Several years ago, along with then-ITC’s Adam Kovic, I had the privilege of co-presenting at a SALT (Society of Applied Learning Technology) Conference in Orlando.  The title of our presentation was “Instructional Designers Have Failed E-Learning.”

In sum, too many of our current e-Learning courses are being designed by individuals who apparently have forgotten the keys to successful learning.  Instead, the e-Learning courseware world is populated by far too many re-purposed PowerPoint and written procedure adaptations – neither of which will successfully contribute to training or education.

Unfortunately, little has changed in these intervening years.

Too often, Instructional Designers have continued to abandon the wonderful uses they had once made of both video and optional word-for-word audio during the CD-ROM and Interactive Laser Videodisc days. 

They need to return to the dominant learning culture of the majority of our citizens — full-motion video and graphic animations, along with gaming principles and full optional audio capability. 

Moreover, knowledgeable Instructional Design must continue to be the focal point of all programs (in any medium) that are designed for learning.  Because the salient characteristics of effective e-Learning design are so complex, the following summary points will have to suffice:

The Need for Instructional Designers

  • Today, unfortunately, courseware creation resides, all too often, with technical writers and programmers.
  • Yet, excellent instructional design may be more important than ever.
  • Microlearning is replacing traditional programming as it is more effective for today’s learners.
  • Near-unlimited accessibility has become a given.

Optional Full Audio is Necessary

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

Implications for Instructional Designers

  • The written words in an on-line lesson reach only a slim majority.
  • Adapted PowerPoint & adapted written procedures are death to today’s learner.
  • Hence, designers must find new ways to bridge the gap.
  • All script language must have a “to-be-heard” option.

Design Requirements for On-Line Learning 

  • Navigation through a lesson is simple, consistent, and intuitive.
  • Instruction is meaningful and interactive.
  • Adult learning characteristics are accommodated.
  • Corporate management requirements are satisfied.
  • Multi-Sensory media is appropriately integrated as part of the learning experience.

Commercial End-User Requirements

  • The on-line lesson provides adequate learning for the targeted audience.
  • The on-line lesson works on the intended delivery systems and, where appropriate, is successfully delivered to the actual job site.

Our learning world is changing.  The pressure is on today’s Instructional Designers to adapt to that change.

More on Wednesday  –  –  –

   — Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning

March 26, 2018  (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.)