Did the e-learning revolution flounder because the trainers carved it up?

by Viv on July 17, 2007

I attended a Clive Shepherd webinar today and found that one of his early slides encapsulated what I’d been reflecting upon for a while. If a training identifies that learners need some learning content, it typically goes through the following process. Of course none of the enlightened L&D professionals reading this would think so simply.

It’s a pretty flow diagram that I’ll reproduce slightly more prosaically here:

Q1. Is the content really interesting? Yes: Face to face course. No: Go to Q2
Q2. Is there a reasonable budget? Yes: Comission e-learning. No: Leave it to Nellie (informal/ on the job learning).

If this process has actually been followed by lots of organisations, and on face value it’s not unlikely, then it’s not surprising that e-learning has got bad press. The face to face trainers who dominate L&D departments have been cunning enough to act in a way that preserves the value of their skillsets i.e. send boring content into e-learning and then watch e-learning take the flak for not being able to make it interesting enough (and to choose not to put their necks out to support the necessary change management/ communication).

As a face to face trainer by background, I endorse Clive’s view that having a slanging match between e-learning and training is not productive; I’m far more interested in what actually works and gives learners a good experience. However, I do wonder what would have happened if trainers had been more generous in parceling out the interesting stuff a few years ago.

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