Let’s continue looking into the eLeanringManifesto.org which I started blogging about previously. What happened when four industry leading professionals talked about ways to improve the state of eLearning? The “instigators” of the manifesto are Michael Allen, Julie Dirksen, Clark Quinn, and Will Thalheimer. We are so privileged that this amazing group of professionals in the field of Instructional Design and eLearning banded together to cause some “disruption” to the current state of eLearning.
Today I would like to look into what Julie mentions in terms of how deep the problem of “typical eLearning” really is. This is learning that is classified as: content focused, efficient for authors, attendance-driven, knowledge delivery, fact testing, one size fits all, one-time events, and didactic feedback. I discussed these more fully in a previous posting, eLearning Manifesto: The current way of eLearning doesn’t add up to a “serious” effort for the designer or the student.
Julie reminds us of something that Jane Bozarth often mentions, “How many of us would actually want to take the eLearning that we actually create?” Can we take a dose of our own medicine? Such a great question that we should reflect on after every project. I agree with Julie that eLearning isn’t always the best solution to get the learners to perform to the desired level of standard. In a in a recent post, I had a great follow up response to a post I made recently, Why do we need to know the hottest eLearning trends? Why not innovate learning with what we already have? by Barry E. Altland who is the manager of Learning and Organizational Development at Community Health Centers in Florida.
Yes, the bells and whistles of organizational learning are largely failing us. The more technology gets introduced, the more we tend to rely on it as THE solution to all things potentially fixable.
e-Learning has long been a burr in the profession’s saddle, as an example. In many cases, the completion of an e-Learning module has devolved into a “check the box” activity that has little to no impact on organizational, team or individual performance outcomes. It has, in many uses, become a slightly fancier e-mail.
I know this perspective will make many ISD folks bristle, for they feel that what they produce is changing the world. It has not. e-Learning tends to have a virtual absence of “affective” content, one that touches the heart, and inspires people to perform in more meaningful ways.
In this aspect, e-Learning or Khan Academy or YouTube or a MOOC will likely never replace live learning.
As you can see, Barry still feels like there is a significant gap in what we intend with the typical eLearning experience and what is actually needed to “touch the heart and inspires people to perform in more meaningful ways.” But yes, Bill. Us ISD folks do “bristle” because we know that we can change the world and there are ways to train learners to perform in eLearning. With the right designer and design and attesting to the manifesto the possibilities are limitless. Extreme I know. But I will say that eLearning can’t be a substitute for hands on practicums, assistantships, apprenticeships, etc. eLearning can only go so far with training heart surgeons.
What do you think? Would you want to take your eLearning? Is there anything that can’t be taught through eLearning experiences?
In an upcoming post I will discuss some of Julie’s thoughts about why out typical eLearning of today hasn’t changed much since we started with it in the early 90s.