As more and more companies and government agencies continue to adopt e-Learning for much of their training, a major new development effort needs to keep pace by marrying the best of instructional design with the power of on-line learning.

Appropriate content, communicative design, integral multi-sensory media components, and recognition of varying facility IT environments will, eventually, become the winning combination for e-Learning.

This new courseware must be designed for “Learning Excellence.” Consideration must be given to multiple learning styles, learner control, engaging activities, retention practices, comprehensive assessment mechanisms, feedback prompting — and, all of this packaged into short modularized lessons.

These courses should incorporate animation, graphics, optional full audio and interactive exercises to augment and intensify the entire learning experience.

(Most significantly, as more and more facilities continue to upgrade their internal networking infrastructure, video will become the most important tool-for-learning in the designer’s arsenal. When video is incorporated, e-Learning will finally become a training medium that will rival the best that CD-ROM and Laser Interactive Videodisc ever offered.)

The best in e-Learning will also have a pretest, final and practice exercises. Each course will consist of several short (5-10 minutes) topic modules and the entire lesson will be designed for the average learner to complete in 30-40 minutes. (Acknowledging the short time limits associated with concentration will allow retention to be enhanced — which is the ultimate purpose of any learning activity.)

Today, accessing e-Learning from the web — regardless of facility-limited infrastructure — allows you to access well designed courseware (minus the full motion video). Inside the firewall — with sufficient internal infrastructure — you’ve got two choices: networked, digitized CD-ROM (today’s best choice for learning) and partial-screen video incorporated into an e-Learning medium.

Tomorrow, it will be even better. And, best of all — soon we can drive out the e-Learning imposters: adapted PowerPoint presentations and adapted written procedures (the enemies of learning and retention).

Stay tuned!

More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning