What Makes Online Learning Effective?
Posted by Ellen on September 30, 2009
Isn’t this the million-dollar question? No? A couple hundred thousand, maybe? (Okay. Maybe the answer is only worth a few hundred dollars.)
Whatever the value, a variation of this question has generated a terrific discussion in the ASTD LinkedIn group. The original post from Donna Gilliland, President of MOSTraining, Inc. read:
“Online Live Training: what challenges do you face? Have you started delivering training live online training yet? If so, which of the following tools to you use?”
Then she asked, “What do you find to be your greatest challenge in training live online?”
Several people chimed in, all of whom seemed to be focused on two key areas:
- Presenters’ skills
What’s missing here?!?
Yes, I’ll keep preaching this. Yes, my face is blue from repeating it over and over. And no, I’m not tired of repeating myself quite yet.
Why is content so important?
Because if your content doesn’t match the delivery mode, it doesn’t matter how interesting, entertaining, adept, practiced, experienced or knowledgable your instructor/facilitator/trainer is, the online event will fail. Completely.
If your content doesn’t match the delivery mode, it doesn’t matter how many polls, chat and breakout rooms you use, how pretty your slides are, or whether you use phone or VOIP, the online event will fail. Utterly.
So I’ll say it again: your content needs to be presented in a way that enables your learners to learn. Sounds obvious, but failing to do this is the primary reason most online events fail.
Webinars are a great example. They’re easy to conduct and attend, relatively inexpensive, and everyone seems to be offering them. Even when they should be doing something else (see When A Webinar Is a Bad Idea).
Only after you’re sure you have decided on the best delivery mode for the content you’re training should you be thinking about how you’ll handle the technical side of things, and choose the instructor.
Period. End of discussion.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get some pink back into my face ;-)