There are many benefits to e-learning or computer-based training (CBT) compared with conventional training:
- Reduced instructor, classroom, material, and travel costs
- Ease of scheduling
- Increased learner access and control
- Enhanced consistency in training delivery
- Rapid training deployment
However, there are also significant costs associated with the development of e-learning courseware. To manage the risk of investing in e-learning, it is important that proper instructional design processes are followed, beginning with a thorough needs assessment. Usability testing can also be used to verify basic e-learning designs before you make a significant investment in their development. In fact, many user experience (UX) design principles can be adapted to the e-learning context.
While defining the right content is important, equally important is engaging learners by having them actively participate. This can be done through the appropriate use of multimedia elements, such as photos, graphics, music, narration, sound, video, and animation. These multimedia capabilities must be harnessed to enhance comprehension and skill and reduce the cognitive strain associated with learning challenging material. Gratuitous use of multimedia for entertainment-like purposes is a waste of development resources, as are static, e-reading style presentations.