E-learning aiding learners in and out of the classroom

Robert Donelan is Head of Learning Services at AAT. Robert talks us through the AAT e-learning offering explaining, how it’s helped tutors in the classroom and aided students to better understand the theory – helping learners get better pass rates in exams and perform better in the workplace.

The background

It’s not surprising that e-learning has taken off in such a big way over the past couple of years.  The way we are absorbing information and learning here in the UK and across the globe is evolving at a never-ending pace as digital technology continues to advance and we interact and communicate.

With over 7 in 10 people having access to the Internet through a mobile or tablet device, we now want to learn and absorb information ‘on the go’. No longer are we confined to a computer in a fixed location. We literally can learn anywhere and everywhere.

This is such a case with the development of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) giving access to people in the most remote locations to come together to learn with other likeminded people across continents. We are able to share insight and knowledge on subjects ranging from finance and accountancy to horticulture without any geographic restrictions.

Developing our offering

In Early 2012 we developed about thirty e-learning modules, which were designed to help cover some of key aspects of the AAT syllabus that students found the most challenging. The modules were spread across a range of subjects from level 2 of the core qualification up to level 4.

We also developed ‘AAT green light’ questions. The green light questions allow students to answer questions they may be struggling with for example – budgeting. Questions are drawn randomly from a database (meaning students always get different options) and each time a test is completed and marked, the student is scored with a red, amber or green colour. The colours represent the level of understanding and students gain an explanation of how well they’ve answered the question.

We now have about 130 modules of e-learning and 2,300 green light questions to help all those studying AAT qualifications. Since green light went live in 2011, 10.9 million green light questions have been taken by students.

We know our students really value this resource as they tell us through our social media channels like twitter, facebook and the AAT forums. The feedback we get is that students and tutors like the ‘bite size’ way of learning. This reflects the very nature of e-learning – giving access to study while people are on the move and getting on with their lives. I really do believe that it allows learning to be more integrated into one’s busy schedule.

It’s not only our learners in the UK that like this way of learning, we are naturally seeing an increase in other locations for example in Botswana we’ve seen about 4,000 e-learning modules taken per month.

My predictions for the future

If I look to the future there is still a long way to go for e-learning; e-learning is currently still in its early phases. Technology will continue to advance and evolve and with things like Google Glass on the horizon, we will want a personalised learning environment – completely unique to ourselves.

The big challenge for education providers is understanding how we can deliver bespoke learning environments for individuals in real time in the future. Learners will want to store and share their learning resources and choose the technology to suit their learning styles. We will need to keep abreast of this shift in order to facilitate learning to suit our customers’ needs now and in the future.

Have you ever thought about trying distance learning? Get all the information you need on the AAT website to see how learning at home can fit into your lifestyle.

AAT Comment offers news and opinion on the world of business and finance from the Association of Accounting Technicians.

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