2013 is here and, as trainers, it’s the right time to re-think our upcoming e-Learning initiatives — and, to analyze the effectiveness of the current ones we already have underway.

As you well know, e-Learning is touted everywhere as “the answer” — just as was videotape in the 1970s and was Interactive Laser Videodisc in the 1980s.

That “answer” exists because, in many ways (but, not all!), e-Learning potentially brings more benefits to organizations than any previous training medium.

Today, e-Learning is singularly poised to positively impact all aspects of one’s business. It is uniquely capable of making significant contributions to employees, management, and customers. With e-Learning, organizations have a learning tool that can improve attitudes, skill levels, communications and the bottom line.

How does e-Learning manage to do all this? Well, if the courseware has been instructionally designed to train (rather than to merely inform) — and, if the courseware reaches across the various individual learning styles and cultures — no other communication tool can begin to touch the potential benefits of e-Learning.

Employees can attain competency levels in less time, which leads to greater productivity. And best of all, the use of optional full audio combined with full motion video addresses the needs of all — be they fluent readers or learners who rely more on media-rich experiences.

Uniform content can be delivered consistently and, with a well-designed program, the benefits of just-in-time learning are always available. This aspect of e-Learning is especially valuable because it can double as a help desk or quick reference long after the initial formal training has taken place.

Combined with an on-line assessment tool (which will save you a ton of money), e-Learning makes significant savings in employee time-in-classroom as well as associated travel costs.

As long as your e-Learning courseware has been created by instructional designers who are familiar with multi-sensory media design, you are in good hands.

On the other hand, if your e-Learning courseware consists of converted PowerPoint and adapted written procedures, you will be doing your trainee population more harm than good. And that is because the ability to read and to assimilate that which has been converted will leave behind nearly half of your workforce.

The potential for significant increases in learning and organizational performance is here. The benefits of e-Learning can be almost limitless — but, only if you thoroughly grasp what works and what doesn’t.

Are you really ready for the learning advances that e-Learning can offer?!?

More on Tuesday – – –

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