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E-learning completion rates and choices between KM and e-learning tools

Do Completion Rates Matter? by Will Thalheimer

When knowledge is applied immediately after learning, completion-rates don’t matter, but ease-of-access and simplicity do. When the on-the-job performance situation follows the learning by more than a few hours, additional instructional supports are needed to ensure that knowledge and skills are retrievable from memory. By completing a well-designed e-learning course, learners provide themselves with the instructional supports they’ll need to maintain their learning until they can use it on the job.

As usually Will provides good input for thinking (you can subscribe to the newsletter too). The arguments provided in the article can help to make choices between e-learning and KM tools.

  • In most cases KM systems usually support access to information, sometimes help to understand it, but usually do not have more advanced instructional support to help long-term remembering or practicing with application. So, I would say that KM systems are good for those learning situations when learner have a problem to solve.
  • E-learning systems provide more instructional support, so they would be better choice for those case when learning is needed for a future goals.

This also explains why corporate on-line communities work so well in Q&A mode or to provide awareness of what’s going on, but fail when it comes to support longer-term learning. E.g. orientation training for newcomers would work better than hope that they can find out about certain topic from community discussions. (In this piece I talk only about learning about certain topic, not co-creation in dialogue, apprenticeship or building own network).

Archived version of this entry is available at http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2003/03/31.html#a511; comments are here.

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