Making sense of e-learning 20 Using e-learning 20

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					                                  Making sense of e-learning 2.0

The emergence of web 2.0 has changed the web from a passive source of information to place where
everybody has the opportunity to participate and contribute. Now this fundamental change is beginning to
spill over into e-learning.

Understanding what e-learning 2.0 means requires an understanding of how different types of e-learning
has come into existence. The below table outlines the three major branches of e-learning:

                            e-learning 1.0 (1999 - )    e-learning 1.5 (2004 - )    e-learning 2.0 (2007 - )

Components:                 •   Courses                 •   Reference               •   Referece
                            •   LMS                     •   Hybrids                 •   LCMS / Intranet
                            •   Authoring tools         •   LMS/LCMS                •   Portals
                                                        •   Authoring tools         •   Communities
                                                                                    •   Blogs
Label:                      •   Courseware              •   Rapid-learning          •   Peer-learning

Ownership:                  •   Top-down                •   Top-down                •   Bottom-up
                            •   Function driven         •   Function driven         •   User driven
Duration:                   •   1 hour                  •   15 minutes              •   1 minute

Delivery                    •   All at once             •   In small pieces         •   Continual

Driving force:              •   Instructional           •   Subject Matter          •   User
                                designer                    Expert (SME)

As a comment to the above it should be noted that the versioning is somewhat misleading, giving the
impression of an evolutionary process toward something that is increasingly better. This is wrong, a better
metaphor for understanding the different types of e-learning is to think of different branches all growing
from the same tree and who’s growth are determined by the technical, social, and business development in
the surrounding society. In other words e-learning 2.0 is not necessarily better than e-learning 1.0, it’s a
different training paradigm offering it own unique challenges and opportunities.

                                          Using e-learning 2.0

Web 2.0 is at its core a shift from seeing the internet as a medium to the idea of the web itself being a
platform. E-learning 2.0 builds on this fundamental shift and is predicated on involving the user in the
actual production of training material to an extent not seen before in e-learning. This paradigm shift is
obviously going to have profound consequences for the way future e-learning solutions are designed and

To use an example imagine an application training project: A new IT system is coming online and there is a

Knowledge-bit: E-learning 2.0           Copyright Coops & Company                                   Page 1 of 3
need for a user education package. For the purposes of this example we’ll assume that there are 100
functions in the application that requires training material and a user-base of 1.000.

Using e-learning 1.0 this would require: Defining the learning objectives, defining a curriculum, procuring a
solution from a vendor, cooperating with the vendor in the production, and finally implementing the
solution on the company LMS.

One of the most glaring faults with this approach – a fault that using e-learning 1.0 has been hard to
remedy – is the exclusion of the users in the design of the actual learning objects. All things equal it would
be fair to assume that the real knowledge about how to best and most efficiently carry out a function or
process in the application lies in the user community. And it would also be fair to assume that this
knowledge grows and changes the longer the application is in use. Tapping into and sharing the knowledge
found in the user community on a continual basis should therefore be paramount in creating training

Using the e-learning 2.0 the tools and methodology for achieving actual user involvement finally exist.
Imagine the same training material being developed undertaking the e-learning 2.0 learning paradigm:

•   A plan is drawn up detain the learning objects and distributing these to the employees based on
    relevance for job function.
•   Guidance for the creation of learning objects are drawn up based on manuals, use-cases or other
    existing documentation.
•   A suitable technology for, in the case of application training capturing screen simulations, is chosen. A
    number of different alternatives exist both within proprietary license based software or open-source.
•   E-learning 2.0 is not ideally suited for an typical LMS environment. So instead a community site
    covering the training is created on the company intranet.
•   The plan is communicated to the users. Most important part of this stage is energizing the user-
    community about their role in the training and the possibilities they now have.
•   The user community now starts creating the first batch of learning objects and these are implemented
    on the community site – and integrated directly into the applications help function
•   The training is now created benefiting not only from direct user involvement – but also a significantly
    higher training retention (National Training Laboratories ( put “teaching others” at a 90%
    retention rate compared with just 20% for “audio/visual” training. While these figures are not directly
    comparable with e-learning 2.0 all things equal a significant rise in training retention should be
•   And compared with e-learning 1.0 the development of training material for the application is now a
    continuous process with the user-community constantly updating the training as their knowledge of
    the application grows.
•   Integrating elements such as blogs or Wiki’s on the training site will also help to drive greater user
    involvement in the training process.
•   Certification through quizzes or other forms of test can still be maintained through an existing LMS.

Knowledge-bit: E-learning 2.0           Copyright Coops & Company                                  Page 2 of 3
            Key questions you need to ask before undertaking e-learning 2.0

While e-learning 2.0 offers great potential as a new and more involving form of e-learning it should be
understood that as a concept e-learning 2.0 is still relatively new and unproven. As such, great care should
be taken before undertaking projects solely through 2.0.

Some of the key questions that should be answered before committing to an e-learning 2.0 project include.

    Can the learning objectives be documented in enough detail for the user community to produce them?
    How much time will be spend creating the training compared with the cost of a vendor based e-
    learning 1.0 solution?
    How will you ensure that the training material produced lives up the required quality and follows the
    internal process requirement for the application?
    How will you ensure that the user community is energized and focused on the task of creating their
    own training?
    How can the user created learning objects be packaged into a curriculum?
    How will you handle certification?

If you would you like to learn more about e-learning 2.0 contact: or visit

Knowledge-bit: E-learning 2.0           Copyright Coops & Company                                 Page 3 of 3

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