A week ago, we discussed the training alternative to e-Learning — at least until e-Learning gets its act together. Of course, that alternative is networked digitized CD-ROM instruction — an Intranet solution.

We also discussed its most obvious limitation. Digitized CD-ROM training is not an Internet training medium. It must be administered within range of a dedicated LAN. But, for training payback values, it currently has no peer.

So, if you choose to go the digitized CD-ROM route, what should you expect from the courseware you purchase?

First of all, it should be a complete training system, providing everything needed to run a comprehensive training program, including: pre-tests, lesson menus, short teaching segments, simulations, and post-tests.

The courseware design should be so easy to use that trainees can access courses readily. The performance objectives must be clearly stated so that the trainee can understand exactly what is being taught. Integral should be an administrative and report-generating capability.

The learning should be individually paced with trainees controlling their own path through the lesson. They should be free at any time to skip over material they already understand, or repeat any portions for better comprehension. And when a question is answered incorrectly, extra instruction should be provided to ensure that the trainee understands the material, before proceeding.

With well-designed digitized CD-ROM training, learning takes place through interaction and involvement with the multimedia presentation. Even trainees with poor reading skills can learn effectively from this medium, which is seldom the case with much of what passes for e-Learning today.

The instructional design should be based on short segments and trainees must demonstrate that they understand each concept before moving on to the next. Feedback should be immediate and the information presented should be, “need to know.”

The training should be conveyed though realistic video in a realistic job environment so that it is easy for the trainees to transfer the information from the screen to the job.

The design of effective digitized CD-ROM training is based on the principle that, “people first learn by seeing, in real time, the skills being performed. Then, they practice performing those skills via interactive simulations in order to fortify what they have learned. Finally, their knowledge is tested, again via interactive simulations of the real-world activity. This constant practice helps increase learning and the ultimate job performance.”

I know it’s becoming an e-Learning world. But, take a moment to look at networked digitized CD-ROM training. It, too, has a lot to offer — particularly when compared to much of the junk that is being passed off as e-Learning today.

More tomorrow – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning