Friday, 4 April 2008

They’re not listening

As I mentioned last month, I spent a few years at the eLearning Alliance mediating between vendors and their corporate clients, bringing together two different communities who spoke two different languages, and encouraging them to learn from each other. This experience left me with the conviction that a lot of the problems of e-learning are down to the vendors.

HR and training managers are rarely technology specialists, and often inexperienced buyers, and vendors have exploited this to win (short-term) business, at the expense of learning more about their clients’ needs and adjusting their offers accordingly.

This is a theme I shall explore in some detail in my forthcoming book, How to Implement Successful E-learning, so I don’t want to give away the farm right now. What I am prepared to say is that e-learning vendors, on the whole, have misunderstood and underestimated what is involved in learning, and so have failed to take advantage of huge potential in the market. They have frequently opted for quick fixes rather than best solutions.

And this has been a causal factor in poor e-learning programmes and thus widespread learner dissatisfaction with e-learning.

Vendors need to re-examine what learning and development is about, and re-think what sort of technology tools they can offer to facilitate it. This is enlightened self-interest, as those who don’t will hasten their own demise.

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