In previous blogs, I have extolled the virtues of several training technologies — specifically digitized CD-ROM, extinct Interactive Laser Videodisc, and, of course, knowledgeably designed e-Learning.

As a training delivery medium, all three have their specific strengths and weaknesses.

BUT, if you are going to make training investments now that are going to commit your organization for the future, there is only one good choice to make — knowledgeably designed e-Learning!elearning_treeofknowledge

We have all heard the WEB-accessible e-Learning sales pitch many times — “accessible from anywhere by anybody 24×7.” However, that’s not a good enough reason to make your investment. Many organizations place the e-Learning content behind their own firewall, effectively limiting access to the e-Learning content and, therefore, canceling the primary distinguisher of e-Learning.

If that is the case, digitized CD-ROM, which can also be networked locally, is a far superior learning medium.

Except for one thing!

The future!

The skills training world is not static. Regulations are revised; operations procedures get modified; instrumentation changes; testing procedures evolve, etc.

E-Learning is the only training technology medium that can instantly adapt to that ever-changing world! Producers can make those necessary changes, usually within minutes, and make those revisions available to their customers almost instantly.

CD-ROM, videotape and print cannot do that!

Sure, all of those media are capable of being changed. But, to do so, is a costly and time-expensive process — and is, therefore, seldom done. Or, because of the expense involved, corrections are banked and, then incorporated only a couple of times a year.

The sad truth is that those changes are never made. Vendors, too often, use the rationale that says, “You bought it — You own it.”

There can be little argument made against e-Learning as the “best value” investment. If you want your training to be accurate and complete five years from now — and, not just today — e-Learning is your only value-choice.

But, not just any e-Learning will fill the bill. PowerPoint presentations adapted to the WEB, as well as adapted written procedures and text-heavy CBT are not training. At best, they give some information and, at worst, they will waste the time of your employees — which, after all, is the most expensive aspect of any training initiative.

You had better look for knowledgeably designed e-Learning that is based on multi-sensory instructional design — and, that means:

• Content covered that is accurate and complete.
• Work and safety practices that are correctly portrayed at all times.
• Proper instructional design elements that are always present, including:
o Multi-sensory design using optional full audio for your less fluent readers.
o Short segment learning using performance objectives.
o Minimal use of text for learning.

E-Learning has another big advantage! You can license e-Learning courseware on an annual basis. The flexibility that gives you is huge for by making only a modest initial investment, you can cancel after a year if it’s not proving valuable — or, you can cancel anytime in the future if some new “latest and greatest” technology comes along. With CD-ROM or videotape, the front-end costs are generally much higher and you’re going to be stuck with that investment whether it continues to work for you or not.

You can buy digitized CD-ROM for your short-term training needs. And, it is a particularly excellent choice if you already own the CD-ROMs. They can be easily digitized and networked for a very reasonable cost.

e-learning-maffei2But, if your training initiatives are designed for long-term use, knowledgeably designed e-Learning is the only way to go! Its credibility life span is almost limitless and the costs can be annualized.

More on Thursday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning