e-Learning or e-Information – what’s the difference?

by newchapterlearning

e-learning or e-information?

How do you decide whether something you’re reading online could be categorised as simply e-information rather than e-learning and what is the difference?

With the rise of the online platform on which to access information, some knowledge transfer, that may have traditionally taken place face to face or by Distance Learning in a workbook format, suddenly became accessible in an online medium instead.  This platform, because of it’s ease of accessibility, suddenly saw a huge rise in its’ use for learning interventions. Businesses started transferring some of its’ course content online and calling it e-learning. How many of the training practitioners or e-learning companies, had first up-skilled themselves with the skills to develop e-learning as opposed to simply providing information in an online format?

How many simply uplifted the information from existing courses and transposed the same into this new delivery medium? How many thought through how learner engagement needed to be built into the model, in the same way as great instructional designers incorporate this thinking into more traditional learning delivery?

So what is the difference then between e-information and e-learning? Let’s think about how information can be delivered in a more traditional way to help determine which is which. Briefings, bulletins, messages and updates could all be classified as information transfer, whereas face to face courses, distance learning with work based scenarios and coaching are more commonly associated with examples of learning interventions. So when looking at information in an online forum, perhaps the easiest way to tell the difference is to ask – is this information being pushed at me or am I being engaged?

So simply because learning content is delivered online doesn’t necessarily mean it can be classified as e-learning, even when you might learn something from it. 

If you’re Planning, Designing or Delivering training and want to do it in an online medium, hope you find this useful when you’re building your program,

New Chapter Learning – ‘for learning that sticks’

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2 Comments to “e-Learning or e-Information – what’s the difference?”

  1. To me, this gets back to learning objectives. “Knowledge Objectives” (recite, memorize, list, recall) imply ‘information’ – once we move more into application and practice, it becomes training.

  2. This is a key differentiation and always a conversation/debate starter at events I have attended. The main questions that need to be answered/addressed, are:
    is there a problem/something that needs to change?
    What do they need to do differently as a result of the learning intervention?
    What is it that people need to learn to do something differently?
    And finally what is the best means of addressing the need?
    If the answer to these questions is yes or you have evidence that says there are actions required as a result of the solution and is it addressed/delivered in a e-format then it can be classed as e learning, that ‘learning’ will take place and will result in a new or different set actions/behaviours. Information is classed as information, whether it is in a e-format or not. People can learn from either. So rather than asking “is this information being pushed at me or am I being engaged?” Ask instead, what do I need to do as a result of what I have just learned? If the answer is nothing, it’s information. I agree with Jennifer, this goes back to the learning objectives, they need to be clear from the outset and clearly aligned with the best method of addressing the learning need.

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