Remote control for the teacher

Illustration | Bosch Rexroth AG
Marginal Column

Learning at the computer instead of in the classroom – that seems to be the magic word for all kinds of teaching nowadays. Why is eLearning so popular, how does it work, and what are its limits?

 

eLearning

Photo | Bosch Rexroth AG

Individualized study, regardless of the location, with eLearning.

 

We understand eLearning to include instruction and learning using a variety of electronic and digital media. This includes presenting and distributing materials and electronic support for interpersonal communications.

Target group

These digital media are ideal whenever content is to be conveyed to a large number of recipients. But some methods are better suited for certain target groups. Those who usually profit most from eLearning are people who travel a lot and have only a limited amount of time available. Service technicians are a good example. This technique lets them work through the units in the evening – either at home or when out on the road – when they are under no pressure. Younger employees in particular make use of and actually prefer eLearning. Since they grew up with computers and are accustomed to PC-based learning, they often favor this more flexible learning technique as opposed to several days of instruction made up primarily of lectures.

Example

Many firms have their service technicians out in the field over extended periods of time. That staff quickly encounters a conflict upon returning to home base. Firstly, they have to catch up on any work that has piled up on their desks in the meantime. But secondly, they are supposed to learn about new and updated technologies. Given the limited time available, spending several days in a seminar is simply out of the question. This is where eLearning comes in.

No matter where service technicians might be located, they can reach the teaching server via the Internet and then continue their training. This reduces the number of days they have to be on site for face-to-face training. After successful completion, the student is awarded an electronic certificate.

Teaching content

This technique can be used for almost any subject, but is especially suited for teaching the basics in hydraulics, linear technology and pneumatics. eLearning reaches its limits wherever practical experience using a machine or device is called for.

How it works

The content is available on a teaching server and is subdivided into a number of units. Each learner can work through the modules independently and as time allows. Hands-on experience – an integral component in most of the training conducted by Bosch Rexroth – cannot be provided by eLearning alone. But this is not absolutely necessary for every target group or every stage in learning progress.

Advantages

  • Individual pacing
  • Personalized scheduling
  • Mobile learning
  • Reduction or elimination of lecture-based teaching
  • Conveying knowledge with the latest and most appealing audio-visual media, using an interactive approach
  • Reducing travel expenses
  • Relatively simple localization in any number of languages
  • Can be used around the world
  • Is available and can be reviewed at any time


Challenges

  • Commercial firms and schools often do not offer the necessary prerequisites. Where can the employee concentrate and be entirely undisturbed if learning is to take place at the jobsite?
  • Often there are not enough computers or Internet hookups, and not every employee owns a computer or laptop.
  • The methods used for in-service training should match the needs of individual employees, rather than aiming at lower travel costs and reduced time away from the primary worksite.
  • The teaching content has to be attractively designed, since there is no on-site trainer to provide personal motivation. Incentives to learn can be provided by way of animations, for instance, or by moving sketches or increasing interactivity using intermediate quizzes.
  • Often those in charge lack experience as to how eLearning can be integrated into the overall training curriculum.
 

Blended Learning

 
Photo | Bosch Rexroth AG

Blended learning combines eLearning with classroom instruction.

The classic transfer of knowledge in seminars is by no means a thing of the past, but rather is augmented in a valuable fashion.eLearning is usually combined with classroom training. There swapping experience, hands-on exercises and personal encounters complement independent distance learning, communications and imparting information. Blended learning joins autonomous distance learning with shorter periods of face-toface training. Bosch Rexroth started implementing blended learning even as early as 2007.

How it works

The material to be taught is stored on a teaching server and is broken down into a number of modules. Participants work through these units at their own personal pace. The eLearning Blended learning phase is followed by a few days of on-site teaching in order to reinforce what has already been learned, to discuss concrete questions with the trainer, and to to gain practical experience.

 

Advantages

  • Individual pacing and independent time planning during the eLearning phase.
  • Reduced amount of face-to-face-training and, as a conse quence, reduced travel expenses.
  • Once eLearning is completed, all the participants have uniform background knowledge, and that makes classroom training more effective.
  • Opportunities to discuss any unanswered questions with the trainer personally.
  • Enhancing understanding by way of practical exercises, for instance.
  • Additional information and free guest access to our eLearning site are available by clicking on: www.boschrexroth.com/elearning