With an estimated 77% of US corporations using eLearning today, it is a proven method to train and teach, as long as it is done in the right way. One difference between classroom training and eLearning is that in classroom training you are not able to slow down, pause, rewind, and often interact. But with eLearning you can do just that: slow down, pause, rewind and interact. If I had a remote control for my classroom training at college and could have pushed pause on the professor to make sure my notes were perfect word for word, would I have found my coursework and exams easier? I think so!
Ok, so you've worked hard at developing your eLearning strategy and course development process. You're confident your eLearning courses are well suited to your audience and the initial evaluations and quiz results reveal individuals are engaged and improving. Great, you are on the right track! But have you thought about ways to reinforce your elearning?
Many moons ago, while I was at college, all my courses were based in the classroom where I could quickly receive feedback from my professor and ask any questions I had, Great I thought! But when I had 16 hours of lessons a week and 2 hours with each subject it soon became a terrifying prospect thinking how I was going to prepare for coursework and exams. How on Earth was I going to remember something I had been taught from 6 months ago! If I could take the exam straight after my lesson I would have remembered more and could almost guarantee a great result, 6 months later it would prove to be more of a struggle to recall what I had learned. If only there was a way to refresh my memory in my own time (and all the time), to keep the cogs ticking over!
There are many theories about forgetting and memory retention from The AtkinsonShiffrin model (1968) - also known as the multi-store model, to the 'Forgetting Curve' by Hermann Ebbinghaus (1885/1913). The rate of forgetting can be quite alarming.
Even after your audience has completed their elearning course, the learning should not stop there. With approximately half of information lost after 1 day and only 1 fifth of information being retained at 2 weeks, how can you ensure your learners are making the most of the course. Maybe you could get students to repeat the course every few months. Or introduce refresher courses so students can repeat sections of the course to reduce time but still cover topics again. Or offer scenarios based emails for them to answer, perhaps one a day or week to keep them thinking about and refreshed on the course. Even if some details were lost, these reminders can help the individual to retrieve items previously forgotten. Plenty of instant feedback will help so the learner and teacher to discover how well they are progressing.
There are many tools in the elearning industry to help with retention, personally, Cameo is my favorite as it differs from many other learning reinforcement tools because it uses a "Push" method of learning. With Cameo, the reinforcement is delivered to your learners doorstep. They dont have to log into another system and search for the learning. The learning is right there in their InBox... just a click away.
You will need to investigate and find the right method to suit your company/school etc. As with the research behind elearning courses, the more effort you put in now, the greater the rewards.