September 14, 2016

As more and more organizations continue to adopt e-Learning for much of their training, a major new development effort needs to keep pace by marrying the best of instructional design with the power of online learning.

Appropriate content, communicative design, integral multi-sensory media components, and recognition of varying facility IT environments will, eventually, become the winning combination for e-Learning.

This new courseware must be designed for “Learning Excellence.”  Consideration must be given to multiple learning styles, learner control, engaging activities, retention practices, comprehensive assessment mechanisms, feedback prompting — and, all of this packaged into short modularized lessons.

These courses should incorporate full motion video, animations, graphics, optional full audio and interactive learner-involvement to augment and intensify the entire learning experience.

In addition, acknowledging the short time limits associated with concentration will allow retention to be enhanced — which is the ultimate purpose of any learning activity:

“.  .  . The science for reduced attention spans is increasingly solid. A 2015 report by Microsoft Canada, using information from National Center for Biotechnology Information, describes a collapse in attention span from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds, by 2013. This is particularly important when engaging younger employees which, as researchers Dr Carina Schofield and Sue Honoré explored, have lower boredom thresholds and shorter attention spans. .  .  .

 Interactivity is also central, and increases attention spans significantly.  .  .  .

 The reasoning behind extensive, and less interesting, training programmes are multi-layered. Partially the issue lies with the customer which has long favoured the long-standing, and laborious, click-and-read style training, despite the increased content required in E-learning programmes. Additionally the cheapness of producing low-stimuli long-form content allows cheaper training packages to be offered to customers, cementing less innovative companies in the market.

 This problem is worsened by a tendency for buyers to focus on the scale of the package, particularly when considering value for money, without adequate attention paid to the impact on workplace productivity.  .  .  .”  (“The problem with e-learning and attention spans” by Alex Johnston, Procurement Leaders, February, 2016)

All of these attributes can make e-Learning the contributor it is capable of being.  We just need to demand of our suppliers and ourselves adherence to making e-Learning worthy of its name.

Stay tuned!

More on Monday –  –  –

       — 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.)