With the advent of CD-ROM instruction a couple of decades ago, we had a training-delivery system that had efficiency limitations. One either had to buy a zillion copies in order to distribute them to all involved or commit to a Learning Center concept. Since labor costs are always the single biggest training expenditure, we had a relatively inefficient system — plus one that did not have the learning-value compensations of “one-on-one” instruction.

What original CD-ROM instruction did have, however, was the power of rich multimedia learning (all too often missing from today’s E-Learning courseware). Brilliant video that allowed trainees to practice, vicariously, the procedures so necessary to their job descriptions. CD-ROM training was not full simulation but it was the closest thing to it. Plus, it was affordable and was readily distributable.

Today, the unique power of full-motion learning is now achievable in a CD-ROM E-Learning environment. Any organization with a training dedicated LAN can seamlessly present to its workforce unique multimedia training at a fraction of the cost of the original multi-copy CD-ROM training. And, what’s more, there are no physical CDs involved — it’s all digitized!

Best of all, digitized CD-ROM E-Learning is vastly superior to most of the reading-based E-Learning courseware that is available today!

So, if you choose to go the digitized CD-ROM E-Learning route, what should you expect from the courseware you purchase?

First of all, it should be a complete training system, providing everything needed to run a comprehensive training program, including: pre-tests, lesson menus, short teaching segments, simulations, and post-tests.

The courseware design should be so easy to use that trainees can access courses readily. The performance objectives must be clearly stated so that the trainee can understand exactly what is being taught. Integral should be an administrative and report-generating capability.

The learning should be individually paced with trainees controlling their own path through the lesson. They should be free at any time to skip over material they already understand, or repeat any portions for better comprehension. And when a question is answered incorrectly, extra instruction should be provided to ensure that the trainee understands the material, before proceeding.

With well-designed digitized CD-ROM training, learning takes place through interaction and involvement with the multimedia presentation. Even trainees with poor reading skills can learn effectively from this medium, which is seldom the case with much of what passes for current E-Learning offerings.

The instructional design should be based on short segments and trainees must demonstrate that they understand each concept before moving on to the next. Feedback should be immediate and the information presented should be, “need to know.”

The training should be conveyed though realistic video in a realistic job environment so that it is easy for the trainees to transfer the information from the screen to the job.

The design of effective digitized CD-ROM E-Learning is based on the principle that, “people first learn by seeing, in real time, the skills being performed. Then, they practice performing those skills via interactive simulations in order to fortify what they have learned. Finally, their knowledge is tested, again via interactive simulations of the real-world activity. This constant practice helps increase learning and the ultimate job performance.”

Today, it is definitely an E-Learning training world. And, digitized CD-ROM E-Learning is today’s best-of-the-best. It has a lot to offer — particularly when compared to much of the junk that is currently being passed off as E-Learning.

We’ve learned how to teach an old dog some new tricks — and, the result gives you the best training option available today.

More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning