Analysis of Platforms for E-Learning

Analysis of Platforms for E-Learning

Maribel-Isabel Sánchez-Segura (Carlos III University of Madrid, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-014-1.ch004
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Abstract

Although they are non-educational institutions, financial institutions have specific training needs. The greatest priority in employee training arises when the bank launches a new financial product or service. The difficulty, in such cases, lies in training the employees in all the regional branches so that they can offer good service to meet the clients’ demand for the product. In developing the training program, two factors have to be considered: • The department responsible for developing the new financial product keeps it secret during the development phase. Therefore, the technical details, tax treatment, and other issues relating to the product are known only after it has been designed and is ready to be launched. Consequently, it is impossible to train employees until the new product has been completely developed; and • Traditionally, employee training is pyramidal. First of all, the trainers in each training center are trained. These, in turn, train the managers, in groups, from the most important branches. Finally, these managers are responsible for training the employees in their offices. Considering the specific needs of the employees, and to obtain the maximum profitability from new financial products, we defined the pilot project called Factory to minimize time and cost spent in the development of e-learning courses for financial institutions. This project was conceived to cover the abovementioned weaknesses detected in the training process of an important financial institution. The pilot project goals were: • To improve the spread of knowledge, and • To minimize the course development cost and time. The remainder of this article is structured as follows. A summary of the main concepts around e-learning are analyzed: concepts, definitions, and platforms. After that, we present the results obtained from a project to develop ad hoc e-learning courses with what we call the Factory tool. This pilot project consisted of two main parts: developing the Factory tool, and developing the courses with and without this tool, in order to compare the cost/benefit for the institution.
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The Source Of The Problem

Although they are non-educational institutions, financial institutions have specific training needs. The greatest priority in employee training arises when the bank launches a new financial product or service. The difficulty, in such cases, lies in training the employees in all the regional branches so that they can offer good service to meet the clients’ demand for the product.

In developing the training program, two factors have to be considered:

  • The department responsible for developing the new financial product keeps it secret during the development phase. Therefore, the technical details, tax treatment, and other issues relating to the product are known only after it has been designed and is ready to be launched. Consequently, it is impossible to train employees until the new product has been completely developed; and

  • Traditionally, employee training is pyramidal. First of all, the trainers in each training center are trained. These, in turn, train the managers, in groups, from the most important branches. Finally, these managers are responsible for training the employees in their offices.

Considering the specific needs of the employees, and to obtain the maximum profitability from new financial products, we defined the pilot project called Factory to minimize time and cost spent in the development of e-learning courses for financial institutions.

This project was conceived to cover the above-mentioned weaknesses detected in the training process of an important financial institution. The pilot project goals were:

  • To improve the spread of knowledge, and

  • To minimize the course development cost and time.

The remainder of this article is structured as follows. A summary of the main concepts around e-learning are analyzed: concepts, definitions, and platforms. After that, we present the results obtained from a project to develop ad hoc e-learning courses with what we call the Factory tool. This pilot project consisted of two main parts: developing the Factory tool, and developing the courses with and without this tool, in order to compare the cost/benefit for the institution.

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E-Learning

E-learning, also known as “Web-based learning” and “Internet-based learning”, means different things to different people. The following are a few definitions of e-learning:

Key Terms in this Chapter

IEEE LTSC: Learning Technologies Standards Committee consists of working groups that develop technical standards in approximately 20 different areas of information technology for learning, education, and training. Their aim is to facilitate the development, use, maintenance, and interoperation of educational resources. LTSC has been chartered by the IEEE Computer Society Standards Activity Board. The IEEE is a leading authority in technical areas, including computer engineering. It is intended to satisfy the following objectives:• Provide a standardized data model for reusable Competency Definition records that can be exchanged or reused in one or more compatible systems;• Reconcile various existing and emerging data models into a widely-acceptable model;• Provide a standardized way to identify the type and precision of a Competency Definition;• Provide a unique identifier as the means to unambiguously reference are usable Competency Definition regardless of the setting in which this Competency Definition is stored, found, retrieved, or used; and• Provide a standardized data model for additional information about a Competency Definition, such as a title, description, and source, compatible with other emerging learning asset metadata standards.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT): This is the combination of computing and communication technologies (including computer networks and telephone systems) that connect and enable some of today’s most exciting systems, for example, the Internet.

ADL/SCORM ADLNet (Advanced Distributed Learning Network): An initiative sponsored by the U.S. federal government to “accelerate large-scale development of dynamic and cost-effective learning software and to stimulate an efficient market for these products in order to meet the education and training needs of the military and the nation’s workforce of the future.” As part of this objective, ADL produce SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model), a specification for reusable learning content. Outside the defense sector, SCORM is being adopted by a number of training and education vendors as a useful standard for learning content. By working with industry and academia, the Department of Defense (DoD) is promoting collaboration in the development and adoption of tools, specifications, guidelines, policies, and prototypes that meet these functional requirements:• Accessible from multiple remote locations through the use of meta-data and packaging standards;• Adaptable by tailoring instruction to the individual and organizational needs;• Affordable by increasing learning efficiency and productivity while reducing time and costs;• Durable across revisions of operating systems and software;• Interoperable across multiple tools and platforms; and• Reusable through the design, management, and distribution of tools and learning content across multiple applications.

E-learning process: This is a sequence of steps or activities performed for the purpose of learning, and using technology to manage, design, deliver, select, transact, coach, support, and extend learning.

Web Site: This is a set of files stored on the World Wide Web and viewed with a browser such as Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. A Website may consist of one or more Web pages.

AICC: The Aviation Industry CBT (Computer-Based Training) Committee (AICC) is an international association that develops guidelines for the aviation industry in the development, delivery, and evaluation of CBT and related training technologies. The objectives of the AICC are to:• Assist airplane operators in development of guidelines which promote the economic and effective implementation of computer-based training (CBT);• Develop guidelines to enable interoperability; and• Provide an open forum for the discussion of CBT (and other) training technologies.

Training: This is a process that aims to improve knowledge, skills, attitudes, and/or behaviors in a person to accomplish a specific job task or goal. Training is often focused on business needs and driven by time-critical business skills and knowledge, and its goal is often to improve performance. See also Teaching and Learning.

Blended Learning: It is a delivery methodology that includes using ICT as appropriate, for example, Web pages, discussion boards, e-mail alongside traditional teaching methods including lectures, discussions, face-to face teaching, seminars, or tutorials.

Learning Management Systems (LMS): This is enterprise software used to manage learning activities through the ability to catalog, register, deliver, and track learners and learning.

Authoring Tool: A software application or program used by trainers and instructional designers to create e-learning courseware; types of authoring tools include instructionally-focused authoring tools, Web authoring and programming tools, template-focused authoring tools, knowledge capture systems, and text and file creation tools.

Case Study: This is a scenario used to illustrate the application of a learning concept; it may be either factual or hypothetical.

Courseware: This is any type of instructional or educational course delivered via a software program or over the Internet.

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