High Heels and eLearning Lessons

Close up of brown shoes isolated on white

My heels were no taller than 3″ inches—polished and professional—yet comfortable enough to wear when I was a classroom trainer.  My wardrobe consisted of jackets and coordinating black skirts or slacks.  Those were the days I stood in front of a class room, training adults on a wide variety of software applications.My wardrobe has changed over the last few years.  Now I wear casual jackets, my de facto black slacks and flats.  Now I train from behind a laptop, creating and designing online courses. When I was at Research Rockstar, as an eLearning designer, I used my past experience as classroom trainer to make sure our materials appeal to diverse learners—including those who may be more accustomed to learning market research via in-person training formats.

eLearning Options: Instructor-led or On Demand

  • Instructor-led training (ILT) can be taught in-person or via a virtual classroom.  When taught in a virtual classroom, it is a form of eLearning.
  • On demand training (also often called self-paced/asynchronous training or web-based training) is taught online, at the learner’s own pace. This is also a form of eLearning.

As far as designing the training content, both types of eLearning require good instructional design for the adult learner.  The training must include clear, measurable learning objectives, engaging content, well defined layouts and a logical flow from one topic to the next. Attributes must be included to maximize both comprehension and retention of the content.

What’s different between these two forms of eLearning is the delivery:  how each course is delivered as well as when and where the learning takes place.

Both instructor-led eLearning and on demand deliver location independence. The learner can sit atop a bed, in a quiet home office or office cubicle, or on a mobile device while sitting on a train.  No airport travel time and expense is required, nor significant time OOO (out of office).
For learners seeking eLearning but trying to decide if instructor-led or on demand is the best fit, consider these two questions:

  • Do you want real-time Q&A? If that is important, instructor-led is the right choice. In an instructor-led eLearning classroom, the pace and flow can be adjusted as learners ask additional questions or want to explore more topics in depth.
  • Do you like to interact with peers? Again, a point in favor of the real-time eLearning classroom.
  • Do you want total schedule independence? In the on demand eLearning environment, the content is fixed, but learners have control over time.  They can start and stop whenever they like.

Learning, Either Way

The bottom line is you have a two-step decision to make when choosing any kind of professional training.

  1. In-person or eLearning?
  2. eLearning that is instructor-led or on demand?

It’s all a matter of preference. And whether you want to ditch the 3-inch heels.