Unfortunately, Instructional Design has become more of an engineering function these days.  Too often, design-for-learning has been replaced by a design-for-information approach.  And, when that happens, we all lose.  E-Learning courses become a memorization activity instead of delivering the skills-acquisition benefits our American workforce needs.

With that in mind, the following five essential requirements will give you an outline of attributes you should find in E-Learning courses that are designed for skills-acquisition and retention:


1)  Navigation through a lesson is simple, consistent and intuitive:

  • The graphic interface (GUI) is attractive, inviting and meaningful.
  • The components for learning appear in a consistent and logical location.
  • The components for learning are always visible to the user and accessible with a single click of the mouse.
  • Individual segments of instruction appear on one screen without the need for scrolling.

    2)  Instruction is meaningful and interactive:

  • Lesson content is subdivided into meaningful topics.
  • Instructional information flows logically from one screen to the next.
  • Embedded practice with supportive feedback enhances both learning and learner confidence.
  • Assessments, prior to and after instruction, are integral components within the learning environment.

    3)  Adult learning characteristics are accommodated:

  • Learners have control within a non-linear learning environment.
  • Instructional content is meaningful and relevant to the learner.
  • Concrete examples are used to support learning.
  • The lesson content is structured to accommodate learner time constraints.

    4)  Media is integral to the learning experience:

  • Full motion video or high definition visuals occur on all instructional screens.
  • Optional Word-for-Word Audio narration accompanies all text.
  • Individual screen text is limited to short sentences and, whenever possible, directed to a 4th Grade reading level.
  • When appropriate, special sound effects are integrated within the instructional environment.

    5)  Administrator management requirements are satisfied:

  • The on-line lesson provides adequate learning for the targeted audience.
  • The on-line lesson “works” on the intended delivery systems, be they internet-access or internal networks.
  • The on-line lesson is SCORM compliant.

    There you have it:  a short outline of the salient characteristics found in meaningful E-Learning design.  In sum, you should be looking for E-Learning courseware that can deliver skills acquisition to your trainees.  Simply presenting information will not accomplish that goal.  You should be selecting those courses that will increase on-the-job performance by enhancing each worker’s learning and retention.


    More on Tuesday – – –

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