Today’s e-Learning world must be viewed carefully. The opportunities provided by the Internet and company intranets are somewhat off-set by the video limitations resulting from limited corporate infrastructures. However, Instructional Design should continue to be the focal point of all programs (in any medium) that are designed for learning. Because the salient characteristics of effective e-Learning design are so complex, we’ll resort to an outline method in order to achieve a somewhat full overview:

The Need for Instructional Designers
• Today, courseware creation resides with technical writers and programmers.
• Yet, excellent instructional design may be more important that ever.
• Without video tools, the designer must be more creative.
• Audio becomes the “secret ingredient” to effective on-line learning.

Why Audio is Necessary

• We’re not a “reading culture” society – maybe never were.
• Nearly 40% of America’s workforce do not read above a 4th grade level.
• Barely one-third of high school graduates are traditionally literate.

Implications for Instructional Designers

• The written words in an on-line lesson reach only a minority.
• Hence, designers must find new ways for audio to bridge the gap.
• All script language must have a “to-be-heard” option.

Ways Audio Enriches the Learning Experience

• Dialog brings “stills” alive.
• Sound effects provide motivation and realism.
• Mood creation establishes a familiar and comfortable environment.

Design Requirements for On-Line Learning

• Navigation through a lesson is simple, consistent, and intuitive.
• Instruction is meaningful and interactive.
• Adult learning characteristics are accommodated.
• Industrial management requirements are satisfied.
• Media is appropriately integrated as part of the learning experience.

Commercial End User Requirements

• The on-line lesson provides adequate learning for the targeted audience.
• The on-line lesson “works” on intended delivery systems: Internet and intranets.
• The on-line lesson is SCORM compliant.

More tomorrow – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning