Monday, 20 October 2008

Same old story says Clive

Clive Shepherd has posted on the continuing failure of many organisations to harness the benefits of e-learning:

...a large government department, had initiated a major e-learning programme, but the response had been disappointing. "I bet I can guess why," I said. "Really?" she said, "Do tell me." This was my guess:
  • the e-learning was entirely self-study;
  • the e-learning was unsupported;
  • the content was largely textual and uninspiring.

"How did you guess?" she said. "Easy," I said, "that's always the problem."

I agree with Clive's weary tone.

There are still far too many e-learning initiatives which flounder because of a simplistic view that transferring learning content from one medium to another is sufficient.

Of course it needs support (so does classroom), of course it needs to be engagingly designed and instructionally sound (so does classroom) and of course it needs to be multimodal (that means sensibly deploy a range of media, online, offline, interactive, human) to generate a learning experience that effectively segues into the desired performance in the workplace.

A lot of e-learning projects brutally expose the lack of fundamental design thinking. In many respects this at least is a positive step forward as it is harder for organisations to continue hiding behind a thin veil of training activity that is clearly ineffective, costly, variable in its presentational quality and unsupported once back in the job.

A more holistic approach to design (that includes communication, performance support as well as the learning experience itself) and collaborative partnership with e-learning expertise would pay dividends. As does a focus on learning as an ongoing process rather than a defined event (with an arbitrary deadline).

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