LRMG Performance Agency

Yes, it’s convenient, but why learn online, and why choose DigitalCampus?

Posted in Article on December 02, 2015 by: Anton Cabral

There are numerous advantages to online learning, which we at DigitalCampus and other online learning providers use as selling points.

And yes, the time-saving, lifestyle-compatible conveniences of the virtual classroom are not only attractive but inarguably invaluable. But what are the theories behind modern day learning, how does online learning fit into these theories and does it maximise your learning to ensure that you get a return on the investment of time, energy and money?


Online learning is an aspect of Blended Learning. ‘Blended learning’ combines traditional, formal learning practices where one actively sits down to learn – such as, for example, classrooms, virtual classrooms and standalone eLearning – with newer, informal learning methods where one learns as an organic part of another process, such as coaching and mentoring, networking and collaboration, on-the-job and experiential learning, and performance support, among others. Blended learning theory argues that learning is most effective when formal learning is supplemented with informal learning; when what is learnt in the classroom is relearnt on the job.


Anton Cabral, Managing Executive of LRMG Performance Agency’s Custom eLearning division and part of the DigitalCampus team, argues that “through a blended approach, an efficient and effective learning ecosystem is created, integrating learning into the workplace and providing employees with knowledge, skills and tools at their moment of need.” The increasing popularity of blended learning lies in the personalised, bespoke nature of this blended approach – there are literally infinite potential variations of the types of learning and their ratios that can be blended together.


The main selling point of blended learning is, however, its ability to be moulded around our working lives: “instead of having to bend ourselves out of shape trying to get to classrooms across town in loadshedded, peak-hour traffic, we can now access learning at the push of a button, whenever and wherever we want to,” argues Cabral.


The other advantages of blended learning include:

  1. It is more effective than purely traditional or eLearning methods respectively.
  2. Learning becomes more collaborative and independent at the same time, increasing employee satisfaction and success rates.
  3. Improved employee attitudes towards learning.
  4. Improved communication between employees and mentors and coaches.
  5. Employees are better able to understand and evaluate course material, therefore making them more able to implement the learning on the job.
  6. The benefits of self-directed work are innumerable, and include improved technological literacy, increased self-discipline, self-motivation and organisational habits. Habits, in other words, that mirror those needed in the modern-day workplace. (Source)

Blended learning is the most truly democratic form of learning as it caters to all employees. 

Aside from its proponents and detractors, does blended learning work? Blended learning’s real strength lies in its ability to transform learning that caters to one type of learner into learning that is truly interactive and engages all learner types. (Source) Blended learning is the most truly democratic form of learning as it caters to all employees. 


Even if blended learning is not the most effective form of learning, it is the stepping stone from which education can be improved.

Regardless of whether there is buy-in into blended learning or not, the prevalence of blended learning will only increase in the years to come. This is due to a number of factors. Firstly, blended learning functions not only as a learning tool, but as a resource for the analysis of understanding the science of learning and education. “It is used to study how employees interact with, respond to and interpret a media-driven world,” says Cabral. “So even if blended learning is not the most effective form of learning, it is the stepping stone from which education can be improved.”


Secondly, the flexible and technology-based nature of blended learning appeals to the ever-increasing proportion of the workforce: Millennials – also known as ‘Generation Y’, ‘Digital Natives’, or ‘GenDIY’ – those born within the last 20 years. “This DIY generation,” points out Cabral, “in the wake of critical global unemployment, is using technology to take control of their own learning, career and personal pathways, creating careers powered by digital learning.”


Blended learning is, therefore, here to stay, says Cabral, and he is excited about the opportunity to be part of a generation of technology-based learning professionals who are able to redefine the learning campus, the learning process and the efficacy of education and learning. Which is one of the reasons Cabral is part of the DigitalCampus team: “I truly believe that the online learning courses offered by us are among the best on offer as part of the blended learning philosophy,” states Cabral, “which is why I agreed to join the DigitalCampus team in my capacity as an eLearning professional.”


Jannie Heyneke, Managing Executive of DigitalCampus, echoes Cabral’s sentiments: “There are numerous reasons DigitalCampus’ online learning solution is something I’m proud to be behind. Through the online learning aspect of blended learning, we’re able to provide learning to a segment of the population who have, up until digital learning, not had the time to devote to developing their potential and have had to focus on on-the-job learning and skills.”


According to Heyneke and Cabral, among the differentiators of DigitalCampus’ solution, in collaboration with Wits University, is the fact that the courses facilitate the most effective blend between formal classroom learning and informal on-the-job learning, thereby. The following are examples of how DigitalCampus’ courses are a form of blended learning:


  • Occupationally directed – The formal course content can be immediately implemented on the job as they have been specifically distilled and clarified to cater to working professionals so that the material addresses specific knowledge gaps, growth opportunities, job and Personal Development Plan needs. The online aspect of the courses is therefore tailored for workplace implementation and the on-the-job learning aspect of blended learning.
  • Collaborative learning – Cabral argues that the online forum of DigitalCampus has specifically been structured to facilitate collaborative learning. While online learning as a formal aspect of learning can be a solitary, individual pursuit, the discussion forum aspect built into DigitalCampus’ online platform ensures that informal learning is blended into the process and it becomes “not simply a learning method, but a learning support structure. It is a form of networked learning, where the connections we form with people and information support the learning of everyone involved. A sense of community is created in this virtual learning environment, connecting people and ideas without the need to be physically present, or even virtually present at the same time.” This emphasis on collaborative learning enhances the efficacy of the eLearning as not only an aspect of blended learning, but a form of blended learning itself, as the individual online learning is entrenched through informal group and collaborative learning that supplements the formal learning of eLearning.
  • Coaching and mentoring – The collaborative learning aspect of the online platform also lends itself to the informal learning area of the coaching and mentoring process, as ideas, themes and questions raised in these discussion forums and by the learning itself can be taken up with coaches and mentors back in the workplace.
  • No disconnect between theory and practice – This means that there is no disconnect between theory and practice, formal and informal learning, as the information is designed to be immediately implementable. This then adds value not only to the individual, but to the organisation as well, as the Skills Development process shows a return on investment and the Personal Development Plan requirements become less of a red tape tickbox exercise and more of a profitable element of a high-functioning organisation. 


DigitalCampus is thus a solution that is framed around current learning theory and the prevalence of blended learning in the marketplace as the most effective form of learning that truly maximises learning and ensures a return on your investment of time, energy and money.


“Online learning is truly changing not only the learning campus, but the business landscape as we know it,” says Heyneke. “And we at LRMG and DigitalCampus are thrilled to be part of something that causes that kind of shift not only in traditions and organisations, but in people, exponentially broadening the potential of what and who we can be.”


To find out more about our courses, click here.

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