Learning technologies (digitized CD-ROM, e-Learning, games and simulations) have hastened the development of a new business model — and, the results promise more profitability for American business and industry!

Instead of formal classroom instruction and formal learning labs, with their prescribed courseware curriculum, many of the new learning technologies have allowed a demand-based approach that has effectively replaced the “everyone takes everything at the same time” regimen.

Combined with the cost savings inherent with on-line assessment tests, the rapid development and changes in learning technology over the last decade have had a resounding impact. These technologies, coupled with the explosion of knowledge requirements in the information age, have led to the emergence of new learning modalities

However, with the recent flood of new products into the learning technologies market, customers are faced with an extensive range of programs that have been developed without assurance of quality methodologies. The challenge for developers is to ensure that their courseware is of the highest quality and achieves the intended learning outcomes — outcomes that parallel the results of the best instructor-led training and education.

Unfortunately, several misconceptions have marred the development of courseware thus far. Converted PowerPoint presentations and adapted written procedures continue to delay the promise of technology learning as a premiere training tool. And that is because too many courseware developers have regarded “learning media” as a “reading” or page-turning activity. Of course, that resultant instruction leaves behind the nearly 40% of America’s workforce which tests below a fifth grade reading level.

In striving to build a winning technology learning curriculum, many developers have also based their strategies on limiting costs or creating flash while sacrificing the basic learning principles that education/training must incorporate in order to meet the goals of adult learning.

Although the Web has been used as a tool for delivering training, the development has been more focused on the mechanics of using the Web rather than in effectively applying Web-based technology to achieving the intended learning outcomes. So it is not surprising that more than 60% of learners, who have begun an asynchronous on-line course, do not complete the training.

The many financial advantages that technology learning can offer business and industry will only be fully realized if this new courseware has sound instructional design; is based on the learning principles inherent in effective education and training; and, is offered in bite-sized chunks.

More on Thursday – – –

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