e-learning fails to walk the talk?

by Viv on December 18, 2007

December’s TJ has an article highlighting the importance of supervision for coaches as part of their continuing professional development. A survey of coaches by Hawkins and Schwenk showed that whilst 86% of coaches thought that supervision was important, only 44% were in regular coaching supervision. I like the delicious irony that approximately half the coaches who thought supervision was a good idea had failed to get round to it…clearly some barriers that they need coaching around.

But there’s an even more startling finding from the e-learning guild about e-learning practitioners.

In the posting Corporate eLearning’s Dirty little Secret, the results from a survey of instructional designers and developers show that using web-based training to learn about how to use authoring tools is the least popular method of learning. The conclusion drawn is that e-learning developers are being hypocritical to expect other people to use e-learning, given that they prefer all of these methods over web-based training:

  • Teach yourself;
  • Peer support;
  • Online support resources;
  • Internally developed training; and
  • Vendor training.
  • And if the people whose job it is to promote e-learning actually think it’s rubbish, what hope has e-learning got as a credible method of developing people?

    Well there’s lies, damn lies and statistics. It is far from clear that web-based training was actually available as an option for learning about each tool…if it does n’t exist, nobody can use it. There’s also the question of what the learners actually need – most authoring tools are pretty similar, so once you’ve got the hang of one, the chances are that the most efficient way of getting up to competence on another tool is to learn by experience, rather than starting again completely from the beginning in a theoretical way. Most importantly what seems to be overlooked is that this is e-learning about authoring tools, not e-learning in general…I wryly look forward to this survey being misquoted and generalised far beyond it’s original scope.

    For me this survey reinforces something that I feel like I’ve been saying for a long time – e-learning is appropriate for only some learning needs and when you design it, it needs to be interesting enough for people to enjoy the experience.

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