eLearning Delivery Methods

eLearning is not a method of training; it's a framework that invites the use of whatever method best fits the situation at hand. Here's a starter list. It's incomplete. Email me your suggestions. Help me flesh out the list.

method of delivery description pro con
classroom, instructor-led training, ILT instructors & learners in same place at same time most enjoyable, only way for "people people" expensive, set time, large blocks of time
virtual class same time, different places. two-way audio, generally shared application space, sometimes shared video. 15 to 20 learners maximum. closest to ILT, can use ILT content, each learner can be in a different spot nothing beats being there in the flesh
virtual lecture same time (although can be recorded for replay later), different places. often have email to lecturer, intra-group chat, poll taking unlimited audience size. little interaction.
self-paced any time, anywhere. learner controlled. could be CBT, web-based training, reading, lab exercise, streaming video, web tour, treasure hunt scant incremental cost per learner. convenient. expensive to develop.
mentoring one-to-one assistance & coaching. can be email, phone, in person, instant messaging. if scheduled in advance, it's "office hours." personalized response to needs. direct source of expert advice. expensive to administer.
discussion board, threaded discussion any time. good reference. answering questions is a great teacher in itself. inexpensive. without a host, hard to get participation. need a host to prune obsolete, obscene, and off-target postings. can provide bogus information.
chat realtime online "conversation." ephemeral--if you miss it, it's gone. usually gets off track fast. available free nearly everywhere. usually frivolous. see Jakob Nielsen's rant on this.
realtime discussion can be expert-led or confined to a single topic. unlike a chat, the discussion may be archived for future reference. simple to set up. can drift.
study group or buddy system. can be as simple as two people working at one computer (often more effective than studying solo). inexpensive. self-sustaining. leverages prepared content. keeps learners plugged in. not monitored, easy to drop out.
help desk on demand. 1:1 problem-solving advice. can be phone or email or Instant Messaging. easy to implement. staff required to monitor.
email the modern equivalent of a phone call or chance encounter in the hall. (just make sure everyone's got the email addresses they need.) easy to implement. may get lost in the shuffle -- some people get hundreds of emails a day.


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