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What is eLearning?

E-learning offers learning processes through the use of information and communication technology. It provides the trainees with easy access to learning materials and facilitates communication anywhere and at any time. The learning progress is steered, monitored and evaluated by tutors. Feedback is provided online by the tutors and communicated amongst the group of trainees.

Margraf Publishers is able to offer the whole cycle of an eLearning course:

  • Course announcement and planning;
  • Provision of the content and a didactical and methodical editing;
  • Technical platform and the support of the users;
  • Tools for communication and moderation;
  • A pool of specialised trainers (so-called eTutors) ;
  • Evaluation of the learning progress and certification procedure;
  • Project-steering and reporting.

E-learning courses can, on demand, be complemented by face-to-face training in a blended learning approach.

Background

Since 2003, «Distance-Learning» courses have been developed and implemented, mainly for the water and wastewater sector as well as in the field of vocational training, mainly on behalf of the international development cooperation. Since this time, courses evolved from CBTs (Computer-based Trainings, delivered on CD) and later WBTs (Web-based Trainings) into todays e-Learnings.

Modern trainings use interactive tools in a virtual learning environment (LMS – Learning Management System) to enable the learning process and collaboration among participants and trainers. Also audio/visual (A/V) communication and expert inputs (so called «Webinars») are part of the courses.

Target Group

Initially, courses were designed for the top-level management of utilities and governmental institutions. In the following years, access to IT and the Internet in almost all areas became possible. This also involves participants from an operative level to e-Learning. A good example from 2012 is the course on «Non-Revenue Water», showing water-loss reduction measures using pressure management techniques on the on-site level.

Concept

The course content is being developed by international experts. To use the text for an e-Learning, they have to be edited in didactical manners and for the use in a technical framework (LMS) on the internet.

Margraf Publishers  and their regional and international partners use an approach which stores all elements of an e-Learning course (content, media, layout, communication tools) in separate «containers». This enables the course content to be up-dated very quickly according to new developments and regional requirements.

The course system is based on an Open-Source «Content Management System» (Typo3). This modular system makes it possible to integrate also other learning management systems, such as for example the «Global Campus GC21» of GIZ, MOODLE, coursera or almost every other system.

PROs

Some advantages of the eLearning format are: 

  • Saving Resources: Reduced travel costs and working time for learners and teachers;
  • Learner-friendly: No overcrowded classrooms, Learning at one's own conveniences, Participation also with a smartphone [M-Learning]
  • New and broader target-groups: More and other students per course, Wider reach;
  • Easy to update learning content: Data-based content means easy adaptation to regional characteristics and to the different needs of organisations and partners; 
  • Strengthening of the network: Alumni stay in contact, Sustainability and follow-up of a course are easier to handle;
  • Different forms of distribution: Combination of online learning and face-to-face training [Blended Learning], Training for the same organisation at different sites [in-House Learning];
  • Better quality: Standardization of teaching, Better quality monitoring and management of teaching content and placements.

CONs

Not all learning contents are suitable for a distance learning course. We are happy to assist you in your evaluation.
Further disadvantages of the eLearning format can be:

  • Lack of acceptance: Bad familiarity of the target group or the teachers with the medium, Lack of experience;
  • Technical problems: Poor data connection, Restricted access to the internet, Out-dated software or hardware;
  • Administrative problems: Insufficient resources, Rejection of the format within the organization itself, Poor participant acquisition;
  • Poor motivation: Major problem, as the trainer's control is more difficult in this format than in a «classroom»; Self-learning courses (without fixed time frames) are therefore less suitable.

These problems are usually solved by consistently supporting and motivating the participants through specially trained tutors.