This FAQ is not meant as an exhaustive resource about all things elearning, but rather as a starting point where you can get a quick introduction to the most important elearning terms. Some of the most common misconceptions within elearning is also explained. For further study you might want to check out Wikipedia etc.
What is elearning?
In short, elearning is computer assisted learning, delivered via computers, mobile devices etc. Normally elearning content or applications is created and then delivered to learners as online learning (aka asynchronous learning) but some definitions include synchronous learning (web conferencing etc.)
Elearning is not necessarily the answer to all your prayers, and it does not develop, deploy or maintain itself. But it can be really helpful in a lot of situations - if done right.
What is Blended Learning?
Blended Learning is a combination of traditional instructor lead training and elearning. If you planning to use elearning, it is often a good idea to consider a Blended Learning approach for those parts of the content which are most difficult or expensive to turn into elearning modules.
What is a Learning Management System (LMS)?
A LMS is a system that is used to administer learners and elearning content. Learning Management Systems normally have reporting capabilities which allow you to see how well the learners have performed in a test, or how long they have spent on a given module.
Is it possible to do elearning without having a Learning Management System (LMS)?
yes it it is - it depends on your needs. If you need to track who have took which elearning module when and what they scored, how the answered questions and if they passed the test etc - chances are you need an LMS. If you are just looking to pass information to some people, you could consider if a video eller or some webpages on your intranet would do the trick. The main benefit of an LMS is tracking user progress.
What is the cost of a Learning Management System (LMS)?
LMS's come in many different price ranges and cost models. The prices range greatly, from "free" to very expensive. It is important to consider your requirements before you select an LMS. I find that a lot of LMS's do a lot more than most organizations really and customers end up paying for features they don't need.
What is the difference between an LMS and a CMS?
Earlier CMS was used as an acronym for a COURSE Management System. However CMS is now mostly commonly used as an acronym for a CONTENT Management System (which is typically used to created internet or intranet sites with). Currently the term Learning Management System (LMS) is used instead of COURSE Management System.
What is a LCMS
LCMS stands for Learning Content Management System. It is a system which allows you to create Elearning Content Online, often in collaboration with others.
Which applications are used to develop elearning content?
There are also open source elearning authoring tools in existence - however a reliable dominant tool in this area has yet to emerge.
What is asynchronous and synchronous elearning?
Synchronous elearning is when learners "meet" with an instructor online at the same time. This can be happen through chat or using a Virtual Meeting rooms. Asynchronous elearning refers to the fact that the instructor and the learner does not need to "meet" at the same point in time, rather the instructor develops elearning content which the learner(s) can access without the instructor being present.
What is SCORM?
SCORM is a widely used standard which ensure that your elearning content and your Learning Management System (LMS) can "communicate with each other". In any case SCORM is a dull read and not something you need to know every detail about but it is very important. The benefits of SCORM are many; here is a pretty obvious one:
If you use SCORM Compliant LMS and content you can move your elearning content to another LMS - without having to pay a lot of money to get it converted.
(Why would you want to change your LMS? It happens a lot, maybe you outgrow it, maybe the system is discontinued, or maybe you fallout with your vendor.)
Another benefit is that you can add off-the-shelf learning content to your LMS.
Bottom line: it is very important that you pick a SCORM compliant Learning Management Systems and content Authoring tools if you want to start using elearning in your organization.
Still have questions??? Drop me a line or give me a call and I will try to answer here as time permits.