The arguments over “best learning medium” that readily ensue when training professionals get together are becoming commercially meaningless today.


Because most large, and many medium-size, companies have already decided the issue. For a variety of solid reasons, these corporations have chosen “e-Learning” as the training medium of choice — and, that’s that!

The efficiencies born out of “anytime/anywhere,” reduced travel and labor savings have all pointed in one direction — e-Learning. The learning advantages of full motion CD-ROM are no longer sufficient to override the significant cost/benefit edge that belongs exclusively to e-Learning.

And, as trainers, we should not fret too long over that decision. Technology continues to evolve and the full motion advantages of CD-ROM will soon become readily available in well-designed e-Learning.

In the meantime, it is important to understand the learning necessities that are currently integral to knowledgeably designed e-Learning:

-Optional Word-for-Word Audio Capability
-User-Designed Interface for Navigation-Ease
-Meaningful and Interactive Content
-Short Modular Lessons
-Efficient Sentence Use per Screen
-Content Accuracy
-Integrated “Help” and “Glossary” Functions
-Subject Appropriate Instructional Design
-Doubles as a “Just-In-Time” Tool After the Initial Training

Those are the design characteristics you should be looking for today as you search through your e-Learning choices. The very best courses will have them all.

Tomorrow will come. But, today you have only a few training vendors that understand “learning and learners.” Look for them before you choose a random title off a web page description. And, above all, avoid those adapted PowerPoint and written procedures that are being passed off as e-Learning from vendors that understand very little about the subject we all care about — “learning and learners.”

Unfortunately, many of these counterfeit training vendors are the larger ones (larger, primarily because they simply converted their existing materials, rather than taking the more expensive route of designing for the new e-Learning medium). But, they’ll be gone soon. As soon as your corporate bosses understand, as you now do so well, that e-Information is not training. It is both boring and useless.

You know, as I do, that to learn a skill one must “practice doing” in a simulated manner. And, that is where the future of e-Learning is thankfully headed. More power to you and to all true training professionals!

More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning