I’m sure we’re all familiar with the hype surrounding E-Learning. It is touted everywhere as “the answer” — just as was videotape in the 1970s and was Interactive Laser Videodisc in the 1980s. And, in many ways (but, not all!) E-Learning potentially brings more benefits to organizations than any previous training medium.

Today, E-Learning is singularly poised to positively impact all aspects of one’s business. It is uniquely capable of making significant contributions to employees, management, shareholders and customers. For the very first time, organizations have a learning tool that can improve attitudes, skill levels, communications and the bottom line.

How does E-Learning manage to do all this? Well, if the courseware has been instructionally designed to train (rather than to merely inform) and if the courseware reaches across the various individual learning styles and cultures (optional full audio and full motion video, where appropriate), no other communication tool can begin to touch the benefits of E-Learning.

Employees can attain competency levels in less time, which leads to greater productivity. The use of optional full audio (and full motion video, where appropriate) addresses the needs of all, be they fluent readers or learners who rely more on media-rich experiences.

E-Learning is available 24×7 (from anytime, from anywhere, and from any place with a high speed internet connection.

Uniform content can be delivered consistently and, most importantly with a well-designed program, the benefits of just-in-time learning are always available. This aspect of E-Learning is especially valuable because it can double as a help desk or quick reference long after the initial formal training has taken place.

Combined with an on-line assessment tool, E-Learning makes significant savings in employee time-in-classroom as well as associated travel costs.

As long as your E-Learning courseware has been created by instructional designers who are familiar with multi-sensory media design, you are in good hands. On the other hand, if your E-Learning courseware consists of converted PowerPoint and adapted written procedure presentations, you will be doing your trainee population more harm than good. And that is because the ability to read and to assimilate what has been converted will leave behind nearly half of your workforce.

The potential for giant increases in learning and organizational performance is here. Now you only need to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Enjoy your long weekend. More next Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning