In November of 2006, I was asked to be on a panel at the Detroit ASTD. The topic was in “Using ELearning Internationally” and the panel was moderated by Detroit ASTD President Jerry Kaminski.
The first question that was posed to the panel was… “How do we know that eLearning is effective?”
When it was my turn to speak, I had to the answer the question with another question, “What do you mean by effective?”
You see to understand effective eLearning we must break it down into the following four areas:
1. Effective Delivery – Did the student receive and understand the information that meets the
This is usually measured using pre and post testing, however monitoring related Key Performance Indicators (KPI) can really take it to another level. For example, if the topic was “Sales Training” then the monitored KPI after training would include sales performance, profit performance, support call performance indicators. If these indicators increased within a defined time span of the training, then one could say that the increase was due to the training. From my past experience, KPI monitoring is a far better measurement of effective training than just testing.
2. Effective eLearning Development – Did you create the eLearning content so it meets the training need, objective and timing?
ELearning is not effective if it takes over a week to create one hour of eLearning that contains content that changes daily. ELearning is also not effective if content gathering and course creation is rushed to the point that it affects quality and accuracy.
3. Effective Change Management – Are you able to change the content quickly enough to keep up
with our ever changing world?
4. Cost Effective – Did you meet the training objective and budget?
After 15 years of building on-line courses and eLearning tools (i.e. SCATE Ignite Professional) it has become very clear to me that creating effective eLearning is like running a successful business. It is a balance between speed to customer, quality of goods, reaction to change and cost.
In many cases, internal company training organizations do not operate in this fashion. For example, highly paid Instructional System Designers or ISD’s are quite often turned into graphic designers, Flash professionals and web gurus. ISD’s were meant to oversee the Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation (ADDIE) of the System Approach to Training (SAT). These types of individuals are very important to the overall process and should NOT be used for duties such as content building and SME interviewing.
In addition, many companies do not select the right eLearning development process or software tools required to handle the job. For example, using a corporate training group to capture tips, tricks and FAQs for departments, would not be very cost effective. In this case, rapid eLearning methodology should of been used along side rapid eLearning software tools.
Please remember the goal of eLearning is to get accurate and easy to understand information to the learner in a timely and cost effective manner. Therefore, eLearning can only be determined effective, if all of these objectives are met.
I would appreciate you comment on this subject.
Thanks for reading.
SCATE Technologies, Inc