Ever since the advent of eLearning, traditional classroom trainers or instructors have been living in the fear that a time may soon come when their skills may no longer be required. Although instructor-led training is still used widely in a number of corporate organizations all around the world, eLearning is swiftly replacing it as the only form of corporate training and employee development. So will instructors or trainers will really be out of a job in the coming decade? The answer is no. Trainers will continue to have jobs in the learning and development sphere due to something known as blended learning, which is an amalgam of both traditional classroom or instructor-led training as well as corporate eLearning. But what makes us so sure that blended learning will survive in the coming decades and not be completely replace by solely eLearning? Well, because blended learning offers the benefits of both the learning methodologies, and offers several advantages over eLearning. In this article we’ll discuss those advantages.
- Blended Learning Provides A “Human Touch”
Every educated individual in the world has been taught by “human beings” in the form of teachers. When all you’ve known is traditional classroom training, it can be a little difficult to transition completely to a learning methodology where you’re taught by a machine. We can’t say the same for any future generations that’ll be taught solely through eLearning, i.e. a computer program, but hopefully the “human touch” is something that’ll remain an integral part of the learning experience. Anyhow, an argument can be made that an eLearning program cannot communicate with a learner as well as a teacher or trainer can with a student or learner, so there’s that. The opportunity to ask questions is something only available to learners in a blended learning approach.
- eLearning May Become Outdated in The Future
* Gasp! * Yes, although it may not seem likely right now, eLearning as an individual learning methodology relies heavily on visuals like graphics and animations, which in the near future may lose their novelty and become boring for the learners. Their engagement value might end at that point and they might even prove to be distracting if designers keep on adding anymore flashy elements (as they continue to do). eLearning needs to return to its core principles. Also, there are certain rapidly evolving fields like robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence where eLearning simply cannot keep up, even now. A blended learning approach has, and will continue to be a better learning methodology for training in such fields.
- Blended Learning Maintains Discipline
One of the advantages of eLearning is that it self-paced, which is also one of its most fatal flaws. Because eLearning offers the ultimate flexibility and freedom, what’s to stop the learner from misusing this freedom and not learning at all? Blended learning on the other hand still has a trainer, who can ensure that learners actually learn and that discipline is maintained, at least during a learning session with him/her.
- eLearning On Its Own Lacks Transformational Power
While eLearning is effective in imparting most types of knowledge and skills to the learners, it cannot replace the learning a learner would get by communicating with a live experienced practitioner of that knowledge or skill. Learning on such a level, unfortunately cannot be replicated by just an eLearning program at this moment (and not likely in the near future). How many geniuses you know have had eLearning as their learning methodology?
- eLearning Is Limited
People underestimate the various levels of learning a learner experiences with an instructor or trainer. While eLearning is limited to only the content it contains, a trainer teaches a learner the dynamics of personality, intelligence, vision, and creativity, all of which are human qualities very necessary in all types of business.
While this article contains a lot of critique against eLearning, it is in no way targeted to undermine the potential and utility of eLearning. eLearning is very much a revolutionary learning methodology and has an important place in the future of learning. The goal of this article is to understand its limitations and to stress that human trainers/instructors/teachers simply cannot be replaced. Blended learning is much stronger and advanced learning methodology exactly because it leverages the advantages of both traditional classroom training or instructor-led training plus eLearning. Hopefully, the world will understand that soon and give it its due respect.
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