e-LEARNING: A Sometime Charlatan

In the article, “From E-Learning Failure to E-Learning Redemption,” Ed Mayberry has a paragraph that nicely sums up the problems with e-Learning — that still exist today:

Typical symptoms of bad e-learning courses include poor navigation structure; inappropriate graphics, animation, and interaction; content that lacks chunking; and buried or hidden content. Due to an organization’s rush to use e-learning, instructor-led training materials are often hastily converted using an HTML authoring tool.

There is no doubt that the e-Learning returns have been mixed. Two-thirds of e-Learners do not complete the courses they are assigned. Retention levels of those same e-Learners are far behind the retention levels of those trainees who, in prior years, participated in CD-ROM or Interactive Laser Videodisc (IVD) instruction.

Yes, e-Learning has cheated would-be learners far too many times!


Today, the e-Learning marketplace is littered with examples that fail to address the learning needs of our trainees. Adapted PowerPoint presentations; adapted written procedures; “slide” shows without audio; — all of which result in words, words, words on almost every screen!

Very few individuals will learn anything from such e-Learning imposters. They are titles without substance. And, they are worthless exercises in boredom for the trainees.

So, what does work?

We know that the latent benefits of properly designed e-Learning offer learning advantages unknown before in the training world. Unlike other training choices, we know that e-Learning is available 24×7 to everyone, from everywhere. We know that e-Learning can be the most cost effective learning tool available. And, we know that effectively designed e-Learning can speak in the language of today’s learners.

What should you be looking for when challenged with developing a new training initiative for your organization?

In addition to content accuracy, you should be looking for instructional design that is centered on multisensory media components for its communication. And, that means full-motion video and optional word-for-word audio. That’s the “learning language” of today — and, the quicker we get on-board, the better will be the results!

If every learning event is in some way a conversation, doesn’t it make sense to root those events in the learning culture of your trainees? And, today, that culture is based on the television and gaming media. Only when we anchor our instructional designs to full motion video and optional word-for-word audio will the promise of e-Learning be fully realized.

More on Tuesday – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder
ITC Learning

www.itclearning.com/blog/ (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
e-Mail: bwalton@itclearning.com