The key behind elearning growth

Elearning is growing at a faster and faster pace. It grows in terms of resources, tools, diversity, technology, content, etc. Likewise, it grows in number of students, academies, companies, consultancies, educational centers, etc. What is the engine for this growth? What is it that allows organizations to constantly improve the quality and results of their training? What is the key to versatile, fun, collaborative learning – traits that promote the acceptance of elearning? The answer is the same for all of the aforementioned questions: innovation.

But innovation is not just change, it is much more than simply “something new.” It is to develop and implement ideas that are born out of research, study, and knowledge – ideas that are capable of improving situations, processes, products, services, etc. Yes, the concept of “improvement” can be somewhat ambiguous and subjective, but the results are there and they help to explain the means: innovation, both in the social and business realms, is measured in terms of aspects such as sales, assessments, performance, time, efficiency, answers, convenience, accessibility, opportunities, quality of life… In short, innovation brings about a certain component of success that is almost implicit.

To innovate is to grow

According to the World Economic Forum, innovation is the main engine of growth for advanced economies. Hence the importance of investing in R&D&I. For example, at the start of the financial crisis in 2008, the USA invested in technological innovation and entrepreneurship at a rate that was three times higher than that of the European Union, and they came out of the recession six years before the European Union. In fact, to innovate is almost a mentality – it’s a philosophy. And it seems increasingly clear that companies that adopt an innovative philosophy take the lead in their sector. E-learning it the perfect example of this phenomenon, as we will see below.

Dexway: a leader in e-learning content creation for language courses

Dexway is the language division at CAE (Computer Aided E-learning), a leading company in training and elearning that was founded in 1981. For many years, Dexway has centered its evolution around educational platforms –or LMS (Learning Management Systems)– that allow for comprehensive, agile, versatile, and open management in which the contents become increasingly more important. Year after year, Dexway’s leaders have found that the more resources they develop for content creation, the more valuable the learning experience is – and with this more valuable learning experience come better results.

To this end, the R&D&I department at CAE has helped Dexway to become a pioneer in the development of authoring tools to generate SCORM materials (Sharable Content Object Reference Model). The SCORM standards are standards and specifications that allow for the structuring of reports, study content, and a variety of documents and materials for teaching. In short, it’s a basic pillar for content creation and elearning. Thus, the LMS evolved into the LCMS (Learning Content Management System). Currently, the LCMS provides the basis for offering a learning experience that is different, dynamic, collaborative, and motivating. LCMS provides a guarantee for total language immersion and it helps tutors to control, monitor, and create activities that are aligned with each student’s progress.

Dexway Analytics: monitoring progress

In terms of evolution and progress, Dexway Analytics stands out. This is the assessment and real-time monitoring software developed by CAE. Analytics allows users to analyze the progress of a group of students in order to determine their needs and work on their weaknesses. What are some examples? The creation of custom tests, questionnaires, materials that allow for the grouping of courses, extra reinforcement exercise kits which are adaptable to every progress level, options to write questions or add exercises in addition to those that are already included in the course, etc.

Objectives Exercises: something new for the Dexway LCMS

Now, Dexway Analytics has developed new tools for the Dexway LCMS aimed at content creation. We’re talking about a new activity we call “Objectives Exercises.” This is a resource that allows teachers to create open practice exercises and tests for evaluation purposes by using the battery of quizzes that are already included in Dexway Analytics. Currently (January 2017), the “Objectives Exercises” tool is available for courses in British and American English, although it is expected for Dexway to extend availability to other language courses soon.

       Example of the “Objectives Exercise” access screen

The battery of Analytics quizzes helps to assess content quickly and easily. In fact, these quizzes usually arise in a context that is more informal than that of the more official tests included in the course – those exercises which are traditionally known as “exams.” In this way, achievement of results is faster, students’ possible anxieties are avoided (anxieties that are more typical to appear with testing, influencing the final outcome in a greater way), and students’ predisposition when facing exercises is improved.

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The “Objectives Exercise” tool included in Dexway Analytics supports tests with a wide range of possible configurations: anything can be done from creating multiple objectives to setting the number of questions or attempts that the student has in order to choose the correct answer.

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 Example of a test exercise

Conversely, the open-practice exercises work with a single objective or target. For example:

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Example of an open-practice activity

In both cases, this new resource –when applied to the Dexway Analytics LCMS– will allow for knowledge on the degree of learning that has taken place and serve as an accurate guide in a dual sense: a guide for the tutor in terms of the contents that need to be reinforced, and a guide for the student in terms of the pace of work required to meet the course objectives.

All of this implies a new leap in terms of the quality of the Dexway’s approach to learning – something which helps to strengthen CAE’s leadership position in terms of elearning

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