Over the last five years, E-learning has been a stand-in for computer-based-training and is now being complimented by mobile learning.
Today, many different communication tools are being used to increase learning. These include, videos, embedded quizzes, YouTube clips, animated case scenarios etc.
Mobile leasing makes knowledge more accessible and creates an opportunity to learn and interact across contexts to meet a person on their level. By doing this, mobile learning utilizes a range of the possibilities that current mobile technologies present, in order to support the course participant both before, during and after their education.
The application of the technologies in an educational context
When you choose a competency course within for example project management, it is important to consider a number of things:
- The purpose of the education
- The maturity of the project organization
- The number of departments that have to cooperative after the education is finished
- The level of formalized knowledge sharing
- All of these factors will influence the result, partly the competences, the individual participant gains, and partly the benefits the business gains from their investment in increased competency development.
In the following sections, we will go over the different types of training Peak recommends for certain circumstances, with regard to boosting the competence of project managers and the project organization.
Learning and anchoring
Research shows, that in order to ensure the best possible anchoring of knowledge, you have to put a far greater emphasis on, what you do before the course itself and also how you should transfer knowledge into practice after the course is completed. The distribution of effort should, according to Robert Brinkerhoff be 40% before, 20% during and 40% after a course.
Before the course: Matching expectations amongst employees and management and creating a plan that allows the employees to apply their competencies after the course is over. Mindset for the employees. Preparation that suits the different learning styles of the course participants.
During the course: Focus on reality, challenge, dialogue, reflection and variation
After the course: Application of new knowledge, access to continued learning, access to sparring, mentoring and knowledge sharing
When should you choose e-learning?
The biggest advantage of E-learning is, that the participants can learn when it is convenient for them and therefore do not need to be away from the office in order to attend class teaching. It is our experience, that the goal of e-learning classes is to ensure a varied learning environment, where the participants switch between reading theory, application examples and taking tests that make them reflect.
The E-learning classes should be relatively short and organized in such a way that the participant can use short time intervals, while they are available during working hours or on their own time.
This solution is best suited for business specific educational courses, when a common project model has to be applied consistently within the business. Peak recommends E-learning for employees, interacting within a project context (project participants, developers, testers) who need to gain an understanding of the business’s project language and project method.
Peak can not generally recommend E-learning solutions that focus on application and scaling, as they do not allow for the participant to discuss their own experiences or for sparring from the teacher – all in an informal and confidential setting.
When should you choose blended learning?
Blended learning is a combination of classroom-based education and electronic support during the preparation phase and the course itself. The participants will typically have access to an online forum, where they can ask their trainer questions and join discussions on different project-related topics of their choosing.
Participants can use E-learning modules or similar electronic preparation, typically revolving around chosen parts of the curriculum, with the aim of reducing the number of classroom days.
Blended learning sticks to classroom training, so the participants are able to meet colleagues/likeminded people and exchange experiences and opinions, however, as E-learning often benefits from shortening the course, there will only be a limited amount of time to include real-life examples and discuss practical application.
Following the course, the participants will be able to use an online forum to exchange experience, possibly supplemented by the teacher or another advisor.
Peak recommends blended learning for businesses, that need to quickly raise their project managers’ level of competence and only have limited time where their managers can be away from their daily tasks. Alternatively, the training can be planned to take place on a weekend.
When should you choose mobile learning?
Mobile learning can utilize E-learning modules, other forms of electronic preparation such as online access to preparation materials, articles and quizzes as well as an online discussion forum. The mobile learning platform is built in such a way, that the participant can prepare, reflect and participate in dialogue, no matter which mobile device they have available.
With mobile learning you can support the participant before, during and after the course, and the top priority is supporting preparation, learning and anchoring of new knowledge. By supporting the preparation electronically using a range of different approaches, you ensure that the individual person’s learning style is accommodated, and thereby increase the likelihood of participants being well-prepared when they attend classroom training.
This creates more time in the classroom for the participants to exchange experiences and for the teacher to include examples, talk about scaling and practical application.
If the purpose of the educational course is to further closer collaboration between departments and at the same time ensure, that the participants get the most out of the course, it is recommended to combine mobile learning with regular classroom education.