There is no mistaking in the observation that video based e-learning is making a deep impact in training environments - educational and corporate. Collaborative technologies have emerged to offer a way to familiarize learners with these new learning experiences.
E-learning makes use of a wide range of technologies and media that can be categorized by delivery media or interaction tools. It is also important to realize that each learner will often learn best with certain technologies. E-learning has been broadly classified into – synchronous and asynchronous learning.
Synchronous, which literally means "at the same time" involves interacting with an instructor via the Web in real time - learning and teaching takes place at the same time while the instructor and learners are physically separated from each other. Video has a great role to play in synchronous e-learning. Lately Video conferencing has been offering new possibilities for schools, colleges, and libraries who now use videoconferencing systems for a variety of purposes, including formal instruction (courses, lessons, and tutoring), connection with guest speakers and experts, multi-school project collaboration, professional activities, and community events. Some more traditional distance learning classes meet exclusively through dedicated videoconferencing systems. These video conferencing tools remove many of the differences between normal class environments and an online class environment.
As the bandwidth of the Internet increases over the coming years and emergence of tools like authorLIVE, Webex, Centra and Microsoft Net Meeting, synchronous conferencing options will become more effective, less costly and complex, and may gain more popularity. These synchronous collaboration tools are already being used to bridge gaps in geography and take learning to every corner of the enterprise. With features like live chat, whiteboards, hand raising, application sharing, and breakout rooms, these tools can be surprisingly effective at mirroring a live classroom setting. In addition, some of these solutions allow you to archive recorded sessions so everyone can take advantage of learning — on their own time and at their own pace.
Asynchronous, which means "not at the same time," allows the student to complete the WBT on his own time and schedule, without live interaction with the instructor. As asynchronous e-learning does not require a facilitator or instructor, it is one of the very popular e-learning deployment methods. Asynchronous learning is independent of time and space. Learners are able to interact with course materials and with each other at a time of their choosing. Examples of asynchronous e-learning are self-paced courses taken via Internet or CD-ROM, email, bulletin boards, stored audio/video web presentations or seminars, PowerPoint trainings and discussion threads.
Many upcoming tools like authorPOINT, Macromedia Breeze, Articulate and Presentation Pro have been successful in helping the trainers prepare an effective training session that can be made available to students/trainees all over the world through accessible URLs, or CD-ROM. These tools give e-learning much of its appeal. Learners can engage each other when it is most convenient. Web sites and CD-ROMs can track a student’s progress as they move through a course and offer interactivity with the materials. Moreover students that are trailing behind in course work receive the benefit of being able to read discussion posts.