May 2, 2016

Learning is not merely memorization of information.  Learning is the mental response to informational stimulation, which turns into reflection and new awareness.  Meaningful learning initiates action and change, which results in heightened values and skills.

So, why has e-Learning failed in its quest to become meaningful?

It’s easy to spot e-learning courses that don’t measure up to current standards. These products are a black eye to the e-learning industry which is already struggling for credibility and resources.  .  .  .

 Typical symptoms of bad e-learning courses include poor navigation structure; inappropriate graphics, animation, and interaction; content that lacks chunking; and buried or hidden content.  Due to an organization’s rush to use e-learning, instructor-led training materials are often hastily converted using an HTML authoring tool.  (“From E-Learning Failure to E-Learning Redemption” by Ed Mayberry in ATD Publications)

There is no doubt that the e-Learning returns have been mixed  —- at best.  More than two-thirds of e-Learners do not complete the courses they are assigned.  Retention levels of those same e-Learners are far behind the retention levels of those trainees who, in prior years, participated in CD-ROM or Interactive Laser Videodisc (IVD) instruction.


Today, the e-Learning marketplace is littered with examples that fail to address the learning needs of our trainees.  Adapted PowerPoint presentations; adapted written procedures; “slide” shows without audio and, worst of all words, words, words on almost every screen!

Very few individuals will learn anything from such learning imposters.  They are titles without substance.  And, they are worthless exercises in boredom for the trainees.

So, what does work?  What should you expect from e-Learning?

In addition to content accuracy, you should be looking for instructional design that is centered on multisensory media components for its communication.  And, that means full-motion video, sophisticated graphic animations, gaming techniques and optional word-for-word audio.  That’s the “learning language” of today — and, the quicker you get on-board, the better will be your results.

If every learning event is in some way a conversation, doesn’t it make sense to root those events in the learning culture of your trainees?  And, today, that culture is inexorably tied to computers, smartphones, and tablets.

Only when we anchor our instructional designs to full motion video, animations and optional word-for-word audio will e-Learning actually become meaningful.

More on Wednesday –  –  –

     — Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning  (Mondays & Wednesdays)

 (This is a personal blog.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner,, an independent consultant.  They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)