In today’s BLOG we’re going to list the more important elements involved in the instructional design of e-Learning. Let’s start by listing today’s objectives:

• We will describe the restrictions of, and conditions for, effective on-line learning environments.
• We will list the features and benefits of effective on-line learning systems.

The realities of e-Learning are as follows:

• Because of most corporate infrastructures, e-Learning is not part of the video world.
• Currently, e-Learning is not part of the videotape, videodisc, or CD-ROM continuum.
• Today, e-Learning is closer to the radio world.

E-Learning has a critical need for Instructional Designers today — designers who understand the unique potential of e-Learning combined with the current restrictions on the medium.

Unfortunately, at the present time, e-Learning courseware creation resides with technical writers and programmers. The garbage we see with converted PowerPoint presentations and converted written procedures results in an on-line experience that turns off almost all trainees (nearly 70% never complete such counterfeit programs).

Yet knowledgeable instructional design is more important than ever. Without the video tools, so fundamental to Interactive Laser Videodisc and CD-ROM, the e-Learning designer must be more creative. And a keen understanding, that under today’s corporate infrastructure limitations, “audio” becomes the secret ingredient to effective on-line learning.

Optional word-for-word audio, combined with other sound effects is essential because:

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

The implications for Instructional Designers are several:

• 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.

There are several ways that audio enriches the learning experience:

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

There are several 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.

And, as always, there are key 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.

So, there it is. While I’ve used an outline form, each one of these points can be discussed in depth and requires a thorough understanding. Nevertheless, I’ve enumerated the existing conditions of our current e-Learning environments and the features and benefits so necessary for effective e-Learning.

More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning