The rapid development and changes in technology over the last decade has had a resounding impact on the learning industry. Technology, coupled with the explosion of knowledge requirements in the information age, has led to the emergence of new learning modalities such as On-Line learning. With the recent flood of new products in the market, customers are faced with an extensive range of programs that have been developed without assurance of quality methodologies. The challenge for On-Line courseware developers is to ensure that On-Line courses are of the highest quality and achieve the intended learning outcomes that parallel the results of the best instructor-led training and education today.

Unfortunately, several misconceptions have marked the development of On-Line learning thus far. Too many courseware developers have regarded the On-Line medium as a “reading” or page-turning activity. Of course, that resultant instruction leaves behind the nearly 40% of America’s workforce which tests below a fifth grade reading level. In addition, some early On-Line instruction has been driven by “technocrats” who have failed to recognize the IT infrastructures and delivery capabilities within most of America’s process and manufacturing facilities.

In striving to build a winning On-Line curriculum, many developers have also based their strategies on limiting costs or creating flash while sacrificing the basic learning principles that education/training should incorporate to meet the goals of adult learning. Although the Web has been used as a tool for delivering training, the development has been more focused on the mechanics of using the Web rather than in effectively applying Web-based technology to achieving the intended learning outcomes.

Quoting from an ITC Learning “White Paper,” written by Trishia Jandu, we find that,

“Statistics show that 50% of learners who have begun an asynchronous online course do not complete the training. The high dropout rate has been attributed to poor instructional design and a disparity between the learner’s computer system and the technology required to run the courseware. The On-Line medium presents an opportunity for developers to harness the flexibility of the technology, tailoring to learners’ needs, styles, and preferences. On-Line courses must be created to facilitate comprehension, retention, and effective application in the workplace.”

More tomorrow – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning