I am about to complete four decades of working in the training technology arena. Having lived through the earliest years of industrial videotape training – with a camera in my hands –- an engineer to provide content and very loose scripting –- and a two-inch reel-to-reel (“black and white”) mastering machine — the evolution in Learning Technologies today is awesome.

I was also one of the early pioneers in the giant instructional design steps that Interactive Laser-Videodisc first offered the worlds of education and training. And, later, I participated in the smaller steps afforded by our earliest digital conversions to CD-ROM.

Most exciting of all, however, has been the steady adoption of technology training solutions by America’s business community. Today, with the emergence of E-Learning, business and industrial corporations are making significant investments in the many advantages offered by multi-sensory training.

Yes, there are still some “covered wagon” holdouts — organizations that stubbornly hold onto the old lecture/textbook classroom instruction. Fortunately, there are fewer and fewer of those organizations that remain blind to the fact that close to half of our workers do not read above a 4th Grade level.

So, what force separates the winners from the losers in today’s marketplace?

The same force that has shaped survivors throughout history — change!

Since the beginning of time, it has been those who have learned to control change who have prospered.

A successful company needs managers and planners who can see the potential of the changes taking place around the organization — and, then, utilize that potential toward meeting company goals.

And, a successful company needs skilled employees at many levels to implement changes, operate new technologies, and keep systems operating.

There is no longer a question of whether to train. Today, the question is how to provide training that is both effective and efficient. And, all the answers point toward the use of multi-sensory learning (built around full-motion video and optional word-for-word audio) as the centerpiece in effective instruction.

Training should be results-oriented. It starts with a company’s goals and works through the organization to define and construct a system that delivers the desired results.

Selecting a quality training program requires both a knowledge of content and an understanding of how to communicate that content to a workforce that has grown up in a media-based learning culture. If it’s not multi-sensory based, you’re missing the window of opportunity.

As we noted in the first paragraph, technology training has evolved and the result has been a renewed focus on learning rather than on an insistence to remain wedded to the old lecture/reading classroom instruction. What works now is dramatically different than what most of us encountered when we began our own education many years ago.

Ignore these changes occurring in our new learning culture at your peril.

More on Thursday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning