Imagine a system where learners meet clearly stated, performance-oriented goals, acquiring skills and knowledge that are relevant to real-life problems. In this system, designed to enable high performance, learners of all levels meet the objectives with the aid of flexible programs that accommodate varied learning styles and abilities. Learners leave the system with all the skills needed to become a world-class workforce that can respond to changing consumer tastes.

Think the system described is a well-designed training program for a large, progressive company with a serious commitment to media-based learning?


It can be the face of American education — but only if we take seriously the very real needs of education, including current education reform movements and trends in public policy.

Education is poised to borrow heavily from the media-based training industry — but not until it can reverse its current emphasis on rote learning — while refocusing, once again, on understanding and retention (the qualities that will pay lifelong dividends) .

Brought to the forefront by the highly competitive global economy, the changes afoot in education can result in both opportunities and responsibilities for multi-sensory learning.

To accomplish this, we must first acknowledge that effective multi-sensory learning has always been a designer’s medium. It has never been an evolving electronic gadgetry world. Instead, it has been developed and used as yet another communication tool for efficiently transferring skills and knowledge — just as the written word and printed text have been in the hands of talented master teachers.

Media-based learning does indeed offer the world the best educational and training tools we have ever known. If applications producers treat knowledgeably-designed media as another communication tool that can deliver effective learning and retention (which also happens to be multi-sensory, measurable and more consistent), learning wins — without being sacrificed on the altar of technological whim.

Designers have an ethical responsibility to lead the industry by studying master mentors’ methods for engaging learning. While, at the same time, the designers must communicate with the learner’s senses through the effective application of video and optional full audio — essential in a nation with so many less-than-fluent readers!

More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning