E-learning has become increasingly popular among learners and instructors today. Online courses are eliminating geographical barriers and spreading knowledge around the globe. A major reason for their popularity is the ability to engage learners. They can simulate classroom-like environments by allowing learners to easily interact with educators. E-learning has been able to redefine teaching strategies, as well, which has led to progress in the education sector.
All of this has been possible because of the advanced technologies that are being used in e-learning by both the content creators and the learners. Let’s explore the technical requirements that are used in creating advanced level e-learning courses.
Creating and Enhancing E-Learning Content
Besides the basic requirements of a computer and an Internet connection, e-learning uses a variety of different technologies. Some of them are specifically designed and developed for e-learning courses, and some are used for providing additional support and features for e-learning.
- Creating videos and lessons: To create effective videos for e-learning courses, creators require good voice recording and editing software. They can record the voice using microphones and then enhance the quality with software. For example, software such as Audacity can be used to enhance the voice quality and remove noise from the recording.
Instructors also might require screen recording software to capture the screen while teaching something. They can use video editing software to enhance their video quality, create videos with special effects, and add multimedia to videos. Camtasia is one such software that can be used for this purpose. Content creators also can require scanners to scan content and utilize it in their videos and lessons.
- Adding interactive elements: To amplify student engagement in online learning, it is important to add interactive elements to the course such as a comment or question feature; images and multimedia; and games, quizzes, and assessment tests.
- Communicating with learners: It is important to add a means by which students and instructors can communicate easily. Instructors can use e-mail or instant messaging software and create forums for their courses. They can use digital platforms such as Skype and Google Hangouts to communicate in real time with learners. They also can use social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Google+ to provide a personalized learning experience.
Another important tool learners and instructors can use to connect and share information in real time is whiteboards. Whiteboard software allows screen sharing and brainstorming on problems together just like in traditional classrooms. Instructors also can use Google Docs to share course content and study material with learners. They also can use math/engineering software if required, which would allow them to easily explain such concepts.
Managing E-learning Courses
- Content management systems: A content management system (CMS) is like a database that is used by instructors to store their course content, multimedia, graphics, student records, and other important files. With the help of a CMS, instructors can easily manage their content and keep track of all the data related to their course. The CMS allows an easy search through all the content saved in it based on keyword search methods. Content creators or course instructors can navigate, add, update, and delete data with the help of the CMS interface. There are a number of open source e-learning CMS available to choose from.
- Learning management systems: A learning management system (LMS) is the software that can be used to track and store user performance. It also generates reports for the same. For example, instructors can use an LMS to track how much time a learner spends on the course, and what content the learner has gone through and in how much time. It also can generate progress reports for learners by assessing them. Once a learner registers for the course, the LMS provides all the administrative facilities him or her. ELearning Industry has rated Adobe Captivate Prime, Administrate, and Moodle as the best Learning Management Systems.
The technology used in e-learning is the major reason for the success of the learners and the course. Online course creators can use different software to enhance their courses and engage more and more learners. The main thing to consider is that the technologies used in e-learning should be able to satisfy the requirements of both the instructors and the learners.
Aditya Singhal is the co-founder of Transtutors, an online education platform for college students. Having graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) – Delhi, Singhal has a personal interest in helping students. He incorporated technology in helping students learn appropriately through e-learning mediums and tools. You can find more about him on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+