In training conferences and meetings throughout the country, the arguments over “best learning medium” are becoming commercially meaningless today.


Because most large, and many medium-size, companies have already decided the issue. For a variety of reasons, these corporations have chosen “E-Learning” as the training medium of choice — and, that’s that!

The efficiencies born out of “anytime/anywhere,” reduced travel, and labor savings have all pointed in one direction — E-Learning. The learning advantages of full motion CD-ROM are no longer sufficient to override the significant cost/benefit edge that belongs exclusively to E-Learning.

And yet, as trainers, we are wise enough to recognize that the majority of E-Learning choices available today are inferior to the technology choices we had available during the days of CD-ROM and Interactive Laser Videodisc.

The counterfeit E-Learning programs include those that are repurposed PowerPoint and converted written procedures. Why? Well, as we all know by now, nearly half of our workforce does not assimilate material written above a 4th Grade reading level.

No! Today’s “learning culture” is rooted in television and the video we access through our computers.

So, what must we look for when developing or purchasing E-Learning? What choices will actually result in increased skills acquisition?

The answer lies in “knowledgeably designed E-Learning” and the learning necessities that should accompany that medium:

• Optional Word-for-Word Audio Capability
• Rooted in Full-Motion Video
• User-Designed Interface for Navigation-Ease
• Meaningful and Interactive Content
• Short Modular Lessons
• Efficient Sentence Use per Screen
• Content Accuracy
• Integrated “Help” and “Glossary” Functions
• Subject-Appropriate Instructional Design
• Doubles as a “Just-In-Time” Tool After the Initial Training

Those are the design characteristics you should be looking for today as you search through your E-Learning choices. The very best courses will have them all.

Tomorrow will come. But, today you have only a few training vendors that understand “learning and learners.” Look for them before you choose a random title off a web page description. And, above all, avoid those adapted PowerPoint and written procedures that are being passed off as E-Learning from vendors that understand very little about the subject we all care about — “learning and learners.”

Unfortunately, many of the vendors marketing counterfeit E-Learning are the larger ones (larger, primarily because they simply converted their existing materials, rather than taking the more expensive route of designing for the new E-Learning medium). But, they’ll be gone soon. As soon as your corporate bosses understand, as you now do so well, that E-Information is not training. It is both boring and useless.

You know, as I do, that to learn a skill one must “practice doing” in a simulated manner. And, that is where the future of E-Learning is thankfully headed. More power to you and to all true training professionals!

More on Thursday – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning
www.itclearning.com/blog/ (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
e-Mail: bwalton@itclearning.com