PowerPoint is the major enemy of e-Learning. It has distorted the learning values of this new education/training tool. It has turned off millions of individuals who would otherwise be motivated by the potential of the e-Learning medium. In short, PowerPoint has done much more harm to e-Learning most of us can possibly imagine.


Too few, charged with making training initiative decisions for their organization, have very little real understanding of the learning process. They concentrate on the technology capabilities of digital media. And, then, they lump everything together and decide that “if it plays, it works.”

How foolish! Information conveyance has both a purpose and means for achieving results. So do training and education! And guess what? Their purposes and means are vastly different.

Information is there for the taking. Either you choose to acquire it — or, you don’t. Effective training and education, on the other hand, relies on such factors as stimulation, simulation and self-interest. We acquire short-term knowledge because it’s there. Yet, we forget newspaper articles quickly and retain little of a PowerPoint outline days after it has been presented.

But, e-Learning (in its intended sense) links us to the content being presented. It has relevance to our own lives and the skills that we want to acquire. It speaks to us in our own learning culture (and, today, that culture is television-based). It comes to us in short chunks in order to allow us to ponder, chew and swallow discreet objectives. It presents us with simulations, so that we can try it out with our own hands. In short, it lives and it breathes in a world that touches us directly.

PowerPoint, on the other hand, is cold, sterile and passive. We think that just because we can network a PowerPoint presentation or a written procedure, we’re doing something important. And, in a way, we are.

We’re putting our reading audience to sleep. We’re bombarding them with words they’ll never remember and concept presentations that are foreign to their own lives. Worst of all, we’re turning them against the potential of the most promising learning tool that exists today — e-Learning.

If you know someone who believes that PowerPoint is e-Learning, ask them to leave the professions of education and training (they should find another job).

I know that statement may seem strong to you but, if you have witnessed the many lives that have been positively changed by brilliant teachers, educators and mentors, you will understand. And, I have also seen what knowledgeably designed multi-sensory media courses have done for many thousands of people. Those courses have changed lives, allowing those trainees/students to achieve promotions, find career paths and make better futures for their families. The uninformed, who pass off PowerPoint presentations as e-Learning, are betraying the ambitions and dreams of those students/trainees they are tasked to serve.

The best in e-Learning empowers its students and trainees. It opens their eyes to possibility; it increases their capabilities; and it frees them to make better choices. Isn’t that what this is all about?

“Bless the few who understand — and, curse the many who don’t!”

More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning