What is E-learning Software Development and How Do I Get Started with It?
In a time of convenience and mobility, people want to have everything they need at their fingertips. This also includes the opportunity to learn. That’s why e-learning solutions are drawing increasing attention. According to statistics, in 2021 apps in the category “Education” were in third place in the App Store and first place in the Google Store by the number of downloads.
Technological progress allows educational organizations to reach new audiences and spread knowledge around the globe. Businesses can introduce custom e-learning features to train employees in various areas of expertise and increase productivity within companies. The prospects for the development of online learning are staggering.
But what technologies does e-learning require, and how are they best used? Let’s take a closer look.
What is E-Learning?
Put simply, e-learning is a structured system for learning, by which information is delivered through digital resources. E-learning combines technologies with human knowledge and efforts to make learning processes effective and accessible to everyone.
After the coronavirus pandemic struck, traditional education had to embrace new formats and adapt to new challenges. That has meant not only moving from offline classes to computers but also changing how teachers and mentors educate: encouraging students, tracking their success, and organizing effective work without person-to-person interaction. In this situation, the concept of e-learning began to pick up speed.
According to recent statistics, the global e-learning market is expected to reach $457.8 billion by 2026, with an annual developing growth rate of 16%. These numbers confirm the rapid development of the e-learning sphere.
The success of the e-learning industry comes thanks to implementing modern technologies such as Augmented and Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Machine Learning, and wearable devices. They improve learning programs and engage users more fully in the online learning process.
The positive impact of e-learning is also notable in corporate training. A study by Brandon Hall Group says employees take less time to learn something when they use e-learning rather than traditional methods. More research from the American Heart Association revealed that e-learning improves employee productivity by 15–25%.
While e-learning methods have been used for corporate training in the past, it has become especially necessary to adapt employee learning to the remote environment, since so many more people today are doing remote and semi-remote work.
So, how can businesses use e-learning?
Comprehensive onboarding is especially important for companies that work remotely. It helps new employees understand their tasks more quickly and get acquainted with the company’s culture and operating principles.
It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to teach employees both hard and soft skills and keep workers up to date with modern technologies.
This includes workplace safety training and raising awareness of company policies. Using e-learning, employees can create a safe and comfortable environment for work on their initiative.
E-learning helps sales managers quickly understand new features of a product, practice customer presentations, and improve their interaction with clients.
Why should businesses prefer e-learning to traditional training? Because of the following benefits:
People with different schedules can learn at their convenience. The study from National Center for Education Statistics found that 58% of employees prefer to learn at their own pace.
It allows companies to share their learning programs with ease. This is especially necessary if the organization offers remote work and has employees all over the world.
Employees do not need to spend time getting to classes.
There is no need for organizations to provide a special room and instructors for classes.
Users can control their learning pace and absorb the information according to their learning style.
Special systems provide features for trainers and mentors to respond quickly. Moreover, certain types of tasks can show results automatically, so that users can evaluate their progress independently.
Higher retention rates
Thanks to interactive elements such as videos, games, and quizzes, educational systems engage students, leading to better learning results.
To take advantage of e-learning, businesses need special software. Below we’ll explore various types of e-learning tools and how to choose the right one.
What E-Learning Software Should I Use to Create a Training Program?
E-learning software helps businesses manage employee training and skills development. It’s a great instrument that creates an educational culture within a company. With special e-learning software, companies can develop custom-built courses that perfectly suit their goals and mission.
Successful launch of an e-learning course requires several systems: content creation environment, delivery software, administration and e-learning management systems, and analytics software.
Let’s examine the features and some examples of these systems.
Hear From Industry Experts
Read the latest tips, research, best practices, and insights from our community of expert B2B service providers.
Types of E-Learning Software
Learning management system (LMS)
An LMS is software for administering and managing training programs. The system supports various content formats such as text, video, audio, presentations, and quizzes. Some LMSs allow for creating courses directly on the platform without using special tools.
These platforms provide a wide range of functionality, but their main purpose is to deliver information to the audience effectively, as well as track the learners’ performance.
Also, an LMS stores and manages information about students and their activities during learning sessions. For example, the system can reveal how much time a student spent on a particular step of a course. With the help of LMSs, businesses build training programs and control the learning progress of the employees.
While choosing an LMS, it’s necessary to pay attention to the following features:
Student self-assessment and profiles
A virtual classroom is an important part of an LMS. In simple terms, a virtual classroom is an online environment for learning purposes. Here, mentors and learners can interact with each other and other participants, review and discuss the course, and work in groups together.
Using a virtual classroom, learners can:
Access learning materials
Attend live remote classes
Thus, virtual classrooms allow users to take traditional classes online.
Learning Experience Platform (LXP)
An LXP is a platform powered by Artificial Intelligence for creating a more personalized learning experience. This means that users taking the same course can choose different ways of learning based on their learning style. For example, one user might prefer to watch videos, while the other learns best by reading articles. The system adapts the same learning content to different needs and formats.
The main feature of the system is a high level of personalization, thanks to the use of:
Enhanced reporting capabilities
The learning experience platform resembles an open library, where users can search and browse relevant content from a wide variety of options. And the system gives recommendations based on learners’ skills and previous experience.
One more feature is that users can manage content by themselves. This means they have the opportunity to upload their learning materials. Overall, a comprehensive learning experience platform should have the following features:
Support of user-generated content
Sometimes, LMS and LXP are confused. The main difference is that an LMS is primarily for administration, while an LXP is mostly focused on the users’ experience.
Authoring tools are web-based applications for e-learning content creation. Such tools don’t require special technical skills. Usually, such applications provide users with templates, media, interactions, and tests that can be changed easily. So people with different levels of technical knowledge can create interactive courses and materials and then convert them to an e-learning format.
Such tools cannot deliver content right to end-users but can publish it on a connected learning platform.
Before choosing the authoring tool, it’s important to check:
Ease of use
Access to target LMS
Possibility of creating custom-made interactions for improving engagement
Support for required types of content
Opportunity to create mobile-friendly content
Learning analytics platform (LAP)
As the name implies, this software handles learning analytics. For example, a LAP can reveal at what step of the course most students face difficulties. Armed with this information, the educational organization can adapt the learning process to current students’ needs and reduce the percentage of students who fail to complete the program. The system can also identify when a student needs extra help based on their behavior and outcomes.
In a business context, this means managers can access the progress of their employees and make decisions about whether further training is appropriate for them.
Student management system (SMS)
This system is aimed at gathering and managing information about students. For example, it tracks their attendance, grades, schedules, and fees. Such systems even store information about students’ health and preferences.
Commonly, an SMS is used in educational organizations such as schools, universities, and colleges. But the system can be applied to any organization if necessary.
With such a variety of systems available, deciding on what’s appropriate is a complex task.
How Do You Choose the Right Type of Software?
First of all, e-learning software must meet the company’s goals and objectives. So, the first job is to determine the purpose of using the software and which features are needed to achieve that objective.
Then, evaluate the system using the following criteria:
Ease of use that does not require special technical skills (high-quality user experience)
Opportunity to create courses as needed
Programs that support a mobile format
Ability to go beyond built-in templates and create unique content for increasing user engagement
Detailed analytical reporting
Another important step for the company is to look ahead and see what online education needs may arise in the future. Can the platform cover these requirements? If the answer is yes, choose it with confidence, but if not, consider a more feature-rich solution.
Sometimes e-learning systems have to combine so many features that it’s hard to find the one that fully meets all requirements. In this case, it may be more practical to develop custom education software. For this purpose, it is better to turn to software companies that specialize in e-learning software development.
What Can We Expect From E-Learning in 2022?
First of all, in 2022 we expect to see growth in mobile learning. According to the e-learning Guild report, 67% of learners are using mobile devices to complete courses. That’s no surprise, because we have our mobile phones with us almost all the time and are accustomed to using them for various purposes, including learning.
This leads to the next trend: microlearning. This refers to breaking a learning program up into small segments so that users can easily perceive and absorb information on their mobile devices.
One more trend gaining popularity is gamification. Companies find they can engage users in online learning by offering points, rewards, badges, and so on. With gamification, students become more active, motivated, and sometimes even excited. They are more likely to return to classes, and a larger percentage of users complete learning programs.
In 2022, e-learning tools will continue to actively use Augmented and Virtual Reality and data visualization. There will also be a special focus on personalization and adaptive learning.
So what is e-learning, after all? It’s an effective method of developing skills and gaining knowledge that is becoming increasingly common in corporate training and education in general.
E-learning not only helps companies save money, resources, and time but also increases employee engagement and improves their results and productivity.
Creating an engaging experience and, ultimately, achieving success in online training requires a focused effort that includes the use of custom education software that meets all the learning requirements.