What are e-learning platforms?
Learning wherever and whenever you want: e-learning platforms provide computer-based learning to replace or complement in-classroom teaching. This form of continuing education centers around digital media, tools, and teaching and learning concepts. Online platforms offer a level of flexibility that fits in well with people’s individual lifestyles today. In addition to imparting subject-relevant content, many platforms also incorporate didactic and pedagogical methods such as discussion, interaction, and project work. Common teaching concepts used by e-learning platforms include the following:
- Video courses
- Synchronous lessons
- Asynchronous learning via recorded lessons
- Digital teaching material
Since many of these concepts are available on demand to those interested, users not only have freedom in terms of time, but they can also dictate their own learning pace and manage their time as they see fit. What’s more, many courses are offered in various languages.
However, users must have the necessary equipment and know-how to use e-learning platforms. The portals may experience technical problems at times, meaning that access to courses or learning resources and materials cannot be guaranteed. Many learning concepts are also designed in such a way that learners have to get to grips with the content all by themselves without any one-on-one support.
Scope of functions, performance, and services of digital learning platforms
To optimally help learners reach their learning goals, e-learning platforms should meet certain requirements:
- User-friendliness: A confusing user interface can quickly lead to frustration and consequently spoil the learning experience. Participants should be able to intuitively navigate the learning platform. The user interface should also be available in various languages.
- Quick implementation of internal and external content: Being able to easily share content is essential for both teachers and users in order to optimally implement individualized teaching methods.
- Support: If users have questions or encounter problems when using the platform, they should have access to an extensive FAQ section and be able to contact a dedicated customer service team.
- Costs: Many e-learning platforms offer trial subscriptions or free courses to give users the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the portal and its content. Users also often have the option to pay only for the course they want to take. Here too, flexibility should be the top priority rather than subscriptions with a long-term commitment and draconian notice periods.
The world of e-learning platforms is growing and constantly offering learners new options to support their continuing education and personal development. The following five e-learning platforms give their users extra-special learning experiences.
#1 Udemy – From business to photography
With over 150,000 video courses in 65 languages and more than 40 million users, the online learning platform Udemy is one of the world’s biggest e-learning platforms.
#2 Skillshare – A focus on creativity
Skillshare promises users a vast array of continuing education courses in fields such as technology and business, but it specializes in creativity and lifestyle. Alongside traditional marketing courses, users can also learn how to play musical instruments or practice creative writing in video courses, for example.
#3 Coursera – Cooperation with partner universities
As the biggest MOOC platform (massive open online courses), Coursera works with over 200 leading universities and companies, including Stanford and Google. The courses offered deal with topics such as big data, business, economy, and machine learning. The majority of the courses are free, but there is a charge for course certificates. In addition to further training courses, the e-learning platform also enables users to earn an accredited bachelor’s or master’s degree online.
#4 Lingoda – Learn a language at the leading online language school
Web-based language learning anywhere and at any time: the e-learning portal Lingoda lets learners study a language online and live with the help of more than 1,400 native-speaker tutors.
#5 The XU Online Campus by XU Group
The learners acquire their knowledge alone at home and in virtual classrooms with content that is precisely tailored to their needs and learning goals. Qualified experts assist them and give the learners individual feedback and instructions for the practical application of the acquired knowledge in personal conversations.
A learning platform that enables personalised learning for everyone – with this, the XU Group is taking an important step towards the digital future. We asked Nicole Gaiziunas, managing director and founder of XU Group GmbH, why such solutions are still lacking on a broad scale.
In Germany, digitalization has also made significant progress in the education sector as a result of the coronavirus crisis. However, there is still a lack of sustainable digital (continuing) education solutions. Why is that?
Nicole Gaiziunas: The pandemic has enormously boosted digitalization, with experts even saying that the crisis has accelerated Germany’s digital transformation by a good ten years. If you ask me, that’s at least one positive aspect to have come out of this dilemma. The educational landscape has also had its share of this digital boost – that’s correct. In my opinion though, the problem is less a lack of sustainable education solutions and more a lack of a general awareness of how much digitalization will change our world of work in the years to come.
What’s needed now is frankness and a shift in thinking – both among companies and employees. Because if companies don’t regularly invest in their own digital qualifications and those of their employees, no progress will be made.
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