Frequently asked eLearning questions

There are lots of ways to train your people, improve compliance, engage learners and develop skills,  and eLearning is a great option for cash strapped charitable organisations that might have small learning and development teams. So what exactly is eLearning, what are the benefits of rolling it out to staff and volunteers, and what are the pitfalls to avoid?

What is the full meaning of eLearning?
eLearning refers to the acquisition of knowledge delivered via electronic means, usually using the internet, video learning and interactive courses.

At the Charity Learning Consortium, we provide our members with eLearning courses, video learning and a learning management system (LMS) – to host these resources. Members can also upload their own courses and resources to the LMS. 

Some organisations use eLearning for compliance based training, such as health and safety and gdpr. Other organisations have a wider range of topics available via online learning, such as coaching, wellbeing and leadership and management development. 

What do you need to make eLearning a success?
When launching eLearning you will need:

  • To identify the need for eLearning within your organisation, so you know what problem you are solving and what success will look like – this is true of all training
  • A platform or LMS to host your content and record learning data
  • Off the shelf eLearning courses that are engaging and relevant. As a rule of thumb, if something offers 75% to 80% of what you need, you can then fill in the gaps – often with bespoke in-house created content, organisational policies and/or free resources
  • Someone who will not just manage but drive online training within your organisation, by promoting the learning on offer
  • To assess the technical challenges that your learners might face – such as lack of hardware, software or internet access – along with practical ideas to solve them
  • Board level support, eLearning ambassadors and champions and supportive managers
  • A means to evaluate progress, not just completion rates
  • A supportive supplier who can guide you through launching eLearning and keep inspiring you to make it a success. Have a look at what our members say about our service (I’d link to some testimonials here)

What are the benefits of eLearning?
In terms of a learning experience, eLearning stands up very well to scrutiny. Numerous studies into the effectiveness of different learning methods, over several decades, show that in over 90% of cases, there is no significant difference between learning approaches. The research includes a high degree of analysis of eLearning.

We’ve created a white paper, which outlines 10 reasons why charities should use eLearning. It includes an action plan to help you maximise the benefits of eLearning, along with case studies of charities that use it as part of a blended learning approach. Download the white paper for free here.

Why is eLearning bad?
In the past, eLearning had a poor reputation. That probably stemmed from boring PowerPoint presentations being turned into long, boring eLearning, and a ‘click next’ approach that didn’t put the learner’s needs first. Modern eLearning has come a long way and is usually short, succinct, colourful, engaging, video rich and puts learners in the driving seat. It has really come into its own as the world has shifted from face to face events to the flexibility of learning from home.

eLearning works best though as part of a blended approach to learning, for imparting knowledge with lots of opportunities to then put skills into practice. Our charity members have seen amazing results from using a mix of eLearning, online classrooms, webinars, videos, free resources and in-person assessments and courses when necessary. You can find out more about their successes in a free series of eBooks on our website. 

It’s also vital to use feedback and data to inform your decisions, and evaluate the effectiveness of any training. 

Reasons eLearning can be ‘bad’:

  • No-one is marketing eLearning to drive engagement
  • Your people aren’t given the time or resources they need to participate
  • A need wasn’t recognised before eLearning was created
  • The courses aren’t relevant
  • eLearning isn’t being used as part of a blended learning programme
  • The courses are too long, unengaging or old-fashioned
  • There is no context, to how it maps into the person’s specific role or organisation

To create an effective blended programme, differentiate between imparting knowledge and enhancing practical skills – and choose the best solution for each. St John Ambulance did this really effectively when training volunteers during the Covid pandemic. You can read more about the charity’s approach here.

Do you have more questions about using eLearning within your charity? Have a chat with our friendly team to find out more.

Sarah Burrell

About Annabelle Price

Before joining the CLC team, Annabelle worked in the third sector, which ignited her passion. Now as a Marketing Executive at the CLC, she enjoys learning about the amazing work our members are doing and sharing these successes to promote this. Annabelle helps brings this to life by organising our events to create a space for our Members to network, share & collaborate.

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