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The future of e-learning – your views


The e-learning market continues to change as training professionals adapt to the technology and vice versa. We want to know what you see in the crystal ball. Post your own comments below.

In my opinion, I foresee a good future for e-learning, but some things must change dramatically in order to get the best results:

- First, technology still has to improve a lot. Slow communications, transmission of data, images, etc. are barriers for learning. If your attention is focused on technology (i.e. technical problems), you are missing the learning message.

- Sometimes, WBT design is poor. Perhaps the designers are more interested in electronic tools, while the critical thing is -one more time- to achieve the learning objectives. Yes, the interface, buttons, sounds, etc are important, but so is the learning methodology, too!

- The social component of learning must be integrated into e-learning by enhancing the chats or forums and monitoring + feedback; in summary, interactions between participants and trainers.

- E-learning may give many solutions, but not all the solutions. There are training needs that cannot be dealed properly with e-learning. So, use it when it is a real solution to a problem, not always. Do not confuse fashion with effectiveness.

- Motivation is a key issue. E-reading (as it's often called the current e-learning) is usually boring. You don´t like to read a large amount of text on a screen; moreover, it's tiring. We have to admit that we prefer to study on paper. In fact, the worst defeat for an e-learning programme is to be printed on paper. Alternative: best design, less information, more interaction.

- And finally, a message to IT professionals: people (learners) are not PCs. You can pack a lot of knowledge on an e-learning course, but you cannot store "electronically" lots of data in people. Learning is a process that doesn´'t depend on technology; it depends on learners. Do not forget it. No matter how much "quality" you have put into your e-learning product, the real quality will be assessed by the learners (how much they will get from the course).

Xavier Bartlett
[email protected]
Training designer and editor of training newsletters in EPISE, a Spanish T&D company.

The e-learning industry has had a beating. For small organisations, the need for online training is minimal, but for larger companies, I believe the current financial climate will call for re-structuring and re-training. The merging of e-learning and online knowledge management (most likely in-house) will play a large part in keeping the just-in-time training ahead of change.

As for what I would like to see happening in e-learning ... it seems a bit of a marketing question which e-learning solutions provider should be asking constantly.

These are just my opinions and not "doctrine"

Gary Whitfield
Web Executive
Osborne Clarke

I am not so confident about it. Although I really agree that the chances are that e-learning will be more involved with business critical issues, this only mean more courses not better courses.

Top management is even more concerned about cost of training than ever and line managers do not have as much confidence in training as they do in marketing. I also do not believe in all Subject Matter Experts becoming good Instructional learning Designers, for the same reasons I have never believe that Better experts are better teachers at University.
Yours sincerely,
Joaquim Fernàndez Angelats
Director General e-learning
EPISE, Formación & Desarrollo

What do you think? Post your comments below or send them to the editor.


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