April 14, 2014

E-Learning has a critical need for Instructional Designers today — designers who understand the unique potential of the medium.

Currently, e-Learning is not part of the videotape/videodisc/CD-ROM continuum. No — at the present time, e-Learning courseware creation resides with the technical writers and programmers. And that, unfortunately, gives us the garbage we see today with converted PowerPoint presentations and converted written procedures which results in an on-line experience that turns off most of our trainees (nearly 70% never complete such counterfeit programs).

Yet knowledgeable instructional design is more important than ever. Full motion video and animations, so fundamental to Interactive Laser Videodisc and CD-ROM, must also become the basis for e-Learning creation.

Accompanying the visual roots of effective technology training design, today’s designers need to include optional word-for-word audio because:

• We’re not a “reading culture” society any more – maybe never were.
• Nearly 40% of America’s workforce does not assimilate anything they read that is written above a 4th grade reading level.
• Barely one-third of our high school graduates are traditionally literate.

The implications for Instructional Designers are several:

• The written words in an online lesson reach only a minority.
• Hence, designers must find new ways for audio to bridge the gap.
• All script language must have a “to-be-heard” option.

There are other important design requirements for online learning:

• Navigation through a lesson is simple, consistent, and intuitive.
• Instruction is meaningful and interactive.
• Adult learning characteristics are accommodated.
• Management requirements are satisfied.
• Media is appropriately integrated as part of the learning experience.

And, as always, there are key commercial end-user requirements:

• The online lesson provides adequate learning for the targeted audience.
• The online lesson “works” on the intended delivery systems: either Internet or intranet.
• Both the LMS and the on-line courses are SCORM compliant.

Above all other considerations, e-Learning’s instructional designers must base their conceptions on full motion video, animations, simulations, or gaming. That’s where the learning is going to occur. And, that’s where long term retention and new skills acquisition resides.

More on Wednesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning