Incorporating eLearning for the Small to Medium RTO

RTOs are continuously looking for cost-effective ways to deliver a comprehensive and user-friendly training system – we need to consider the current increase in costs of trainers, venues, admin staff and materials.

We all know the complexity of scheduling and marketing classes, booking trainers and venues, preparing the training materials – only to have the class crashed right at the last minute because the number of student attendees does not meet the minimum requirements. Not to mention the frustration of the students who have already filed for a leave of absence from their job, or arranged for childcare, and traveled to the venue – all for nought.

But what if it didn’t have to be this way? What if you were able to offer your students the flexibility to train wherever and whenever they want?

  • To schedule their training in tune with their busy lifestyle.
  • To train at their own pace.
  • To be in control of their own learning repertoire.

And what if you could do this for far less than you imagined? It’s a win/win scenario.

Fact: Enrolments in eLearning VET training has grown from merely 3% in 2005 to 43% in 2010, and enrolments continue to increase rapidly.

Many RTOs have shied away from eLearning feeling they couldn’t afford the costs to have the programs developed for their businesses to ensure efficient operations. The reality is that if you have the learning material, the courseware can be developed far cheaper and more easily than you may realise.

There are the flashy animated high-end courses that are more like playing a computer game which do take a lot of time and money to develop. However, there are also informative, engaging and interactive courses which can include videos, links to external websites, and learning games that do not cost as much but are just as effective.

What about the Learner experience?

It is not hard to find learner enthusiasm for eLearning.

If you compare learning an identical course in a classroom setting to eLearning, students have expressed higher satisfaction from eLearning, and rated the learning as more effective than in a traditional classroom setting.
Students responding to a survey said they chose the online format because of the flexibility and convenience it provides.

Comments such as:

  • “I love that I have the flexibility to continue with a full time job.”
  • “To study any time that best suits my busy schedule.”
  • “I was able to work with my instructor, received tremendous support at all hours of the night and gain the same quality content and evaluation as my peers taking the same class on campus.”
  • “I adore online learning. Traditional learning was fun but it was tiring sitting in class for 5 hours a night in those uncomfortable chairs. Oh the memories.”

Is this the end of Classroom-based Training?

I don’t believe that this means we should cease with all other methods of training. It is about giving the students other options to complete their studies.

Some people learn better in a quiet environment with no distractions whilst others enjoy the interaction with other class members and the trainer.

Students who have English as a second language may prefer the self-paced learning styles of eLearning or Correspondence Training so they can spend a little more time understanding the content of the learning, or so they can ask a friend or family member for some assistance to translate.

With eLearning now being easily accessible, RTO’s can now offer training methods in

  • 100% eLearning
  • Classroom-based training
  • Blended (mix of the above)
  • Correspondence

If you need to cancel a class, providing these options to students can greatly reduce their frustration.

How eLearning is Delivered

With most RTOs now utilising the services of a Training Management System(TMS) or sometimes known as Student Management Systems (SMS) , eLearning platforms or Learning Management Systems (LMS) are often part of these (or available as add-ons). Generally, the courseware can be uploaded and students can access the training over the internet. Assessments can be completed and results recorded in your TMS.

If you have not yet implemented a TMS, click here for more information about choosing the right TMS for your needs.

A final word…

The key to any successful eLearning Training is student support. Students like to feel that they are not alone in their endeavours to learn. They need to be able to pick up the phone and connect with a real person, not an automated response robot. I have worked for an RTO (approx. 2,000 online enrolments per month) where we offered student support from 7am to 10pm for 365 days a year. Students were very surprised and grateful to receive support at 9pm on a Sunday evening.

E-Learning courseware should be viewed as an asset for the RTO. Once created, multiple students can access the information repeatedly with little to no extra cost to the RTO (We do recommend that continuous improvement is implemented with all eLearning courseware).

If you would like to view a demo of the eLearning we have mentioned in order to help determine if you are ready to take the next step and add eLearning as a training option for your RTO, please contact us at BluegemEXPLORE and we would be happy to show you how easy and cost-effective this training option can be.
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About the Author

Leah, Online Courseware Creator & Developer, has worked in the training industry for more than 14 years. She has worked in RTO administration, In-class Trainer, Manager of Online & Correspondence Training, Student Support, Developer of Learning materials and Online Courseware. During those times, Leah has worked with five different Learning Management Systems and two distinct Training Management Systems. She knows what works and what doesn’t. If you are thinking about venturing into Online Training (eLearning), contact Leah at BluegemEXPLORE and she will be happy to chat about the benefits of Online Learning, as well as assist you in creating & developing your online courseware.

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