We all know that the term, “e-Learning,” today stands for almost anything and means almost nothing. The “e” in that term might mean something, but the “Learning” portion of that term is a misnomer in many, many cases.

Let’s quickly eliminate the current types of e-Learning that contribute little to the learning challenges of both this decade and beyond. Transporting words, numbers, graphics, and still pictures across digital networks is easy. It is also very useful for that information flow to be directed at the one-third of us who are “reading advanced.”

Hooray! Let that work continue. I like it. You like it. I take advantage of all that information so readily available and so do you. I am happy to be a part of the “reading culture” and would not have it any other way. I look forward to reading my one or two biographies and history books each week. I read the newspapers, subscribe to about two dozen journals, and can’t wait to discover new information sources on the WEB. Great! Wonderful! And for the purposes of these remarks, I don’t very much care.

You see, I (and you, as well) can function, come up with informed opinions, cast responsible votes, earn sufficient personal income, and communicate without those informational aspects of e-Learning. Oh, I like having it available. I can read more “stuff” than I ever have previously, have access to more knowledge, and do all of it faster and more efficiently than I was ever able to do before. But, I don’t need it; I made out just fine before these aspects of e-Learning came along.

And, yes, lots of companies and lots of investors have made lots of money by capitalizing on that relatively easy type of e-Learning — which, by its very nature, is more “informational” and less “instructional” in its effects.

However, let’s get to the real point here. The opportunities in e-Learning that I am challenging you to think about are those multi-sensory instructional designs, directed at the current two-thirds of Americans who are cut off from that reading-based learning culture associated with the CBT-design world of the 1970’s. Our future e-Learning instructional designs must become part of that television learning culture — which supplanted the printing press world as the primary medium for communication — beginning in the 1950’s.

Bottom Line: “If it’s not multi-sensory e-Learning, it’s not ‘Learning’ — it’s only “e!”

More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning