As practiced today, e-Learning has failed to meet the ROI requirements of business. Consequently, e-Learning is being successfully challenged by streaming video, games and simulations as training media of choice.

Why? Three major reasons.

First, because of the repurposed PowerPoints — being passed off as e-Learning. These pseudo courses are never even completed by two-thirds of the trainees assigned to take them. They are full of lots of words and information — but have little training value. Consequently, the skills needed for the shop floor are not readily acquired.

Second, e-Learning has failed to meet the ROI requirements of business.

Much of the e-Learning hype has been directed at eliminating the classroom and its attendant personnel and space requirements. This has often resulted in centralized purchasing at the headquarters level while minimizing local plant involvement in the decision making.

But what if the technology training offered is inferior to the former classroom offerings? In that case, e-Learning might actually add to the business cost if the courseware does not translate into better qualified personnel making more efficient and effective maintenance decisions when returned to the shop floor.

Thirdly, the producers of most e-Learning today are not the technology-training producers of old.

Instructional Designers, who once understood learning, created the training programs born in the earlier Interactive Laser Videodisc (IVD) and CD-ROM worlds. Today, it’s a different story. Designers-of-Learning have mostly been replaced by PowerPoint-conversion advocates and by overseas production houses which stamp out the courseware. Both pay scant attention to either learning outcomes or to the needs of the twenty-first century learner.

American business and industry is beginning to catch on since their major concern is the creation of value – value that goes far beyond the simple matter of reducing training costs. Rather, American business and industry is looking for the important corporate values of dollars saved, increased revenues and market position improvement. And most current e-Learning does not meet that test.

E-Learning — as a technology is capable — but, to be effective, that means taking into account the learning styles of the modern workforce and the just-in-time user-controlled capabilities of knowledgeably designed instruction. Only then will e-Learning make significant contributions to the “business values model.”

More on Thursday – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder
ITC Learning