eLearning Still Boils Down to Teacher and Student

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October 4, 2016

41 percent of global Fortune 500 enterprises now use some sort of educational technology to support corporate training, and no wonder: with eLearning, organizations are 42% more likely to see an increase in revenue and 46 percent more likely to be leaders in their industry.

But these stats are merely that: stats.

Just as technology is merely technology. The success of any eLearning program certainly depends on the informed, strategic purchase of technology and the capabilities those solutions bring, but ultimately the impact eLearning has on the organization depends on one thing:

Humans.

That’s why when you research eLearning technology today, you’ll read a lot about tools that can help drive engagement, personalization features that tailor the program to the worker’s individual learning habits, the integration of social elements, and much more. But at its core, even with all the sophisticated tools out there, education depends on good teaching. Whether it’s people teaching people or people teaching themselves, it’s the teaching that drives the transfer of knowledge. In some settings, this knowledge may be broad—learning for the sake of learning. In other cases (think medical school or a corporate setting), certain knowledge is imparted to support a certain purpose. Here, it’s up to the teacher to create a lesson plan, materials and in-class instruction that informs learners in a way that not only benefits them, but other people and organizations.

This is mission-critical training that can’t be supported by technology alone. It must be paired with solid teaching. So, what exactly is great teaching?

Maria Orlando, a professor at Capella University, says a great teacher creates a sense of community and belonging.” While she was referring to the live, in-class experience, the ability to bind students in the spirit of togetherness is especially relevant in the virtual environment. It creates a higher level of engagement not just with the teacher and materials, but also each other.

Ken Bain, president of the Best Teachers Institute, thinks great teaching is all about giving great feedback. This, of course, goes both ways. Students need to demonstrate that learning is actually taking place. If they can’t, teachers need to determine whether the room for improvement lies with the learner or teacher or both.

This speaks to another characteristic all great teachers have: the ability to switch tactics on the fly.

But, according to Ellie Herman who teaches English in Los Angeles, great teaching isn’t just about the ability to educate. It’s also about the desire. Whether you’re a college freshman studying literature or a 36 year-old auto dealer brushing up on the latest management techniques, you want your teacher to care about your progress. Organizations, too, need to know their instructors are truly involved and working hard to ensure their learners are getting the information they need to work in full alignment with the business.

What do you look for in your corporate trainers? Join the conversation below!

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