We have spent many a BLOG discussing the attributes of well-designed e-Learning. Many times, we have listed the salient characteristics that are found within effective e-Learning designs. We have emphasized learner-control and increased retention as attributes of properly produced e-Learning.

Today, however, we’re going to reverse that story. We’re going to examine the characteristics you should avoid when buying or producing e-Learning. The following items are the “no-no’s” — if you are committed to learning and retention. And, unfortunately, far too many current e-Learning offerings contain one, or many, of these to-be-avoided attributes.

1) Page-turning programs are the ultimate killer. If people want to learn by reading, a book is a far better way to go. Page-turning e-Learning courses are boring — which is why more than 60% of learners never complete such programs. Plus, 40% of our nation’s workforce does not comprehend above a 4th Grade reading level. Re-purposed written procedures and PowerPoint presentations lead the list of ineffectual e-Learning.

2) A linear instructional design will also petrify your learners. Effective e-Learning includes instructional branching as well as total learner navigational control.

3) Partial, paraphrased, or no audio will eliminate close to half of the learners assigned to an e-Learning course. As we’ve seen “Optional Full Audio” is the only way to include everyone, be they fluent or less-fluent readers.

4) Compressed video will be useless to you if your available bandwidth does not allow such fat files or if your IT management won’t allow the video to slow down the corporate network.

5) A proprietary operating system can also sound a death knell. Today, you are looking exclusively for SCORM compliant content.

6) An unfriendly user interface will turn off your learners — another big reason why more than 60% of students fail to finish such a poorly designed course. Rather, you should require a knowledgeably designed “home screen” that will allow the learner to access any feature with a single mouse click.

There you have it! It is just as important to know what constitutes the e-Learning courses you should NOT BUY as it is to know the characteristics of e-Learning courses that actually contribute to learning and retention.

More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning