History of E-learning
The first E-learning Software or Learning Management Software (LMS) was created in the 1990s and was oriented mostly towards schools and educational institutions. Their origins go back to integrated learning systems (ILS) which offer additional functionality beyond instructional content such as management and tracking, more personalized instruction, and integration across the system.
Today we have a great deal of LMSs that mostly orient themselves towards different work areas – education or business; big or small vendors, etc. Most of them rely heavily on content – displaying it in a user-friendly way, organizing it, handling it, or as most daring do – create.
Back to Reality
One of the biggest issues nowadays is the fact that we are overwhelmed with information, both useful and not-so-much. Sometimes I even wonder if it is possible to create original stuff anymore – it seems that most of the things have been exhausted. So, how to create e-learning content that is both alluring to users (not boring and heavy) and informative at the same time?
You may not like the answer – since it is very expensive and requires a great deal of time to be invested. University professors, experienced trainers, great trainers – there’s plenty of them, they are all able to create incredible content, but are they going to fit in? What if they don’t? It costs extra to find new experts. However, there might be a way around.
Tool Over Content
What if you actually took the same content (that is true and correct of course) but just displayed it in a more intuitive way – through multimedia: videos, pictures, presentations, and so on, the options are literally limitless.
But it doesn’t stop there – this is just the beginning. Can you ensure that all of the students/attendants/trainees will find the provided content useful and practical? That’s highly unlikely – even in the advanced classes.
After lecturing that innovative, great, multimedia, simple content, the students/attendants/trainees need to test their knowledge for official exams. From my experience, simply providing a number of questions and the line that “answers are in the text” is not enough. Simply put, sometimes I didn’t understand the matter, so I couldn’t extract the answers. And the workbooks that provided the answers immediately after the questions or at the end were not very effective as well – since the temptation to just copy the answers and finish the tasks/questions as soon as possible was too great.
This leads me straight to the point – what if the students/attendants/trainees had a system in which that innovative content was presented to them in a great way and they had a tool to practice afterward, but seeing the report only after finishing the exercises – all of them. And not only that – but actually let them repeat the test-taking – with different questions, but same subject!
Now that is a whole new factor – the volume of the content. What if each of the lessons/courses had a pool of questions that are used for generating test versions. For example, The test contains 10 questions, the question pool contains 500 questions. Each time a test is generated, different 10 questions are chosen, until all of them have been exhausted – which might take a while.
Eventually, I came to the conclusion that it is much more useful to actually spend funds on acquiring good-quality content rather than investing much much more into unique, genius content. At the end of the line, it all depends on the users that need to adopt that knowledge – it is more important that they are provided the proper e-learning tools to practice and use the content provided. This is exactly what YouTestMe software solutions are about.
Finally, since data storage is a big issue today – YouTestMe solutions can be hosted in a cloud and accessed over a secure (https) connection. Of course, if the policy is to keep data within the premises, it can also be distributed in a virtual machine package and installed within minutes on a plug and play principle.
The system maintains itself, it is fully automated to check up available space, does regular antivirus scans, and monitors the performance. Of course, if necessary the Support team can assist during any possible issues.
Content vs. Tool
In your opinion, what is more, important when deciding to purchase an e-learning solution: unique content or great tools? Please leave a comment.