E-Learning concerns in the UAE
There is a lot of interest in e-learning in the UAE, as well as the wider GCC region, but there are also some challenges to its adoption. One of the key elements that I’m often asked about refers to student motivation – what stops a student from just clicking ‘next -> next -> next’ and not paying any attention to what’s on the screen? Let me talk about this concern, and also the great potential e-learning can offer.
The most obvious way to keep students attention is by having engaging content. It needs to be well designed (no more PowerPoints from the 90s please!) as students expectations have greatly increased in this age of mobile apps. Multimedia in either the form of interactive imagery or video should be liberally used. Mixing the use of audio content with text can really stimulate students. You can then reinforce their learning further through scenarios which are a great way to apply e-learning.
The best instructors will probably always represent the best way to learn effectively. But they can have bad days – and they don’t scale very well. E-learning content, done well, can keep a student engaged and far exceeds the capability of what can be done in print or non-interactive media.
Using advanced e-learning software, we can constantly assess and track a student’s progress. We can stop them progressing until they have watched or listened to content, and then quiz them frequently. Students will realise quickly that in order for them to complete a lesson they must pay attention. Our Learning Management Systems (LMS) can be set so that they cannot access later material until they’ve completed the current content. We can also monitor exactly what they’re doing within a lesson and their results.
Good e-learning isn’t like a PowerPoint presentation or PDF where you have no control over how the students progresses. We have fully the full ability to manage a student’s progress, and we can adjust training to meet their needs over time.
Now that we’ve addressed the most common concerns of using e-learning, let’s talk about its potential. Living in the UAE, we have a multitude of target languages. Arabic and English are the obvious ones, but have you considered using Urdu or Hindi? Why not allow the students to choose which language they want to learn in? You might have to deliver content in English, but if you have good narration or video, it will overcome any weaknesses in reading ability.
Once you’ve developed your content, it can be delivered at the same standard to 1000s of students, for as long as you want. This can offer massive cost savings as well as allowing your students to learn at their own pace.
E-learning still has a little way before it’s completely mainstream in the United Arab Emirates. I predict though that it will come on very rapidly, and it won’t be long until it exceeds penetration to that in the west. People in Dubai and Abu Dhabi readily adopt new technologies, and the penetration of smartphones and mobile internet is massive. Once the true capability of e-learning is understood, and that there is nothing to be concerned about adopting it – then just try and stop every company wanting to get onboard!
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