August 18, 2014

Five days ago I was privileged to witness a dynamic keynote at the SALT Conference in Reston, Virginia. The presenter was Glenn Bull, Founder and CEO of Skilitics, “ . . . the creators of the world’s first adaptive training development platform designed for building measurable learning content. “

The agenda description of Glenn’s remarks reads: “ While other industries have leveraged technological advances and surged ahead, the training industry has faltered. Many training leaders, who entered the industry with a passion for teaching or utilizing the benefits of technology to improve how we learn, have become frustrated at the lack of progress. The solution to overcoming our broken industry is complex and challenges many of the pillars we’ve built our industry on. In a lively session without jargon, Glenn will break down the complexities of our current situation, identify the barriers impeding our progress and outline the inevitable disruption that lies ahead of us. . . . “

I will also refer you to a short video clip, included in his presentation, which I think you will find most informative: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbYrZBrzSM0

For almost twenty-five years I have been waiting for someone to recognize the damage that the twin digital technologies of CD-ROM (with its near-linear designs) —- and, especially, e-Learning —- have done to the learning advances we first saw with analog Interactive Laser Videodisc (IVD), three decades ago.

The newer digital platforms threw out the educators and replaced them with the technocrats and the do-it-yourselfers. The LMS and the generic authoring platforms became the rage and, consequently, learning suffered. ( Did you know that, annually, 47.5% of the larger organizations who own an LMS replace it with another LMS that, again, does not provide them with the business analytics they need? On the other hand, those of us in industrial skills training are more fortunate as we have long been able to track measurables such as reduced downtime and reduced scrap. )

Well, Mr. Bull gets it! He’s onto something big! Something that will improve learning and, in our case, on-the-job skills training!

Let’s stop beating around the bush! Today’s “e-Learning craze” is confusing the learning-picture for many trainers and corporate executives!

Most current e-Learning is garbage! It reflects the oldest and least effective of the technology training solutions ( i.e., CBT of the early 1980’s, when we were using our first computers to emulate books ). So it is today when e-Learning examples are nothing other than re-purposed PowerPoint and written procedure adaptations.

The amazing learning advances pioneered by IVD creators have been cast aside by most e-Learning producers. A return to “learn by reading” has re-surfaced and, as we know by now, that will leave the majority of our workforce stranded.

Individual pathing, which truly allowed the trainee to learn through understanding, was the key. Combined with full-motion, full-audio capability and graphic simulations, trainees were able to not only watch real procedures performed in real time on real equipment by real workers —- through a series of branching, they were also able to travel through a lesson designed for their individual needs.

The goal of teaching a skill to an employee is to improve the employee’s on-the-job performance. IVD did just that and, most importantly, if Glenn Bull is correct ( and I earnestly hope he is ), skills training is about to, once again, focus on learning and not on the technology.

( You should also keep your eye on the evolution taking place in “Performance Support,” an idea first advocated by Gloria Gery more than twenty years ago. It’s going to become a big part of this new learning revolution. )

More on Wednesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning
www.itclearning.com/blog/ (Mondays & Wednesdays)