Increasingly many people use digital media for learning and for continuing their education. E-learning content formats that are individually modified to meet each learner’s needs are fundamental for successful learning. The digital learning scenarios range from computer-based or Web-based training sessions to interactive learning with simulations or strategic games. A variety of tools to create e-learning content formats can even facilitate complex e-learning training sessions. But digital tools don’t only make development easier: they also help to evaluate the learning success or to determine the user’s individualized training sequence. Furthermore, users of e-learning formats can choose between individually produced or standard contents.
1. E-Learning Content Formats
The new digital e-learning content formats are a challenge for educational work. The range of media for electronic learning (e-learning) is considerable. The learning performance can be surprisingly high, however, providing new education media satisfies the needs and learning preferences of the learners. Today more and more people use digital media, such as computers, tablets and smartphones. They use these not only to obtain information, but also to educate themselves voluntarily and in a self-determined fashion.
Also, in advanced and university training these new digital learning formats are indispensable. Companies rely specifically on e-learning content formats for product and software training or security instructions. Universities likewise provide their lecture materials online. Among the top 500 German companies, more than two-thirds train their employees utilizing e-learning content. By now, even a number of technophobe e-learners are open to digital learning. The clear advantage: learning on demand via the internet makes advanced training more flexible. That is why some companies, who encourage employees to take responsibility for their own learning, even provide permanent external and mobile access to learning materials for employees. This saves resources, time and potential travel costs. However, the works council must be included in these considerations.
2. E-Learning Content Tools
E-learning content tools are specifically designed for the development of e-learning content formats, such as computer-based training (CBT), web-based training (WBT), mobile content, or simulations and simulation games. Separate templates optimally present the desired information. Using simple e-learning content tools, even laymen can develop small e-learning training courses on their own. For more elaborate e-learning environments there are:
- more complex authoring tools
- content management systems
- learning management systems
- adaptive learning systems
In fact, with the traditional authoring tools it is easy, even without programming skills, to design learning websites that are optically and structurally appealing. Due to integrated WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), HTML skills are no longer indispensable. Learning content tools have different functions. Learning management systems possess integrated tools for the development and display of learning content. Integrated evaluation tools allow learning success to be monitored. Tools for adaptive learning determine, using answer and response analysis, individual training sequences for the user. Testing tools verify the learners’ learning success. Yet further e-learning content tools enable the creation of audio and video content. Demanding clients rely on specifically designed individual products.