We don’t do anything without feedback. Our entire nervous system relies on it to help us determine appropriate responses.
- In some situations we ask for feedback – “Does this dress make me look fat?”
- At other times feedback is unsolicited – “That dress makes you look fat.”
In either case the information is useful in developing a response reaction.
But what about elearning? How do we get feedback on the courses we’ve developed or purchased, and implemented?
If you’re like most of us you’re just glad to get the courses posted on the LMS and assigned to the target audience.
The passing grade and completion checkmark are sufficient feedback for determining success for both the student and the course.
This passive approach to evaluation hurts ALL stakeholders.
By not taking evaluation seriously we allow others, sometimes less qualified, to determine both the efficacy of our efforts AND set the groundrules by which we develop web based training solutions.
Consider that 70% of all corporate online training is compliance-based. This means the company MUST develop or implement training to address regulations.
The natural impulse when we are TOLD to do something is to:
- look for a way not to have to comply
- identify the least expensive means to comply.
For most organizations the third option defines elearning. It’s the less expensive option versus classroom instruction.
Let that concept sink if for a while. Consider COST as the original ROI of our educational efforts. We’re cheaper than a classroom.
But soon less expensive was no longer enough. Courses had to be developed faster. So application developers began to offer “rapid development tools”. This streamlined approach was based on employing the sound pedagogical principles embodied by the Microsoft PowerPoint application to allow educators to construct and deliver less expensive courses in a compact timeframe. Educational Nirvana had been achieved.
Has fast and cheap helped achieve the goals of education or simply met the minimal requirements for proof of compliance?
Has the checkmark in the LMS report become the new standard by which we measure success?
If you share my values as an educator, when you cannot be happy with being perceives as “less expensive than a classroom; constructed with a presentation tool”.
How did we get here?
It began with feedback. We passively allowed the checkmark in the LMS to become the defacto feedback standard by which educational success was measures. The checkmark became the goal. Comprehension was an afterthought – and certainly not required by the audit report.
Puns aside, I believe it is time to make a drastic course correction. We must make COMPREHENSION the standard by which we measure our attempts at educating our students and employees. All invested parties need to play a role in this effort. That means Chief Learning Officers, Compliance Managers, Application Developers, Training Managers, Instructional Designers, Students and Budget Directors.
“How quickly can they get through it?” is no longer acceptable.
Consider this instead: “Will they understand the concepts and modify their behaviors while performing their job?”