21 Century Skills for e-learning (the learner)

What e-learning skills will your learners need or already have in the 21st Century?

In 2011 the emphasis is very much on technology and access to information 24/7. Learners expect mobility, flexibility and access to information 24 hours a day. Your learners are probably already using mobile devices such as phones, ipods and ipads to access information (consider maps, weather, tv guides, facebook using their phones). Some of your learners might already be publishing their own content in the form of wikis and blogs.

When you are planning the delivery of your e-learning program consider the technologies your teachers and learners already have available to them. Think about the ways you can provide learning content and interactivity using these technologies.

Make sure that your learners understand the difference between a face to face study program and your e-learning program. Check that they are ready for this new environment. Why not use Survey Monkey http://surveymonkey.com/ or something similar to collect information about your learners and to assist them to self evaluate their readiness for e-learning.

Build in an appropriate orientation program and include activities that assist them to access your e-learning content, change passwords, build technology skills etc. This will reduce the number of problems your learners will experience at the start of their course.

Set realistic study patterns and goals. Although your program needs to be flexible it probably shouldn’t be open ended or some learners will never finish. As part of your induction program include a study skills component to ensure your learners understand what is expected of them, where they can get support and how they can best manage their study load.

Provide realistic suggestions for learners to balance their work/life/study commitments. Include templates for learners to build their own study schedule.

Provide clear instructions on course navigation, learning content requirements, practice activities and the submission of work and assessments for feedback.

Build in some form of collaboration and communication so that your learners can get timely feedback and advice and do not feel like they are studying alone.

Problem solving and time management are generic skills required by all employers. Assisting your learners to develop these skills will not only help them to finish their course but it might also assist them to secure meaningful employment as a result of their new skills and qualification.

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