Despite e-learning having been around for well over a decade, the jury is still out for many people. In the mid to late 90s, the booths at conferences and trade shows all over the world were lined with e-learning companies touting their new software and innovative delivery platforms. Everyone learned the new language, grappled with the new ideas and many of us were keen to embrace the grand vision for streamlining the training industry.

However Our Bizniss, either for reasons of caution or maybe because we’d been distracted by broadcast documentaries, decided to adopt the “wait and see” approach. Back at the annual trade shows, despite a plethora of innovation, it was plain to see that e-learning was not the success story predicted. Each year there were different companies lining the aisles – last year’s company was insolvent and another fresh faced group would emerge. These companies were determined to convince the trainers and resource producers that their platform would make it a success.

The arguments for e-learning were compelling. Less time for employees away from their desks, a dramatic reduction in costs for facilitation, room hire, catering, travel costs and the ability to do “just in time” training and service employees in distant locations. It sounded like a win/win for everybody.

Nevertheless, when you talked to trainers (and resource producers), they were skeptical. They avoided the move to e-learning for about a decade.
So, why didn’t it work for them?

  • Firstly, why would you put someone in front of a computer to teach them how to communicate and work in a team? It seemed like an oxymoron.
  • Secondly, larger organizations always had difficulty keeping up with the latest technology. Note the occasional employee across all sectors who still doesn’t have speakers on his or her computer.
  • Thirdly, the broadband speeds necessary for a quality audio visual experience were not widely available. Hence most e-learning was text based and almost exclusively dull and boring. (Zzzzz – please save me from another 347 page pdf!)
  • Fourthly, there has not been universal compliance standards which would ensure an "off the shelf" product could be marketed and sold either nationally or internationally. Oops, because the really exciting e-learning is so expensive no one can make a profit.

However, we believe that all these objections have now been overcome.

  • Let’s face it, now we do almost every kind of communication in front of our computers (even those little computers we call phones). A huge percentage of us use our computers to find dates and mates, shop, communicate and use “search” on our browsers to research and learn just about everything.
  • Plus we now realise there are many soft skills which are actually best suited to the more intimate training environment provided by e-learning.
  • Almost all SMEs and most large organisations now have multi-media capable computers on every desk connected to either intranet or broadband.
  • Broadband speeds now allow for adequate streaming from websites. Even though the speeds could be better, it is finally possible to create content that is innovative, engaging and multi-media rich.
  • The recent evolution of international scorm compliance means products can be developed that work with learning management systems throughout the world.
Excellent - it is now viable to invest in creating generic programs. Our e-learning is one of the first (if not the first) “off the shelf” e-learning experiences with a multi-layered and multi-media rich, interactive, narrative spine.
People might ask, “but isn’t this like putting lipstick on a pig?”.
The answer is: absolutely not!.
Take the instructional design elements of narrative storytelling, plus the ability for people to learn vicariously through characters and work them into an online interactive environment - this is unique.

Not only is it unique, it solves many of the problems e-learning has faced for the past decade. Because, it doesn’t matter how many fancy graphics and spinning symbols and cute bits of animation you have, if there’s no "what comes next?" factor, if there is no emotional content and too much dry text, then the quality of learning is poor.

Anyway - that’s what we think.