Most e-learning experts seem to agree that three of the biggest challenges facing e-learning are system quality, information quality, and support quality. While the design and implementation of e-learning systems can be very cost-effective in comparison to traditional class learning systems as costs are generally limited to servers and software, the design and implementation process is very dependent on the quality of the system that the e-learning is taking place in, which makes its selection a crucial element of the overall effectiveness of the e-learning implementation. Systems must be researched thoroughly to understand if they function properly, effectively, and consistently before selecting them as an e-learning platform.
Once the system has been selected, the content should be developed with the system in mind so the design of the content fits the strengths and weaknesses of the system. It is important that alpha, beta, and pilot testing take place to ensure that the design is consistent across platforms, browsers, and display settings and that the course functions the way it should within the system’s interface in every potential way the student could be interacting with the course. Examples of errors to be checked during alpha testing would be misspelled words, unclear directions, broken links and video that isn’t working properly. These basic problems can have a major negative impact on the learner, and it is critical that a quality assurance checklist is followed strictly to ensure the consistent quality of the information being presented to the learner.
Support is a critical component of the e-learning process, as it competes with what a real professor would be able to provide if the student and teacher were together in a classroom. If the ambiguous information is presented through an e-learning system, it is important that the student be able to access immediate assistance. This is often not possible, so the more sophisticated and robust the support system is, the more likely the e-learning process will be effective.