The evolution of new learning technology adaptation has always been delayed by the do-it-yourselfers. I first saw it with the introduction of videotape training in the 1970s. “Just give an amateur employee a camera and he, too, can create a meaningful training experience.”

Wrong !!!

In the 1980s, the same misguided conclusions were reached when the CBT and CD-ROM technologies first appeared. Only Interactive Laser Videodisc (IVD) training skipped the intrusion of the well-intentioned crowd of do-it-yourselfers. And, that is only because too much hardware was required. (Is it just coincidence that the best computer-based training programs ever created came during that short history of IVD?)

Today, with the advent of E-Learning, there is too much fascination with authoring software technology. “Do it yourself, and while you’re doing it, do it our way using our latest and greatest PowerPoint conversion software,” is shouted out loudly by each and every E-Learning authoring software manufacturer.

Authoring software providers would like us to believe that their do-it-yourself authoring systems are the magic wands necessary to improved information flow, training, and education.

They may be right about better information flow. The newer digital technologies are certainly a boon to information storage and retrieval.

But they could not be more wrong when it comes to making an immediate impact on education and training. Take your choice. Teaching is either an art or a highly developed skill. Few people can teach well. And, since it follows that few people can create effective instruction, few multisensory media programs will ever teach well. The presumption that just anyone can design an effective training or education program is not only flawed — it is dangerous.

And, particularly so when the many useless PowerPoint or written procedure
conversions become the end product. E-Learning they are not — and, will never be.

Learning is not merely memorization of information. Learning is the mental response to informational stimulation, which turns into reflection and new awareness. Meaningful learning initiates action and change, which results in heightened values and skills.

Few of us are professionally successful inventors, mathematicians, chefs, athletes, writers, etc. Does it not stand to reason that few can be creators of sound technology-based instruction — creators of programs that can actually teach so that the users can actually learn? And that written-in-stone conclusion is why the “do-it-yourself” purveyors will fail.

And, we should all applaud when they do. For then we can all move forward realizing the promise of technology-provided education and training.

More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning (Tuesdays & Thursdays)