>Course Observations and Clarifications

>I mentioned some of these comments in my course evaluation and to some of you privately, but I want to offer a little bit of clarification on a couple of points on e-learning that S. made during his presentation, and also to clarify the “message” that the course may have delivered.

MESSAGE: e-Learning means software development

FACT: e-Learning does not have to be a software development project for your organization. There’s a phenomenal amount of content and information that you can develop in-house without writing a single line of programming code.

MESSAGE: e-learning means spending/investing a lot of money

FACT: as with the myth above, you don’t have to invest a lot of money in e-learning to get modest results. Even though we purchased an authoring tool where I work, that investment was relatively small. For organizations with almost no budget, there’s a wealth of tools and resources out there. Google was a big research tool for me. Toss in some keywords and see what you get. Having said that, there may be some overhead costs that you can’t avoid. But weigh those costs against the Return on Value you get from transforming your learning environment.

MYTH: you need to purchase a LMS or LCMS

FACT: e-learning can take place in your organization without either of these tools. When it comes right down to it, a LMS is basically a web server that can store your content and provide tracking mechanisms. However, if you want to start small, all you really need is some kind of tool to author content, and a means to distribute it. You can even start with PowerPoint, or some kind of HTML editor to generate content. As long as you follow some good e-learning planning and development practices, you can achieve great results.

My take on it: start authoring some basic content, get it distributed, then see what kind of tracking metrics you need.

Other random thoughts: I think there was a LOT of confusion about technology, and I sensed a lot of frustration about it. You’ll gain more from a real understanding of the planning and strategy steps for building e-learning in your workplace than you will from becoming versed in the subtleties or SCORM/AICC and that sort of thing. I’m not a standards whiz and I don’t plan to be. Nor am I a software developer or database administrator.

For those of you at the strategic, as opposed to tactical, level for e-learning…focus your efforts on planning and strategy. In the long run, the knowedge/skill/awareness outcomes are the same. e-learning just gives you a different vehicle to get you there.

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About Mark L. Sheppard

learning geek, lifelong learner, terminally curious, recovering blogger and Ed Tech explorer.

Posted on April 11, 2005, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. >Hi Mark – I found your reflections on elearning in process fascinating. I have a print-based materials development business in South Africa and we are wanting to move into elearning. I am spending many hours on the net assessing content authoring systems. What do you advise? Knowledgepresenter? Articulate? I would really appreciate your insights on this. Thanks Louise (louise@eduwrite.org)

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