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What constitutes effective e-learning

eLearning

E-learning has revolutionised education and how we acquire our skills and knowledge, bringing education to a wider audience. Today, it is a $56.2 billion industry, and is set to double by 2015 with more than 41.7% of Fortune 500 companies currently making use of some form of e-learning.

"On the local front, we are seeing a steady increase in the growth of e-learning providers and students taking advantage of this new wave of education," says Michael Turnbull, manager for Technica, an interactive multimedia-training program, seeking to redefine the vocational skills training landscape in South Africa. With an estimated 400,000 South Africans taking advantage of e-learning opportunities in 2011, these numbers are now estimated to be nudging the 1 million mark, with e-learning revenues across Africa expected to reach $512 million by 2016.

And the benefits speak for themselves. The ability to study at one's convenience, the evolution of interactive and multimedia technologies leading to enhanced engagement and enjoyment and with minimal outlay; a cost-effective solution.

Yet, it is an industry not without its challenges, with e-learning nay-sayers skeptical about the success of digital learning programmes. But while challenges may exist, the reality of bringing education to the masses poses too strong a benefit and socio-economic advantage to simply ignore. "The real question is not whether e-learning is a viable alternative," says Turnbull. "But rather, which e-learning providers are able to ensure an effective e-learning experience."

So, how does one go about finding the right e-learning intervention?

One size does not fit all
"Our learning habits and preferences are as individual as our personalities, with some responding better to visual stimuli and others, auditory," says Turnbull. Multimedia offerings enable a full and rich e-learning experience catering to any and all preferences.

Course material
Who has developed the course material? Make sure it is developed, at the very least, in collaboration with industry professionals, who are able to offer relevant and current market-related input.

Video labs
"We learn by doing," continues Turnbull. Does your e-learning provider make use of the latest technological advancements to ensure as deep and rich an e-learning experience for you as possible? Video labs, which create a ‘real-life' classroom environment, are known to enhance the e-learning process and are vital to its success.

Qualified instructors
Even though e-learning constitutes self-paced self-study, who are the instructors ‘behind' the digital platform to mentor and assist you? Look for e-learning courses that come complete with accredited professionals, with realtime market experience in your field of study.

Assessments
Is there an opportunity to test yourself? Does your e-learning provider offer assessments or examinations during the course and as importantly, what recognised documentation and/or qualification will you receive on completion?

International accreditation
A good question to ask is not only will this desired e-learning course take you one step further in your own career, but how credible is it? In an ever-shrinking global village, international accreditation is vital.

Credibility
With the number of e-learning providers growing, how credible is the one you are considering? Do a little bit of research, find out if there are corporations already established in their own industry backing the e-learning provider for greater credibility and peace of mind.

Technica will be participating in the forthcoming ITWeb Security Summit, which will be staged at the Sandton Convention Centre from 27-29 May. In over 30 sessions presented in tracks for either senior business management or IT security professionals, information security professionals will examine the risks facing enterprise information systems today, and the strategies and technologies needed to counter them. In-depth workshops will also be presented on day three of the event, offering practical training on security status reporting and testing web applications for security vulnerabilities.
For more information, go to www.securitysummit.co.za Join the conversation on Twitter at #itwebsec

Editorial contact:
Leigh Angelo
ITP Communications
Tel: (011) 869 9153
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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