The Benefits of Bullets

Training Challenge Number Six: “The failure to recognize e-learning that truly works”

The fifth essential quality for truly effective e-learning is a course design that exhibits “Efficient Sentence Use per Screen.”

If retention is the ultimate aim of any training program, the emphasis on individual teaching screens should be on the visuals used, along with whatever animation is employed.

These visuals may be photographs, graphics, charts, and diagrams. (In the future, after internal digital transmission capability is upgraded by most companies, effective use of full motion video will also be included.)

We do not want our learners to concentrate on lengthy text screens, which have proven to be less effective in meeting retention goals.

Short sentences, then, or short “bullet” screens describing a single information point or theory becomes the aim of good instructional design. The learner who can read quickly and well can then focus on the visual teaching of the screen, just as the individual who prefers to listen can quickly move on to the real teaching focus of the screen.

Instructional designers who have a good grasp of effective teaching soon learn how to confine their instructional points to short, to-the-point, sentences.

So here you have another way to evaluate the potential effectiveness of any e-learning offering that you are expected to evaluate or produce. The more we understand about the significance of effective instructional design, the more payback we’ll get from our training initiatives.

And, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?!?

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning