Along with ITC’s Adam Kovic, I had the privilege of co-presenting at last week’s SALT Conference in Orlando. The title of our presentation, “Instructional Designers Have Failed E-Learning,” says it all.

In sum, too many of our current E-Learning courses are being designed by individuals who apparently have forgotten that full-motion video and optional word-for-word audio are the keys to successful learning for the majority of our population. Instead, the E-Learning courseware world is getting populated by re-purposed PowerPoint and written procedure adaptations – neither of which will successfully contribute to training or education.

Today’s e-Learning world must be viewed critically. Instructional Designers have abandoned the wonderful uses they had made of both full-motion video and optional word-for-word audio during the CD-ROM and Interactive Laser Videodisc days. They need to return to the dominant learning culture of the majority of our citizens — “TV,” as exemplified by full-motion video and full audio capability.

Moreover, knowledgeable Instructional Design must continue to be the focal point of all programs (in any medium) that are designed for learning. Because the salient characteristics of effective E-Learning design are so complex, we’ll resort to an outline method in order to achieve a somewhat full overview:

The Need for Instructional Designers
• Today unfortunately, courseware creation resides, all too often, with technical writers and programmers.
• Yet, excellent instructional design may be more important that ever.
• Full-Motion Video is the key to reaching today’s learners.
• Optional Word-for-Word Audio can become a “secret ingredient” to effective on-line learning.

Why Video/Audio are Necessary

• We’re not a “reading culture” society – maybe never were.
• Nearly 40% of America’s workforce do not read above a 4th grade level.
• Barely one-third of high school graduates are traditionally literate.

Implications for Instructional Designers

• The written words in an on-line lesson reach only a minority.
• Adapted PowerPoint & adapted written procedures are death to today’s learner.
• Hence, designers must find new ways for video and audio to bridge the gap.
• All script language must have a “to-be-heard” option.

Design Requirements for On-Line Learning

• Navigation through a lesson is simple, consistent, and intuitive.
• Instruction is meaningful and interactive.
• Adult learning characteristics are accommodated.
• Corporate management requirements are satisfied.
• Multi-Sensory Media is appropriately integrated as part of the learning experience.

Commercial End-User Requirements

• The on-line lesson provides adequate learning for the targeted audience.
• The on-line lesson “works” on intended delivery systems: Internet and intranets.

More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning