Instructional Design has a long and successful history with media training. First with videotape — then with Laser Interactive Videodisc — and followed by CD-ROM production, designers effectively utilized all the powerful learning components afforded by media into the most effective learning lessons the world had ever known. Payback was amazing. Trainees learned faster and more successfully than at any time since the days of “ol’ Charlie” with his one-on-one hands-on instruction. And, the incorporation of full motion video led the way.

Today, the E-Learning designs we create should continue to be focused on “The Learner” and on individual learning styles. However, with some exceptions, these designs must take into account the current infrastructure limitations found in most organizations and businesses. For the moment, because of those infrastructure limitations, we must regard the Web as more like a radio extension and less as a television experience – if we want to heighten multi-sensory learning. (Conversely, we must never regard E-Learning as a reading experience! For, if we do, only a slim minority of our learners will be well served.)

In the future, as more facilities become “wired” for easy full motion video transmission, E-Learning will be treated successfully as a television experience.

At this very moment, however, the Web can be an excellent extension of those qualities that have always made radio a superb communication tool. In order to take full advantage of this radio-influenced power, we must demand that our E-Learning courseware design includes optional word-for-word audio accompaniment to the written text along with “teaching pictures,” animated graphics, plus music and sound effects.

Please never forget all those potential learners we should be addressing with our instructional designs. They have grown up in a television age and learn readily from multi-sensory media designs. To regress into a reading-based design will seriously erode the advances our earlier designers created with Videotape, Interactive Laser Videodisc and CD-ROM.

As instructional designers our goal must be to serve “the many” with dynamic multi-sensory media that results in knowledgeably designed E-Learning — rather than serving just a privileged “few” with adapted written procedures, adapted PowerPoint presentations and twentieth century CBT designs.

More on Thursday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning