PART FOUR (a) — “Instructional Design Review”

Today, e-Learning is not part of the video world. E-Learning is, also, not a part of the videotape, laser interactive videodisc, or CD-ROM continuum. At this moment, e-Learning is closer to the radio world.

Sure, the necessary compressed video capability is readily available — BUT, the infrastructure for most would-be corporate users is not.

Today, unfortunately, most e-Learning courseware creation resides with technical writers and programmers. Yet, with e-Learning, excellent instructional design may be more important than ever.

Without video tools, the instructional designer must be more creative than ever. The imaginative use of audio becomes the “secret ingredient” to effective e-Learning.

We already know that written words reach only a minority — almost half of our workforce does not read above a 4th Grade level. Hence, instructional designers must find new ways to bridge the gap. All script language must have a “to-be-heard” option.

Effective use of audio as a critical instructional design element enriches the learning experience. Dialog brings “stills” alive. Sound effects provide motivation and realism. Mood creation establishes a familiar and comfortable environment.

Thus, when you are making your training purchase decisions, start with an analysis of the audio utilization. And, the place to start your analysis begins with “optional word-for-word” audio. That feature alone will guarantee that your learners who are reading fluent can turn the audio off and move forward at their own pace. It will also guarantee for your less fluent readers that, by listening to the complete audio they, too, will have the opportunity for full comprehension of the subject taught.

Tomorrow, we’ll examine some additional instructional design elements in a knowledgeably designed e-Learning program.

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning