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What is Online Training?

Online training is a model of teaching that utilizes technology. It is a structured approach that commonly integrates course content built for the Internet. You have probably heard online training referred to by many names: e-learning, distance learning (DL), computer based training (CBT), technology-based learning, Web-based training (WBT), etc.

Keep in mind that online training is not a training panacea. It is a complement to traditional instructor-led classroom training, offering targeted, modular solutions. Just like good ILT (instructor-led training), good online training must be relevant to the learner, have clear objectives, include appropriate feedback, and address different learning styles.

Noteworthy features that distinguish online training from ILT include:

  • Interactivity
  • Student control
  • Virtual communities

Online learning falls into two broad categories: asynchronous and synchronous. Asynchronous learning is characterized by the absence of a live instructor. However, many good asynchronous courses include e-mail access to instructors. Examples of asynchronous tools include prerecorded online classes and CD-ROMs. Synchronous training uses a live instructor in a virtual class or briefing via the Internet, an intranet, video conferencing, or audio conferencing. Most effective online learning is a hybrid of these two categories.

What Makes Good Online Learning

  • Interactivity
  • Small chunks
  • Scenarios
  • Mentoring
  • Feedback to learner
  • Student control
  • Clear objectives / outcomes
  • Learning styles
  • Relevance: What's in it for me?
  • Motivation

How to be a Successful Facilitator or Student

We can provide only general tips on how to become a successful online learner or instructor. Each classroom and organizational environment is different. Therefore, it is important that you follow the policies and directions from your own class or institution.

The Illinois Online Network has two excellent resources on What Makes a Successful Online Facilitator and What Makes A Successful Online Student.


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