To break down the distance, first battle at close range

22 Apr

“We have this training, and now we want to put it online.” It is the kind of straightforward request that can make an Instructional Designer or e-learning professional cringe. I hate that reaction, but the more I talk with colleagues, the more universal the reaction seems to be.

ImageLet me be clear: It has nothing to do with the opportunity the work provides. Taking effective training and adapting it to online a-synchronous delivery is what we do – and we (hopefully) enjoy it.

So why the cringe? It comes from the fight we know is coming. Perhaps fight is too strong a word, but it is a real effort to make trainers, curriculum designers and learners understand that what works in-person in a classroom won’t work for e-learning. The materials have to be broken down, re-imagined and rebuilt in another way to resonate and persevere for learners.

In posts to come I will go through the reasons why e-learning requires sometimes radical rearrangement to work, even for (especially for?!) the most proven live training event. Kelly Savage has a  reasonable primer on some of the issues on her blog post. My purpose here is to share a common yet often unspoken reality: Converting good live training to e-learning requires two instructional tasks. The first is training the current stakeholders and trainers, the second is the “actual” work of delivering effective e-learning.

I welcome ideas and success stories that have made the first task go smoothly.

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