This weekend’s “Oscars” presentation had a nominee that everyone with training responsibilities should see. A nominee in the “Short Documentary” category was HBO’s, “The Last Truck” which, while not necessarily meaning to, clearly illustrates the biggest problem facing American business today.

Echoes of Marshall McLuhan’s “enclaves” observations appear, too often, in decision-making nowadays. The separation between the levels of corporate hierarchy grow and the gulf between the learning cultures of executive management and its workforce widens. The result, of course, restricts the benefits of well-intentioned training initiatives.

Having lived through the earliest years of industrial videotape training – with a camera in my hands – an Engineer to provide content and very loose scripting – plus, a two-inch reel-to-reel (“black and white”) mastering machine — for me, the potential in Learning Technologies today is awesome.

The opportunities-for-change, offered by mutiple-media based e-Learning are here. And, those millions of people in every country in the world – who had been bypassed before – can now be included.

However, this Learning Revolution will only come about if we can all take the time to focus our efforts on the Instructional Design aspects of these newer technologies – and, NOT on the technologies themselves. And, we must keep foremost in our minds that designing for our workforce specifically means designing on their learning terms — and, not on our own.

Today’s learner, all too often, is being left out in the cold. Unfortunately, talking about technology from the learner’s point of view, rather than from our own, seems to be an antiquated discussion packaged away with a box of yesterday’s videodiscs.

The challenge we, as trainers, face today is succinctly illustrated in “The Last Truck.” We must bridge the canyons and provide the training that successfully communicates to our workforce — a workforce that has grown up in the “television age” and relies on the multiple-media techniques of multi-sensory learning.

Take the time to see the HBO documentary. You’ll be glad you did. And, develop your training initiatives from the learners’ point-of-view, rather than from your own.

Start building that bridge!

More tomorrow – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning