Simulate, Emulate, Graduate

Unfortunately, the passive “live instruction-as-lecture” method has — mistakenly — become the norm for teaching far too many in our adult population.

There are three reasons why organizations can’t help but fail when using this approach: First, workplace lectures have proven to be generally ineffective due to the listener’s inability to retain much more than a small amount of the instruction heard at a single sitting. Secondly, there is not enough time available from a “right sized” work force to do live instruction in the “expose and practice” discrete segment way. Thirdly, the complexity of the skills needed to operate in today’s workplaces goes far beyond what has been required of our non-reading population in the past.

So why not use the full motion multimedia learning technologies to address these new challenges? In that way we can keep the best of what has worked in the past — “expose and practice” in small discrete segments — while combining the awesome power of video, audio, and hands-on experience.

In the past, after completing one’s schooling (maybe only until the eighth grade), one became an apprentice. An honorable first step because it meant you had a “career path,” and you knew what you were going to do and how you were to do it. You were going to acquire a skill. You learned, for example, how to take a pump apart – not by reading about it, but by doing it.

Today, simulators are the best substitute for that traditional hands-on learning, but are not always practical.

However, this is where full-motion, fully interactive media training can play a critical role. A student can simulate dial movement or pressure gauge readings in real time. You can even use media to transition a student into the actual job performance setting. Suppose that, just before completing a media lesson, students are instructed to “get box number 12 off the shelf.” In box number 12 are all the components they have just learned about in that lesson. They get to do actual hands-on practice. Then, when they get to the shop floor, they will have learned, seen, and practiced everything they’re now going to be asked to do. And, if an optional sound button is accessible whenever print appears in our new media courseware designs, non-fluent readers can exercise that choice while the fluent readers can ignore it.

Fully interactive full-motion CD-ROM and knowledgeably designed e-learning are the answers for better training and for better education today.

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning