Thursday, June 23, 2005

Where is the learning?

Companies are moving their instructor-led training material to self-paced elearning (first generation elearning) to save costs, manage learners, manage scores, manage multiple courses, and feed this data into the human resource software for employee performance appraisal.

But, what happened to the learner and the quality of learning? Earlier, learning was instructor- led and it had pedagogic roots of classroom training methodologies. However, the same methodologies cannot be replicated to a self-paced learning system. The instructor also used to keep tab of individual learning needs and styles. Moreover, adult learners prefer instructor-led face-to-face learning than learning through the use of electronic media.

As learning moved to elearning, the variety of methods earlier used by the instructor reduced drastically to rudimentary instruction methods (read Jurassic age!) provided by an LMS. Now, e-instructors have to confine to drag-and-drop or 3-answer MCQs to test learners' procedural knowledge. As the manageability of the learning increased, the quality of learning suffered.

Corporations have also started singing LMS tune - the score of the course is directly proportional to the learning, which is directly proportional to employee remuneration. Corporations fail to realize that learning must be measured by measuring the quality of output at work and elearning score is no indication of performance. Training managers and HR managers must understand that learning and training is in context and must be measured in context - the context being the work environment.


Krishanu said...

A great thought on the shape of learning as of date, though a bit critical on HR Managers and Training Managers. Its true that in corporations the student is more or less tested on the course material and not enough on the application (or use) of this knowledge which is justifiable to a large extent. The premise being that if a student understands the subject or course well, then he/she would be better placed compared to others in applying the same knowledge in a work environment. Though now-a-days corporations are devising simulated work environments or case studies to test the ability of the student to apply the knowledge better.

One Question: What is the basis of the statement "Moreover, adult learners prefer instructor-led face-to-face learning than learning through the use of electronic media" ? I feel adult learners prefer e-learning more than a instructor-led face-to-face learning.

ripul said...

Testing on course material and application of learned knowledge may be related. However, that is not the only way to test the learners, the learning must be tested on actual work place. We work with many organizations and we have seen that test scores are holy grail.

Simulated work environments are becoming popular at BPO organizations and we see that they are brining in more revenues, less errors, and faster learning. For application oriented learning, simulations are good.

Adult learners prefer face to face learning: refer to

Adult learners prefer semantic learning and not passive learning which most elearning courses (first generation) offer.

Crazy Dan said...

Hi ripul, I found your blog while doing some research on employee appraisal. I like your blog, thank you for sharing the information and keep up the good work!.
I'll be back to see if you have any posts about employee appraisal