Why do people attend training courses, and what can online Cloud based E-Learning provide for your competence management system that a traditional classroom course cannot?
Why does any employee attend a training course? Very often the main answer to the question is that the employer requires them to, usually to enable human resources to track progress in a competence management system (CMS).
When it comes to safety-related courses, course certificates may be necessary to show the health and safety inspector. Training should only be one aspect of a good CMS, nevertheless, it is an important one.
There are multiple types of training course available, so why do employers put people through online eLearning courses? Surely, online eLearning courses are just to save the company money?
The quality of online E-Learning in any field is certainly variable, albeit improving with technology and better practices. A poor online course is as bad as having an incompetent tutor; to be avoided.
A poor online course is as bad as an incompetent tutor; to be avoided.
How to select a good training course
Selecting the right kind of training is tricky. Usually, word-of-mouth recommendation is the most valuable, but that is quite limiting if it is your only source.
The next best option would be to select a course which has some independent accreditation. It is important that the accreditor is completely independent of the training entity, to give the assurance of impartiality.
A final option would simply to be send someone already competent on a course as a test case, and get them to report back on its quality and effectiveness. This could be costly, but if positive, may lead back to the word-of-mouth recommendation which is most desired anyway.
What about online E-Learning courses?
Companies, like eFunctionalSafety, who sell accredited online courses will typically provide a limited number of course modules as a free trial, or they may allow an entire course to be vetted if the potential purchase is for a team. If these options are not possible, then this typically means there is something to hide.
COURSES FOR INDIVIDUALS
As an individual user looking for an online E-Learning course, I would propose that you look for the option to begin an online course without entering any credit card details.
Test the opening modules provided for free, and then ask any questions about the remaining modules.
Check that the course is independently accredited, and ensure that there are Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours assigned on completion.
COURSES FOR TEAMS
If you are a human resources professional, or manager of a team, then it is likely you will want to vet an entire online eLearning course before selecting it for a team. Do not be afraid to ask for this. A good online course provider will be happy to let one person have full access for a limited period, for vetting purposes.
Team E-Learning can provide unforeseen benefits. With a good learning management system (LMS), it should be possible to assign someone to oversee a team of learners to monitor progress and gain extra insight.
Tracking learner progress sounds a little like "big brother" watching you, but in practice it can reveal quite a number of things which may not be apparent until you start to use a modern LMS with tracking features.
COURSE TRACKING IN THE CLOUD
With a professional Cloud E-Learning Management System you are able to track the following metrics for a practically unlimited number of team learners:
- Assigned course(s)
- Course start date
- Number of logins
- Recent activity
- Module and course completion time
- Module and course completion date
- Course progress
- Survey results
- Assessment attempts
- Assessment results
The above list may not sound that amazing, but a lot can be inferred from the data generated when a larger team is learning. For instance, it is possible to correlate learning time invested versus assessment attempts and results.
So, what can be done with such tracking data? Well, that depends highly on the team's diversity and background. If the general perception before joining a team to a course is that people from the same discipline have equal levels of competence, then you would expect the tracking data to show very similar patterns.
If you join a group of people with different backgrounds, different levels of experience and different pre-existing competence to the same course, then you would expect different patterns.
This tracking capability is something that is unique to a Cloud E-Learning LMS environment, so beware of so-called "online" courses which are just slides, PDF files or untracked video. Sadly, these are still easily the most common type of "online" course available in the market.