March 10, 2014

The arguments over “best learning medium,” that readily ensue when training professionals get together, are becoming commercially meaningless today.


Because most large, and many medium-size, companies have already decided the issue. For a variety of reasons, these corporations have chosen “e-Learning” as the training medium of choice — and, that’s that!

And, as trainers, we should not fret too long over that decision. Technology continues to evolve and the full motion advantages of video-based CD-ROM will soon become readily available in well-designed e-Learning. In the meantime, avoid those reading-based choices passing themselves off as “learning.” At best, word-heavy courseware is e-Information and the antithesis of effective skills training.

In the meantime, it is important to understand the learning necessities that are currently integral to knowledgeably designed e-Learning:

  • Optional Word-for-Word Audio accompanying Full Motion Video
  • User-Designed Interface for Navigation-Ease
  • Meaningful and Interactive Content
  • Short Modular Lessons
  • Efficient Sentence Use per Screen
  • Content Accuracy
  • Integrated “Help” and “Glossary” Functions
  • Subject Appropriate Instructional Design
  • Doubles as a “Just-In-Time” Tool After the Initial Training

Those are the design characteristics you should be looking for as you search through your e-Learning choices. The very best courses will have them all.

Unfortunately, today you have only a few training vendors that understand “learning and learners.” Look for those few before you choose a random title off a web page description. And, above all, avoid those adapted PowerPoint and written procedures that are being passed off as e-Learning from vendors that understand very little about the subject we all care about — “learning and learners.”

Most of these counterfeit training vendors are the larger ones (larger, primarily because they simply converted their existing materials, rather than taking the more expensive route of designing for the new e-Learning medium). But, they’ll be gone soon. As soon as your corporate leaders understand that e-Information is not on-the-job learning. It is both boring and incapable of providing the skills training your employees need.

You know, as I do, that to learn a skill one must “practice the doing” in a simulated manner. And, that is where the future of e-Learning is thankfully headed. We shouldn’t have to wait too long.

More on Wednesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning