Wednesday, July 18

Down with Boring E-Learning (Interview with Dr. Michael W. Allen)

Link to article (by Ryann Ellis)

"In Michael Allen's (CEO of Allen Interactions) book, Michael Allen?s Guide to e-Learning: Building Interactive, Fun, and Effective Learning Programs for Any Company, Allen speaks out about his frustrations with today?s e-learning and brings fundamental issues to light. He also shares specific, commonsense guidelines that reliably produce effective and practical learning solutions.

What is the most misunderstood concept about e-learning?both in its current state and ideal state?

(Michael Allen) There are so very many misunderstood concepts, it?s hard to decide which is the most misunderstood. I guess it depends on one?s perspective. Let me give you a short list from several perspectives:


  • Effective e-learning is expensive. Actually, it?s poor e-learning that?s expensive. Effective e-learning can bring amazing returns and pay for itself quickly over and over again.
  • Boring e-learning is all we can afford. Actually, you can?t afford boring e-learning because it?s a total waste of time and money. You can?t learn people, they have to do the learning themselves. If they are bored, learning ceases. Your costs rise every time another learner wastes time in it.


  • It's all about content: Get all the needed information out to people. Actually, it?s all about achieving desired performance levels, and that often means narrowing content down so that you can focus on creating meaningful, memorable, motivating learning experiences.
  • We'll be successful if the e-learning is developed on time and within budget. Actually, although these measures are important, quality matters. It?s critical to measure whether the training results in needed performance change and improvement. Otherwise, you really know nothing of importance.


  • You need to start with the simplest concepts and tasks. Actually, the simplest concepts are often really boring. Learners prefer jumping into interesting tasks, then breaking them down into their components as it becomes understandably necessary.
  • Before you can challenge learners with tasks, you need to ?teach? (read ?tell?) learners how to do them. Actually, it?s much more effective, for most of the American culture at least, to present challenges first. If learners can meet the challenge, you won?t have bored them by telling them things they already know. If learners can?t meet the challenge, they can ask for help. In asking for help, learners will value the information you give them and see its relevance immediately.
  • You should give learners immediate feedback. Actually, delaying feedback as learners work through multi-step tasks is often much more effective. It entices learners to monitor their work more closely and make corrections without relying on external assessment and guidance."

Get Michael Allen?s Guide to e-Learning: Building Interactive, Fun, and Effective Learning Programs for Any Company, it is an interesting and useful guide to e-learning . Also, read this interview with Michael Allen, as he is one of the leading Gurus' of e-Learning. We can all benefit from his experiences, practices, ideas and thoughts.

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