E-Learning has hastened the development of a new business model — and, the results promise more profitability for American business and industry!

Instead of formal classroom instruction and formal learning labs, with their prescribed media courseware curriculum, E-Learning has allowed a demand-based approach that has effectively replaced the “everyone takes everything at the same time” regimen.

Combined with the cost savings inherent in on-line assessment tests, the rapid development and changes in technology over the last decade has had a resounding impact on the learning industry. Technology, coupled with the explosion of knowledge requirements in the information age, has led to the emergence of a new learning modality — E-Learning!

However, with the recent flood of new products into the E-Learning market, customers are faced with an extensive range of programs that have been developed without assurance of quality methodologies. The challenge for E-Learning courseware developers is to ensure that their E-Learning courses are of the highest quality and achieve the intended learning outcomes that parallel the results of the best instructor-led training and education today.

Unfortunately, several misconceptions have marred the development of E-earning thus far. Converted PowerPoint presentations and adapted written procedures continue to delay the promise of E-Learning as a premiere training tool. And that is because too many courseware developers have regarded the E-Learning medium as a “reading” or page-turning activity. Of course, that resultant instruction leaves behind the nearly 40% of America’s workforce which tests below a fifth grade reading level.

In addition, some early E-Learning instruction has been driven by “technocrats” who have failed to recognize the IT infrastructures and delivery capabilities within most of America’s process and manufacturing facilities.

In striving to build a winning E-Learning curriculum, many developers have also based their strategies on limiting costs or creating flash while sacrificing the basic learning principles that education/training should incorporate in order to meet the goals of adult learning. Although the Web has been used as a tool for delivering training, the development has been more focused on the mechanics of using the Web rather than in effectively applying Web-based technology to achieving the intended learning outcomes. So it is not surprising that more than 50% of learners, who have begun an asynchronous on-line course, do not complete the training.

The many financial advantages that E-Learning can offer business and industry will only be fully realized if this new courseware has sound instructional design; is based on the learning principles inherent in full motion video and optional word-for-word audio; while being offered in bite-sized chunks.

More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning