Learner Centered Approach: Does It Really Matter In eLearning?

Learner Centered Approach: Does It Really Matter In eLearning?
Summary: eLearning is the integral part of any learning these days, as we continue to learn through multiple channels. But how important it is to be learner centered?

Does A Learner Centered Approach Really Matter In eLearning?

Every organization wants to get the maximum benefit from its eLearning initiatives. A key element of any successful eLearning program is to keep the learners engaged in the course. A learner centered approach is a proven way of keeping learners engaged, and thereby ensuring effective eLearning.

Let’s understand the learner centered approach in detail.

What Is A Learner Centered Approach?

In a nutshell, a learner centered approach is one where the complete eLearning experience is focused on the learners. For example, the courses need to be very user-friendly, so that learners can navigate the course without any difficulty. They should be able to easily access the content of their choice, and skip the sections they are not interested in. Likewise, learners should find the courses relevant to their challenges and learning needs. The courses should include real life examples that learners can relate to.

7 Advantages Of A Learner Centered Approach In eLearning

  1. Improves participation.
    The first step towards the success of any eLearning program is participation. A learner centered approach addresses all the essential needs of learners, ensuring learners get a personalized and convenient eLearning experience. For example, if a certain learner group prefers games and exercises, the courses should be made more interactive. Similarly, if learners are more likely to access the course content on tablets or mobiles, the courses should be designed to support this need. Due to the minute attention paid to learner’s needs, learner centered courses ensure greater participation in eLearning.
  2. Improves retention of knowledge.
    Given that a learner centered approach places high emphasis on relevance and engagement, it greatly influences learners’ interest levels. The learner centered approach shifts the focus from traditional eLearning, which emphasized only on graphs and PowerPoint slides, to eLearning with more engaging and simulating content. For example, if you are developing a course for engineers, the course should have real life scenarios that are relevant to their day-to-day problems. Also, the course will have certain elements, which will make them use the knowledge they may have acquired previously. This way, learners will retain the knowledge better as opposed to a plain eLearning course with a lot of theoretical knowledge.
  3. Boosts performance at work.
    A typical learner centered eLearning course will have a lot of scenarios, case studies, role plays, etc. For example, if an organization is training its employees on quality guidelines or industry best practices, a learner centered course with a lot of engaging and interactive content will help learners grasp the content more effectively. This way, learners are more likely to apply their learning at work, leading to improved on-the-job performance.
  4. Develops problem-solving skills.
    A learner centered eLearning course has a lot of real life examples, including games, quizzes, and challenges. For example, the course may have challenges and games involving real life problems, which will force learners to think of solutions. This kind of training develops problem-solving skills, which is useful when learners encounter similar problems at work.
  5. Fosters collaborative learning.
    Learner centered courses provide the opportunity to foster collaborative learning. You should design eLearning courses in such a way that learners have to involve their peers/superiors in completing the course. Alternatively, the courses should have certain group exercises, which makes learners come together to solve problems, and thereby share learning. This approach not only encourages collaboration but also fosters teamwork.
  6. Makes learning more fun.
    Use of games and stories in eLearning makes learning more fun. A learner centered approach provides a lot of choices to learners. For example, if a particular course involves research, learners should be given choices of topics for research. Likewise, learner centered eLearning courses use lots of different mediums, such as videos, podcasts, practical assignments, etc. With these elements, learning is no longer perceived as boring and monotonous.
  7. Facilitates personalized learning.
    All learners do not have the same learning needs. Some may just like to understand the basics of a concept, while some may like to understand a course in detail. Also, some learners may already have some knowledge about a topic, whereas some of them will be entirely new to the concept. A traditional eLearning course will treat all learners the same way, and may not respond to the needs of different types of learners. Things are different with learner centered eLearning courses. In such courses, developers may include supplementary material with messages like “Click here to know more” or “Here’s a refresher course”. The additional material makes learning more effective.

To conclude, as opposed to other approaches, such as a content centered eLearning or a teacher centered eLearning, a learner centered approach provides many more benefits.