Digital Learning Explained

Choosing the right learning strategy for your organisation is always difficult, especially with so many digital technologies being available. At ELS, we understand the challenges you face, especially if this is new to you.
This short guide has been put together to help you understand some of the key terminology used when choosing which digital learning approach is suitable for you.

Blended Learning
Blended learning combines in-person (face-to-face) classroom and practical learning with online educational materials and interactive activities. Whilst the in-person elements of the blend requires the physical presence of both the trainer and the students, the online learning can be undertaken asynchronously (asynchronous learning does not require real-time interaction; instead, learning content is available online for students to access when it best suits them) thus allowing students to learn at a time that works for them and their other commitments.

eLearning typically refers to a discrete piece of individual self-paced learning that is conducted using electronic media, mostly through a computer via the internet. eLearning is often associated with SCORM packages or modules of learning material and can be delivered through a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), an organisation’s web page or open applications on the internet and may contain formative and summative tests and assessments.

In-person Training
Also known as face-to face learning, in-person training is typically classroom based or practical training that is led by an instructor, trainer or teacher. In-person training can also be one-to-one or small groups sessions with an instructor through to large seminars and lectures. A key feature of in-person training is the mix of hands-on exercises, role-playing, situational analysis and real world scenarios that students undertake in support of their knowledge creation and understanding.
Currently, in-person training must be socially distanced and comply with current COVID-19 regulations.

Virtual Classroom Learning
Sometimes referred to as Virtual Learning, virtual classroom learning is delivered in real time with a trainer and students who attend a training course remotely over the internet.
Virtual classroom learning provides students with an opportunity to learn with colleagues and peers in different ways, be it in the work place or home working environment, locally or across the globe. Students can learn as a single cohort or work in groups in break out rooms carrying out activities, exercises and can share their experiences whilst working and learning together online.
Virtual classroom learning days are shorter and are usually divided into online trainer led sessions and offline study or activity sessions in order to avoid screen fatigue. This means that virtual courses can fit around busy schedules, allowing training to be scheduled at a time that works for students and their other commitments.

Virtual Learning Environments
A virtual learning environments or VLE for short is a software application that provides for the management, administration, tracking and reporting of students’ progress as they undertake educational courses, training or learning and development programs hosted within them. Most VLE software also contain tools for the authoring and management of learning content.
Virtual learning environments are sometimes referred to as learning management systems (LMS) and learning content management system (LCMS). Both have slightly different capabilities, the key difference being that LMS software is used for student management and LCMS software is used to author and manage learning content.