In response to mounting interest in the development of an e-learning content evaluation tool (ELCET) by Learning Light in association with The Virtual College, Learning Light has made further information on the tool available via its website and also via the E-Learning Centre website.
David Patterson, a director of Learning Light, which provides advice and help to organisations using e-learning and learning technologies to improve their business performance, commented: “ELCET provides an objective assessment of – or a quality mark for – any piece of e-learning. It’s something that the corporate learning technologies sector has needed for many years – not least because, in our experience, many organisations have difficulty in specifying and procuring effective generic e-learning materials.
“Since ELCET makes assessing potential learning materials for our E-learning Centre website much easier, it should also help anyone who has to evaluate e-learning materials for use in their organisation,” he continued. “So, I’m not surprised that ELCET’s appearance has produced a lot of interest among the corporate e-learning commissioning and buying community.
“Of course, now that all the e-learning materials in the E-Learning Centre’s ‘courses’ section meet the ELCET quality criteria, anyone who’s looking for e-learning materials for themselves or their organisation can be confident of the quality of those available via the E-learning Centre website,” he added.
The tool contains 18 metrics – or criteria – that can be applied to any piece of e-learning. Depending on the complexity of any piece of e-learning, it can be subjected to seven, 12 or 18 of these metrics – and this produces an objective evaluation of ‘low’, ‘middle’ and ‘top’ end e-learning materials.
According to David Patterson, clients often ask the team at Learning Light, ‘How do I know if an e-learning course is any good?’
Learning Light has undertaken several commissions from clients to evaluate e-learning courses. This led to the development of a methodology and, now, the ELCET tool.
The initial inspiration for ELCET was based around a design methodology by the e-learning guru, Michael Allen, especially his Objectives X Treatment matrix. This matrix looks at the learning objectives and the e-learning treatments, or interactions, that could be applied to create engaging and effective e-learning.
The ELCET tool doesn’t focus on the technical side of the content, such as the SCORM compliance of a course. Instead, it focuses on the learner experience.
“ELCET isn’t an automated or expert system,” David Patterson stated. “It’s a highly objective and configurable tool – and much more than a spreadsheet driven process – but, ultimately, it requires humans to evaluate the e-learning content.
“The tool is configurable to allow the evaluation of all genres of e-learning materials, videos, games, animations and so on. Moreover, it recognises accessibility issues but it’s smart and flexible enough to allow the materials to be rated against realistic standards to reflect real world budgets.”
Only ELCET accredited e-learning materials are allowed in the ‘courses’ section of The E-Learning Centre website, which is an information resource about e-learning and learning technologies.
“Our aim is to ensure that the materials marketed by Learning Light and at The E-Learning Centre are of an appropriate standard and will deliver effective and engaging e-learning,” Patterson pledged. “Evaluating e-learning materials using ELCET involves collecting relevant measurements at 129 data points.
“ELCET presents graphical evaluations of the ‘genre mix’ that comprises a course and it produces a set of objective measurements against the criteria set, at the beginning of the evaluation, for the appropriate type of course.
“There are a number of e-learning content exchanges but, to our knowledge, none take the trouble to curate and evaluate the content sold at the level of detail that ELCET does.
“Learning Light can take commissions to evaluate existing courses on behalf of clients – and advise in course design and specification using the ELCET tool,” he continued. “Learning Light is also happy to manage e-learning content procurements on behalf of clients.
“To discuss this, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone me on +44 (0)114 223 2442.”
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