Beyond event-based learning
Shaping the future of learning
We’re going to open with a bold and brash statement - elearning has really dumbed down the training world.
We know that’s blasphemy from two people who have both been immersed in the elearning world for over 20 years.
Moving Beyond Event-based Learning—a Managed Journey to Demonstrated Proficiency
Cammy Bean and Chip Cleary for Learning Solutions Magazine
Here’s what we’ve seen: with the onset of technology tools and the ability to create “courses” with just the flick of a button, people have created masses of poor-quality content that get labeled as training.
Many of these are PowerPoint decks with text bullets and a few animated graphics. Some of them have multiple-choice quiz questions. Most of them bore people to tears. And yet this is what some project sponsors have come to expect when they request “training” for their teams. Employees have low expectations of eLearning as they’ve come to equate “training” with “death by narrated PowerPoint.” Learning, for most people is completely different from training—it happens on the job and not during “training.”
As a profession, it’s time we all gather together and walk through the streets in indignation. It’s time for us to do a better job.
The single-eLearning-course approach has helped solidify an event-based learning mindset. Event-based learning generally assumes that you hit me once with your content and then I’ve got it and am ready to go forth into the world.
The reality is people need to go out and try things a few times, mess up, get feedback (if possible), and go back to the books even before they get back on the horse and try again. Building this type of structure and scaffolding into a training program moves you out of an event mindset and more into an apprenticeship model—where you’re taking people on a journey through your content—from novice to mastery.
When it’s well-executed, eLearning can be a great investment. But far too often, it lives in a vacuum. It’s an event that happens in an echo chamber with no real connection to the outside world. There’s no follow up, no tie in to real jobs or problems that need to be solved today.
Another downside to the proliferation of eLearning is that it’s allowed busy managers to escape responsibility for their people’s performance. Their mindset could very well be I don’t have to train because L&D has provided training for them.
So how can we reinsert the manager into the learning and development equation? This is one of the problems we’re challenging ourselves and our clients with. Using technology to support the process, can we create a more efficient and structured way to get a front-line leader or manager back into the role of mentor or coach? We think so. We’re calling this approach “managing the journey.”