Many times, in previous posts, we’ve looked at the salient characteristics of well designed E-Learning. Today, however, we’re going to reverse that story. We’re going to examine the characteristics you should avoid when buying or producing E-Learning. The following items are the “No-Nos” — if you are committed to learning and retention. (Unfortunately, far too many current E-Learning offerings contain one, or several, of these to-be-avoided attributes.):

• Page-turning programs are the ultimate killer. If people want to learn by reading, a book is a far better way to go. Page-turning E-Learning courses are boring — which is why more than 65% of learners never complete such programs. Plus, never forget that 40% of our nation’s workforce does not comprehend above a 4th Grade reading level. (Re-purposed written procedures and PowerPoint presentations lead the list of reading-based, ineffectual E-Learning programs.)

• A linear instructional design will also turn off your learners. Effective E-Learning includes instructional branching as well as individual learner navigational control. (Again, re-purposed PowerPoint presentations — almost always linear — lead the way in this non-effective category.)

• Partial, paraphrased, or no audio will eliminate close to half of the learners assigned to an E-Learning course. As we’ve seen “Optional Word-for-Word Audio” is the only way to include everyone — be they fluent or less-fluent readers.

• An unfriendly user interface will turn off your learners — another big reason why more than 60% of trainees fail to finish such a poorly designed course. Rather, you should require a knowledgeably designed “home screen” that will allow the learner to access any feature with a single mouse click.

There you have it! It is just as important to know what constitutes the E-Learning courses you should neither build nor buy as it is to recognize the characteristics of the E-Learning courses that actually contribute to learning and retention.

You’re interested in results — and, those results will be measured on the plant floor through increased skills and better task performance. Make sure your E-Learning courseware contributes to that environment.

More on Tuesday – – –

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