Thursday, February 17, 2011

Interview with Learnable: Innovators in E-Learning Series

Online courses in health, fitness, weight loss, and personal improvement are now more feasible than ever with new approaches to enhanced e-learning, which involves a flexible array "you choose" delivery modes and technologies. Multiple screens are the norm as people work with smartphones, mobile devices of all kinds, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. You may find yourself taking a personal improvement course through a university's outreach programs, through a community college's lifelong learning branches, or a career college's certificate program. You might even take courses directly from the experts in the field. The flexibility is made possible through innovative course delivery systems that allow instructors and institutions to host their courses in the Cloud, and to take advantage of a flexible content and learning management system. An example of this is Learnable, based in Melbourne, Australia. (Is Melbourne where Lycos originated?)

1. What is your name and your relation to elearning?
Our name is Learnable.

We're a website that helps students learn about a range of topics through online courses that are created by a range of everyday experts in their fields. Our online courses are therefore non-formal in nature, sitting between the more structured institutional learning and unstructured self guided learning. They allow people to gain tangible skills and knowledge in a semi-structured online environment that guides and facilitates their learning.

2. What is Learnable?
Learnable is a web site where anyone can learn online about a range of topics that interest them. This is delivered through asynchronous online courses that allow students to learn in bite-sized chunks, at their own pace and in their own time. It’s also gives knowledge experts the chance to become instructors, and share their expertise by creating and selling their own online courses. At Learnable you can be a student, an instructor, or both!

So in a sentence - Learnable is where anyone can discover or deliver an online course.

3. How does it work? Why was it established?
Learnable is based around an online course creation tool that packages and delivers courses for students to take online.

Students pay for these courses online, and then gain unlimited access to the course. Courses are all structured around a series of lessons, articles, online videos, and other downloadable resources, as well as a very smart tool we like to call our social Q&A. The Q&A tool allows students to ask as many questions as they like, get answers from instructors, as well as learning from all the previously answered questions from other students. They can even ask questions of fellow students.

This means courses are broken down into a series of easy-to-follow steps that students can then work through at their own pace, as well as having access to personalised support from instructors throughout.

Instructors on the other hand, have the ability to share their knowledge or skills by creating and delivering their own courses on Learnable. They do this by using our super easy-to-use course builder that helps organise, package and turn their knowledge into online courses that they can then sell on Learnable.

Based in Melbourne, Australia, Learnable began as a series of online courses about web development on, one of the largest online communities of web designers and developers. It was established as a way to build on SitePoint’s existing online courses, and to then share this online learning platform with the world.

4. How can it work with respect to health and fitness? how can the courses be used for diet / fitness / nutrition courses?
There is no limit to the topics and courses that can be created on Learnable.

So someone interested in health and fitness would find it easy to create a course that could share their insights, ideas and thoughts on how to live a healthier, happier life, and with a worldwide audience. Students of the course could take the course in the comfort and privacy of their own homes, any time throughout the day, whilst still having the support of the instructor through the interactive Q&A system.

We like to think Learnable will be a fantastic resource for instructors and teachers in this field.

5. What are your goals?
Our goal is to be the largest marketplace for online courses in the world, and we believe that we have the opportunity to fundamentally transform education for the better. We’d like to achieve this by making non-formal learning easy, and in so doing empower knowledge sharing between students and instructors.

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