I have been conducting e-learning programs using various platforms since 2003. From e-mail to webinar based technologies, there are many lessons learned in this area that I like to note of in this post. This includes:
1. Email is a powerful e-learning platform
If you are offering an e-learning course for free, I will always prefer doing it through e-mail using an auto-responder program. The email addresses gathered is just one thing. But keeping them engaged throughout the e-learning module is far more important.
I only give the pdf version as a bonus. It is given to either those who bought a copy of it or to club members.
Our experience in this area started with the DigitalFilipino E-Commerce Workshop e-book last June 2003. Was able to get 3000 registrants prior to the book’s publication. The success of that one inspired me to do the same for Software Process Improvement and Blogging.
Will be doing the same for my next book project.
2. Forums-based e-learning is good for limited time learning.
I have used platforms like Moodle and Edu20. They are useful when the course is run on a tight schedule or blended with a face-to-face or webinar sessions.
However, independently, it can be a challenge as the venue is too quiet that won’t make a person’s attention hold for too long. Yahoo Groups and Ning have provided an interesting platform as well.
But with the popularity of Facebook, more and more support work for e-learning gets conducted through Facebook Groups that allows a much more in-depth interaction by participants since they get to know each other beyond the e-learning course.
3. Webinar will be the main platform for e-learning in the Philippines. But engaging speakers that use hands-on demo is a must to work.
I am proud with the contribution that DigitalFilipino has made in order to create awareness on the potential of webinars for e-learning. 2009 was a big year for us in this area.
We had our first free webinar with our State of E-Commerce in the Philippines back in July 16, 2009.
I was in Australia when we had our first paid e-commerce webinar series. Our first paying participant was from Bacolod City and processed the sign-up fee through Globe G-Cash. Also did our first certificate course on search engine marketing conducted through webinar later that year.
Celebrated DigitalFilipino.com’s 10th anniversary through a whole day free event dubbed as One Internet Day. But instead of doing it face-to-face, it was a whole day of free webinars from 9 am to 9 pm.
More activities that utilized webinar technologies in the area of e-commerce, social media, search engine marketing, policy awareness got conducted since.
It has truly change the way we conduct our trainings from face-to-face to fully online.
As of last year, we partnered with BlueBlade Technologies / eLearning Edge and Ateneo de Manila University for the conduct of our Certified Blog and Social Media Entrepreneur Program. We were the first then in their roster to use webinars and our experience has encourage them to make that a standard in all their e-learning offerings.
4. Internet infrastructure improvement critical
What worries me though is the quality of broadband Internet infrastructure that we have in our country. Since I started doing webinars in 2009, the quality of bandwidth hardly improve much. If we want e-learning to grow, it is in our best interest for the content to be stored here locally.
Webinar platform servers be located in the Philippines especially if there is a high-bandwidth local Internet exchange. This way, since both trainers and participants are in the Philippines, the traffic will not need to go all the way to the U.S.
5. Vigilant students needed
Admittedly, not all e-learning programs are created equal. However, it will be important for participants taking these programs to be vigilant in expressing their suggestions on how to improve the system and quality further. That is the only way that this segment will grow with quality of delivery rising – rather than just pure commercial perspective or intentions.
6. More skill building training to be done online
I think our e-learning technologies are evolving to the point that it is now used as well to train people on a corporate level such as training sales people and the likes.
Home Based Elite, its concept of teaching people on how to earn from home by accepting online projects, will not be possible at all without friendly technologies online from webinar platforms, Facebook groups, and blogging platform.
We will definitely need more players in this area that can help improve the quality further empowering people with choices that was never possible before.
7. Content is king
I know that phrase is over-used. But what will make one provider different from the other is the quality of programs. With growing number of players and participants becoming more choosy, the pressure is on to offer the most updated content that shall be relevant to the needs of the target audience.
Those who will recognize such and take that seriously will have higher chances of staying long in this niche segment.