person facilitation skills not the same as
videoconference, • Slides, application sharing, whiteboard, • Shorter time to develop than other e-modes online facilitation skills
Google Hangout polls, breakout rooms • Instructor/presenter can respond to questions • Prone to technical issues, Internet connection
• Communication through: & comments in real time difficulties
– one or two-way audio • Live interactions with learners • Need to prepare learners for online
– text chat • Reusable presentation materials environment
– video • Short learner attention span
• Sessions may be recorded for later viewing Learners:
• Most like a f2f classroom Learners:
• Ability to ask questions in real time • Prone to technical issues
• Peer social interaction in real time • Learning curve to get comfortable with
• Connections with people virtually when not technology
able to meet in person • Short sessions
• Distractions; hard to pay attention

WebJunction 2014
Formats Features Advantages Challenges

Asynchronous MOOC, recorded • Instructor & learners not online at same Creators: Creators:
lectures, discussion time • Instructor’s time flexible • Front-loaded effort
Instructor-led forums, blogs, email • Instruction = written, audio, video, etc. • Good for in-depth topics, In-depth discussions • Lack of live interaction; harder to give
• Threaded discussions, email, assignments • Variety of activity options feedback
• Scheduled – usually start and end dates • Potentially large number of participants • Effort of following learner activities
• Usually longer (multi-week) • Lower completion rates
• Convenience: flexible time, individual pace of Learners:
learning • No live interaction
• Time-bound: start/end dates and deadlines • Response time to questions & discussions
• Good for in-depth topics • Variable availability of instructors
• Possibility of interaction with instructor • Requires more learner self-motivation
• Peer learner interaction through online • Peer interaction requires more effort

Formats Features Advantages Challenges

Self-Paced Online courses, • No instructor (instructional design team Creators: Creators:

tutorials, job aids, instead) • Create/design learning once, use many times • Skill-sets needed: subject matter expert,
how-to videos, articles • Learner works at any time, usually alone • Standardized content and delivery instructional design, technical skills
• No schedule – maybe no due date • Scales endlessly • Time/effort/cost required up front
• Computer graded learning assessment • Difficulty of updating topics
• Cost/effort almost all up front Learners: • Need LMS for tracking
• Fit learning options to individual needs • Low completion rates
• Learn at own pace
• Learn at any time Learners:
• Revisit; use as a reference • No human/social interaction; boring
• No deadlines
• Requires self-motivation, discipline
• Limited effective length

WebJunction 2014