E-learning is an accurate reflection of the technology that surrounds us. In this case, adaption to the innovation of ICT, the habits of the student, the characteristics of each educational centre, and the features of each learning project. How did we get here? Let’s look at some history to see the evolution that e-learning has undergone.
Many things have changed since 1986 when the first modules of “Computer Assisted Instruction” (CAI) were first designed. Soon afterwards, in 1988, the first CAI (on 11 floppy disks) was included in a training programme. In the 1990s, training projects were distributed on CD-ROM format. It was not until the second half of the 1990s that online learning began: technology companies introduced the internet into their training programmes. At this time courses students still studied online and communicated in virtual environments. In 2000, some multinational companies and language schools systemised online learning. It was a period in which the expression e-learning was heard more and more often. However, advances in the quality of content did not progress at the same rate as the courses’ technical capacities.
The arrival of the SCORM standard
Then, a term which we use frequently today in e-learning training revolutionised learning possibilities. An initiative of the US Defence Department developed the first guides which allowed the effective implementation of training over the internet and the 1.0 version of the SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) appeared on the 31st of January 2000.
The start of Blended Learning and the impact of current data
In 2002, the first courses began in the Blended Learning modality (a combination of online and presential). A year later in 2003 their diversification went far beyond office automation and languages. E-learning extended to universities, teaching and companies (not only large corporations). In 2009, 55 million students received online classes, and in 2012, the word e-learning gained 2.5 million searches each month.
The first MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) first appeared in universities, and with these there was a great boost in access to teaching. In 2013, MOOCS were used for training in companies, and in 2015, according to a study by Ambient Insight, the global market for digital products for language learning reached 2.8 billion dollars. Forecasts show that in 2020 the annual rate of growth will be 6.2% and that there will be revenue of 3.8 billion dollars. If we achieve this, the advantages that e-learning provides language schools will not only be significant, they will be constantly growing. For now, let’s look at some of these advantages.
7 advantages of e-learning for language schools
#1. Reduction of costs.
The management possibilities incorporated in an LMS with regard to the number of students and courses allow limitless registrations, and even allow students to register for different courses simultaneously. All of this leads to economic optimisation that significantly affects the competitive capacity of schools.
#2. Meeting market demand in terms of the form of learning.
E-learning training is unstoppable. New students do not just wish to learn a language, but instead a way of learning a language. That is, familiarising themselves with new technologies, taking advantage of tools for socialising and communication, feeling integrated in the dynamic of the course, and feeling that everyone participates in their progress. Ultimately, they do not just enjoy the skills they have acquired, but also the resources that an LMS puts at their disposal. Schools are increasingly conscious of this mentality. We can see this in their efforts to respond to the student’s requirements of dynamism, entertainment, participation and effectiveness.
#3. Competitive capacity.
Incorporating e-learning training involves a very significant technological leap for a language school.
This modernisation not only affects their position and perception as a cutting-edge teaching centre. It also allows the especially fast updating and expansion of the range of training through new courses and levels, offering a form of training (online or blended) which best suits the student’s habits and objectives.
#4. Academic rigour.
In addition to having content and resources for the effective learning of linguistic skills, an educational platform oriented to language training must offer course levels equivalent to the CEFR standard, in line with official exams (Cambridge, TOEFL, DELF-DALF, Goethe, etc.). These are factors which affect the credibility and academic rigour of the centre.
#5. Level of student satisfaction.
E-learning training must encourage collaborative learning. To do so, it must offer resources oriented towards socialisation (chats, email, forums, etc.). It must also provide structured audio-visual and interactive content, based on real situations, providing full linguistic immersion and progressive and intuitive learning. It must provide suitable tools so that the student can discover their level of training (tests, self-evaluation exercises, online exams). It must have specific exercises for the areas to review, and have resources for managing time (schedule, calendar, timetable, notifications) and setting their pace. Then, the students improve their enthusiasm and engagement and thereby their results and level of retention fulfil the best expectations. Consequently, there is a positive evaluation for the school, which takes on more value that the school could present.
#6. The best version of each teacher.
E-learning helps to project all the academic potential of the teaching professionals. The teacher moves from transmitting content to orienting, guiding, helping and facilitating the training processes. These functions in turn contribute to improving the teaching motivation and influencing the quality of learning.
In language learning, there are no borders. Today an LMS that incorporates a virtual classroom may have students anywhere in the world. In this way, learning acquired by a student 10,000km away may generate a high level of satisfaction. This can be transmitted to other students, and thus contribute to the expansion of the school. With e-learning training, internationalisation becomes a real, attainable option, and a factor of extraordinary commercial value.
How can a school that has started e-learning take advantage of these benefits?
Through a provider capable of adapting to any project, to the characteristics of the centre and the student’s learning objectives. Dexway is CAE’s division specialised in online language training. It has 35 years of experience in the sector. It has a notably innovative profile that allows to convert each language course into a gratifying and differentiated learning experience.
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