If you are responsible for the training initiatives within your organization, you’ve sure got a lot of choices. Videotape, DVD, CD-ROM and lecture/reading classes are all the older choices you can make — and, while one can make a case for the first three, the fourth (lecture/reading) is so far removed from today’s learning culture that you do your organization a disservice by even offering that approach.

However, if you are going to make training investments today that are going to commit your organization for the future, there is only one good choice to make — knowledgeably designed E-Learning — E-Learning that is designed around the multiple media elements that made Interactive Laser Videodisc and CD-ROM so effective!

We have all heard the standard E-Learning sales pitch many times — “accessible from anywhere by anybody 24×7.” However, that’s not a good enough reason to make your investment. Many organizations place the E-Learning content behind their own firewall, effectively limiting access to the E-Learning content and, therefore, canceling the primary distinguisher of E-Learning.

If that is the case, digitized CD-ROM, which can also be networked locally, is a far superior learning medium.

Except for one thing!

The future!

The skills training world is not static. Regulations are revised; operations procedures get modified; instrumentation changes; testing procedures evolve, etc.

E-Learning is the only training technology medium that can instantly adapt to that ever-changing world! Producers can make those necessary changes, usually within minutes, and make those revisions available to their customers almost instantly.

CD-ROM, videotape and print cannot do that!

Sure, all of those media are capable of being changed. But, to do so, is a costly and time-expensive process — and is, therefore, seldom done. Or, because of the expense involved, corrections are banked and, then incorporated only a couple of times a year.

The sad truth is that those changes are never made. Vendors, too often, use the rationale that says, “You bought it — You own it.”

There can be little argument made against E-Learning as the “best value” investment. If you want your training to be accurate and complete five years from now — and, not just today — E-Learning is your only value-choice.

But, not just any E-Learning will fill the bill. PowerPoint presentations adapted to the WEB, as well as adapted written procedures and text-heavy CBT are not training. At best, they give some information and, at worst, they will waste the time of your employees — which, after all, is the most expensive aspect of any training initiative.

Never forget that 40% of our workforce does not read beyond a 4th Grade level. They, like all of us, were immersed in a “television age” and have relied, almost solely, on that medium to get their news, information and opinions.

If you are truly committed to your workforce, you had better look for knowledgeably designed E-Learning that is based on multi-sensory instructional design — and, that means:

• Content that is accurate and complete.
• Work and safety practices that are correctly portrayed at all times.
• Proper instructional design elements that are always present, including:
o Multi-sensory design using optional full audio for your less fluent readers.
o Short segment learning using performance objectives.
o Minimal use of text for learning.

If your training initiatives are designed for long-term use, multi-sensory E-Learning is the only way to go! Its credibility life span is almost limitless and the costs can be annualized.

More on Thursday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning