The e-learning centre - a good looking resource!

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20th Sep 2000
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The e-learning centre is a tastefully designed site for anyone wanting to find out more about creating e-learning solutions.

Although lacking in content itself (aside from the e-learning workshops it offers), the site has a mass of useful links to other sites brought together in one place, divided into a number of sections. Thankfully each link opens up a new browser page so that you don't need to keep to-ing and fro-ing between the site and the links it offers, although the site is framed, which means that it's difficult from a reviewing point of view to point visitors to different parts of the site (try the main link above and click through from there).

For starters then, the library has plenty of archived articles to trawl through, on a wide range of topics. Try needs of distance learners, e-learning for small businesses and a question of standards for starters.

In the Organisations section you'll find details of professional assocations and networks, (including, we were pleased to find, yours truly!), details of research institutes and resource centres. All useful stuff for those wanting background information.

If it's training you're looking for, the Showcase has plenty of jumping-off points to sessions on any number of topics, from piano-playing to forest ecology to business french and how to screw in a lightbulb (just in case you were unsure! - we're sure there are a few jokes just waiting to be had there!). All the usual suspects are to be found in the Learning Portals listings and there's some more highbrow stuff in Educational Ideas.

The Skill building area has plenty of links to sites which can help with the technical aspects of Web design, JavaScript, HTML and using multimedia in general. For those interested in the more advanced methods of delivering online, there's a number of helpful links on streaming media on the web.

The Toolbox has a section of links to sites which offer software for web content, such as Acrobat, Dreamweaver from Macromedia and, of course, the ubiquitous FrontPage, together with links to companies who provide interactive software such as Centra.

In the Education section there are lots of links to sites which provide information on how to create a course online, although when we looked, some of these links were incredibly slow to load. The section also includes conference listings.

What does look interesting is the e-Learning Centre series of e-Workshops, available free online, entitled Introduction to Online Learning, Planning Your Online Course and Designing an Effective Course Website. The sessions, which last 5-6 hours each, are intended for those working in Further or Higher Education to find out about academic e-learning. Although TrainingZONE didn't have the chance to look through these properly, they look pretty comprehensive, and there's a tutor online to provide e-mail support.

The site has a community section for visitors to post information or questions to others involved in e-learning, but it appears to be rarely used. There's also a newsletter but it only provides information about what's changed on the site, rather than external news.

Russell Holt, TrainingZONE's Director of Online Learning says: "My weekend surfing led me to this site. Great idea as a resource centre, with plenty of good links, but beyond this list of qualified links there's not much there. Although it has a community tag, there isn't a lot of interaction involved, and it isn't clear who's responsible for the site. A bit anonymous and impersonal - there's no feeling of being involved!".

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