Unfortunately, many of our current practitioners of E-Learning are focused on “the process” and, no longer, on “the learner!” The result is a decline in technology instruction as a significant contributor to the would-be learner. Videotape, interactive laser videodisc, DVD and CD-ROM — all! — contributed to the advances in skills education and training. But, with E-Learning (as it is too often currently practiced) we have taken a big step backward.

The process of the technology has become the focus. We see it every day with the plethora of repurposed PowerPoints and written procedures passing themselves off as training or education. Nothing could be further from the truth!

We also see it with the emphasis on E-Learning authoring systems that advertise to the unsuspecting that any written document can be easily converted to an E-Learning platform. And, “the end-user” loses!

Today, the e-Learning designs we create should be focused on “The Learner” and on individual learning styles. We must never regard E-Learning as a reading experience! For, if we do, only a slim minority of our learners will be well served.

We must demand that our E-Learning courseware designs include optional word-for-word audio accompaniment to any written text along with full-motion video, animated graphics plus music and sound effects.

Please never forget all those potential learners we should be addressing with our instructional designs. They have grown up in a television age and learn readily from multi-sensory media designs.

As instructional designers our goal must be to serve “the many” with dynamic multi-sensory media that results in knowledgeably designed E-Learning — rather than serving just a privileged few with adapted written procedures, adapted PowerPoint presentations and twentieth century CBT designs.

Recognizing that more than 40% of our workforce are unable to acquire necessary skills from information written beyond a 4th Grade reading level, let’s cast off the current emphasis on “process” — and focus, once again, on the end-user. Multiple-media E-Learning designs can do just that!

“Education for human freedom is also education for human community. The two cannot exist without each other . . . In the end, it turns out that liberty is not about thinking or saying or doing whatever we want. It is about exercising our freedom in such a way as to make a difference in the world and make a difference for more than just ourselves.”

    Only Connect . . . The Goals of Liberal Education

by William Cronon

More on Thursday – – – – –

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