I’m not interested in debating or solidifying the argument notion that eLearning is “better” than instructor-led, live training. I mean, how is that even possible? Yet, this post-Web 2.0 world has had a very curious impact on how we engage in the often mundane process of being “trained.” Sure, in some instances, new media technologies have little or no impact on training and its development, but in other cases, new media technologies have made training a virtual art form by adding spectacular dimensions that weren’t previously possible.
Before film and video production, theatrical performances were by far the most popular medium for visual storytelling. Just as the invention of video recording technology added different dimensions to the art of storytelling, eLearning has expanded the artistic potential for creating and delivering training programs. Consider the role that art has played in the eLearning development process. Video production has always played a major role in training, probably since its introduction in the early 20th century. Of course, video production still plays a major role in eLearning content, but the new fusion of post-Web 2.0 technologies and art is what really fascinates me about this new medium so casually referred to as “eLearning.”
Has new media technology made training more efficient and effective? I guess that’s up for interpretation. Along the same lines, did the three-point line and slam dunk make basketball more intense and exciting? Some may say no—traditionalists, I would assume—but, on the larger scale, whether you agree or disagree, the three-point shot and slam dunk certainly added new, dynamic dimensions that didn’t previously exist. Similarly, the tremendous fusion between new, previously non-existent technologies and art has produced an exciting, dynamic, and engaging alternative to the instructor-led, and often live training of the past.
Again, preference plays a large role in whether or not you agree with the direction training has taken, but consider the new possibilities eLearning has offered. The eLearning developer ranges from the computer scientist to the screenplay writer, and it doesn’t stop there. The depths of the pools resources are selected from to create modules for the viewing and learning pleasure of the audience is something of an art form: a project aimed not only to train, but to entertain. I’m sure video training courses or classroom ILT courses are not designed to be prosaic and routine, yet for reasons obvious to anyone who has ever spent time in a classroom, non-interactivity is a catalyst for wandering eyes and fantastic daydreaming. Through techniques introduced by new media technology, eLearning intermixes resources aimed at exciting and engaging an audience in a way that was not necessarily possible before, creating a partnership, if you will, with the artist, the scientist, the teacher, and, most importantly, the learner.
I think the reason I enjoy working with custom eLearning so much is that it allows me to be imaginative, seeking out clients that could use our services as an asset to help develop their employees and their businesses. Art is about perception; the nonlinear yet sensational visual, sound, and structural aspects of art have been further enhanced by technology. In turn, this improves our ability to create technologically-relevant programs that allow the individual—and, in the case of eLearning, the corporation—to create a perceptive and engaging way to develop their most important assets: their people.
Steve Melville is a Junior Account Executive at MRCC. This is his first post and we hope for many more.