October 1, 2014

We’ve seen a marked decline in creative instructional design from the halcyon days of Interactive Laser Videodisc (IVD) to the early days of CD-ROM training and, then, an off-the-cliff drop as we have transitioned into e-Learning.

In earlier blogs, I have pointed out that the lack of instructional branching in e-Learning designs make it more of an information medium and unworthy of the “Learning” designation. But, in addition, there is a creative aspect of effective learning that is often overlooked.

With most current E-Learning examples we see courseware that has been “engineered,” with little capability to motivate the trainee either to learn or remember. “Cookie cutter” e-Learning (repurposed PowerPoint and written procedures) abounds all around us.

Of course, with disastrous consequences. (These reading-based courses have abysmal retention results, if for no other reason then the fact that 65% of our students/trainees never complete such a “cookie cutter” e-Learning course.)

Yet, this decline of exciting, motivational technology-based instruction doesn’t have to continue. Understanding our modern learning culture and applying creative imagination to the process can do wonders.

Imagination is the single catalyst that drives creativity. One of America’s greatest scenic artists, Robert Edmond Jones, defined that process most appropriately when he wrote, “Imagination is the faculty for realization.”

In other words, one cannot create anything meaningful unless their imagination can foresee that created object or concept already realized in their own mind.

Imagination is not fantasy. Fantasy is inner-directed, while imagination lets us envision worlds outside ourselves. And, if we are all going to fully grasp today’s learning culture transition, we will only do so if we can exercise a genuine imagination, which can empower us to see into the future of learning. A future, incidentally, which will be essential to economic advancement around the globe as well as the twenty-first century means for advancing individual achievement and any resultant social harmony.

Currently, we have three learning media that cry out for imaginative, creative design: e-Learning that is designed around video and optional word-for-word audio, as well as Gaming and Simulations. At this particular moment, those are the three broad classifications of training that can actually succeed in markedly improving learning outcomes.

Gaming and Simulations have already embraced the creative imagination and learning culture awareness — so lacking in our current e-Learning examples.

Yes, the more effective training media today are found in Gaming and Simulation examples. E-Learning designs have a lot of catching up to do.

E-Learning designers need to pay attention to the common denominators: video and audio components that are imaginatively constructed for the benefit of learners who have grown up relying on television, computers, tablets and smart phones for their information and knowledge acquisition. Current e-Learning examples cannot meet that test.

More on Monday – – – – –

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