Is Web-Based Training Software the Future of Online Learning?
What is Web-Based Training? (WBT)
Web-based training is an internet-based learning platform that is also available on the local intranet. WBT technologies encompass instant messaging, streaming audio and video, webinars, and forums. Different organizations apply the WBT technologies in different techniques such as in law enforcement, the military elementary & secondary schools, colleges, and universities. You should not, however, confuse WBT with E-Learning software 2.0.
Stanford University instructors introduced WBT e-learning software in the 1960s. That was while they were testing computer-based elementary math and learning classes. By the early 90s, email was the preferred method for college instructors to deliver tutorials and lecture notes to their students. By the mid-90s, projectors were already appearing on ceilings of computer classrooms as course developments continued throughout colleges and universities in the U.S.
The modern WBT is mainly dependent on the internet and multimedia. The sectors leading in the take up of WBT include consulting, education, content management, services, technology, and customer service.
Various institutions offer WBT in the U.S, including in K-12, graduate school settings, traditional classrooms, in homes, and other settings. Depending on internet availability, public cyber schools now offer synchronous and asynchronous web-based classes. The teachers that teach in the web-based institutions have to be certified relevantly, and the students must fulfill their regular work submissions online. The advantage of such institutions is the freedom to customize your schedule to a broad course selection, not to mention the individualized training opportunities.
Research by Ambient Sight in 2009 showed that 44 percent of the post-secondary students in the U.S are enrolled in online courses. In 2014, the percentage grew to an astounding 81%. About half of public colleges and universities offer courses online as it decreases costs for long-distance students.
Technology and the Future of Online Learning
Not too long ago, distance learning meant bridging the physical distance between the instructor and the student at the cost of the latter. It has been a long and challenging journey for those of us who have enjoyed online education for a while and recall the DOS days.
To my generation, the cassette tapes and telephone were among the most advanced pieces of technology that were available. Then the internet came, and it began redefining our understanding of the learning experience. Now we could learn much more directly than in a physical classroom, and the delivery of content can be modified for different students.
Eventually, "online learning" became a famous analogy for people accessing classes irrespective of the physical distance between them. With time, the flexibility of online learning grew so much that it was no longer about accessing courses from long distances but simply maximizing time and space.
With time, it became possible for students to complete their programs at all levels while they carried on with their daily duties. Moreover, the delivery techniques evolved with the introduction and growth of WBT. It altered how students interpreted information and made it possible to understand whole concepts by watching videos.
Social media then set in and introduced new opportunities in real-time connections for WBT. Social media changed how communication and information exchange happened in society. As a result, students' expectations began to change. Advancements in the field have been geared to providing the most quality education to students online, and the best means to relevantly, test, and certify them after completion.
Five latest innovations that impact the evolution of WBT include;
While some of the above might have been introduced a while ago, the platforms have made groundbreaking updates with the various technological changes. The most recent updates are mostly focused on improving the delivery aspect of WBT. Application learning, such as gamification and big data, have played critical roles in student engagement in the recent past. While we may struggle to retain project learning as the mainstream academic approach, technology has revolutionized the ability to engage your students with applications and fun games.
How Technology changed the way of learning
As we continue to interact with technology over the years, it has changed the way we live, socialize, educate, and learn. Unlimited access to the internet across multiple platforms on different devices has given people increased access to information. It has become so integrated into our society that we do not even notice it anymore.
In most part, technology has changed our view of education in terms of time, space, and potential. With their own gadgets, the internet allows students to have access to materials 24 hours a day. Just like a typical student attends a class and carries some homework home to refresh what they learned, technology is programmed to help you master the topic, of course, with the added advantage that you can replay a lecture.
For instance, technology now allows teachers to schedule activities for students when they go home through e-learning software. These include watching lectures that they would have received at school. By doing it in class, the students can interact more with the subject hence their peers and the teacher. That is known as flipped learning.
Flipped learning allows the student to use class time for more productive measures instead of just sitting and receiving information that can be done at home. There are millions of ways that technology has improved and broadened instructions, personalized learning, and engage students.
The only feat that technology fails to achieve is the assurance that any of these changes will be of any significant benefit to the student. That remains the responsibility of the teacher. While technology offers the means to ease and improve every aspect of learning, teachers have to notice the potential in students in order to provide the materials that re impactful.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Training
The advantages of WBT t teachers and students are numerous. I couldn’t write all of them in this article, but the majority are based around accessibility and personalization. Here are a few of the pros of WBT:
It is more cost-effective: While you should not dwell solely on price, it is a critical aspect of modern-day education. Taking a web-based course saves your travel and accommodation costs as well as other facilitation costs. It presents a far cheaper option for people who have to travel long distances to access their program’s classes.
It is more time-effective: Another obvious benefit of WBT is that it saves a lot of time that would have been spent on arranging logistics such as flights, hotels, taxis. By eliminating travel time and other lengthy procedures, the learner can afford to learn at their own time and pace.
Training can be standardized and scaled: WBT makes sure that each student taking the unit gets the same level of training regardless of their location across the globe. The fact that learning is standardized is useful in ensuring both teacher and student compliance and for mandatory induction training.
Customization to learner: With online learning, the learner has the freedom to progress with the course at their own pace. That ensures that fast learners do not get bored while still allowing the slower learners enough time to digest the information sufficiently before progressing. The content can also be customized on e-learning platforms allowing the organization to tailor custom instructions for specific employees.
Cons of Web-Based Training
Online learning requires a tech-savvy audience
The efficient use of technology to successfully complete or order assignments requires individuals that are flexible in the use of computers, laptops, and smartphones. While most people have no problem navigating web platforms, it might prove challenging to those who are not used to working with the devices.
To access online learning platforms, you will usually require an internet connection. Most online learning activities are hosted and must be completed online. The user must also have enough data to stream and download the videos and materials that are relevant to his study. Aside from these costs, you should consider the broadband connectivity in your specific geographical location.
Learners must motivate themselves
Taking online classes often means working in isolation and time, and progress management is critical to earning good grades. It also means that the learner has to motivate himself to make the necessary progress in time.
The content of online materials may not always be suitable for specific programs. In programs with controversial topics, the learner might be left with unclear answers if they have no experienced facilitator present. Without the moderation and guidance of a facilitator, the learner might misunderstand the subject matter, which is detrimental to his grade.
WBT software development training has already shown the great potential the technology has in cutting down training costs and improving learner engagement, among other advantages. However, when choosing a training delivery option, you should consider the nature of the study. If the content is not appealing for online platforms, consider alternative delivery methods. You should also take into consideration the availability of the internet in the learner's region and the learner's technological proficiency.
Even with the numerous advantages brought by online learning, some learners would not be well suited for this kind of delivery method. Learners who require a more guided and hands-on approach to education may not be well suited for online classes. In cases where some learners prefer different learning modes, the management should adopt a more mixed approach where classroom learning is combined with online learning to provide the results they need.
Chetu offers a seamless web-based training system that makes learning much easier. Built by their expert WBT e-learning software developers, the platform provides businesses, colleges, and other organizations top-notch training solutions to achieve more. Their WBT software is easy to use and can comfortably be navigated by students, employees as well as administrators.