For many years eLearning has been a popular and effective method of training. 77% of American companies offer online training for their employees’ professional development and recent analysis shows the e-learning market is set to double by 2022.
It is a method that works, but why? The importance and effectiveness of eLearning can be measured by looking at the neuroscience in eLearning. By looking at the four stages of the learning cycle that need to be present for our brains to engage we can discover how eLearning blends into your brain.
We don’t just learn by watching others or reading but by doing. The first stage of the learning cycle is concrete experience. A student taking part in eLearning has to be more engaged than if they were just sitting in a lecture listening to their teacher. By opening a computer, downloading the lesson, and signing in, students are taking a more active role than they would in the classroom even before they start learning.
Reflect and repeat
Taking a step back to go over information you’ve already covered is called reflective observation. The ability to learn at your own pace outside a classroom setting gives participants the freedom to take a second look at concepts or difficult sections they may not have understood the first time round. It’s harder to do this in the classroom as drawing attention to yourself and asking for help can be difficult for many people.
Learn from example
Applying learned experience to real-life scenarios and events can help the user make sense of the information they’ve been working on. This is the process of abstract conceptualization. When applied to specific work situations, the learner can contextualise the information they learnt making it more useful and easier to remember.
Putting it into practice
It’s important in any learning process to take the knowledge gained and put it into practice quickly as we’re more likely to retain it this way. eLearning allows users to apply their knowledge immediately. The pace of eLearning is set up so eLearners can take in new information, put it into practice and go back to the start so they’re always improving. This creates a more flexible approach to learning which can be applied to our own individualised ways of taking in information.
Rather than passively taking in content, eLearning forces you to play more of an active role in the learning experience that relies on instinct. Learning is a continuous process that has more of an effect if it takes place over a long period of time rather than in a one-day seminar. Through eLearning students have to apply their knowledge to real-life experiences. This allows them to retain the information and, in the process, create new knowledge.