The Radical Eradication of Bad eLearning

I have a radical idea:

There should be no bad eLearning in your LMS.

I know, crazy right? Here’s another one:

People don’t really need eLearning.

See there’s this thing called a Document (or an article) that everyone knows how to use and is easy to distribute. It can be used to provide information on anything. The only reason you would ever want eLearning is because sometimes the information in documents is hard to process. eLearning can make it easier. However if the eLearning is bad and makes it harder to process the information, than it makes things worse. eLearning takes a lot more resources to create, distribute and maintain than documents so if it makes things worse why on earth would you keep it?

If your LMS contains bad eLearning, you will kill the credibility of all the learning that you offer. People have so many options for learning that they have limited patience for something that makes it harder to learn.

I propose getting rid of all bad eLearning in your LMS right now. I know it’s heresy but really can you afford to have bad eLearning in your LMS? How do you know what is bad and what is good? It’s easier than you think when you look at it from the learner’s point of view. I propose the following rubric to test your eLearning against. If your content doesn’t meet every one of these criteria then I say you should chuck it.

eLearning should solve a problem.

eLearning should state why the topic is important to the learner (not the learning organization) within the first 3 pages.

eLearning should have more pages that provide valuable information than pages that don’t.

eLearning should not go longer than 30 minutes without some type of break.

eLearning should not try to cram too much information on a page but instead should link out to documents.

eLearning should not have navigational elements that make it harder to access information.

eLearning should not have outdated or inaccurate information.

Wow, this is just so subversive! Accuracy, brevity, clarity. This is crazy talk. What will our stakeholders say? Well, they will ask why we created bad eLearning for them in the first place. That may be a sensitive issue but if you don’t address it then no one will look at any of the content good or bad.

Maybe you have 5000 courses in your LMS and you are thinking that reviewing it all is going to be too much work. You better get started. Managing thousands of courses most of which probably don’t deliver value is an exercise in futility. All the more reason to be ruthless in purging it. At the very least, hide the bad programs from search. Your stakeholders can still send out links but your credibility won’t be damaged. Start with your highest visibility programs. If those are bad, you need to fix them.

If you want to talk with me more about this, you may have to find me in L&D Siberia where I will have been banished for my radical ideas.


2 thoughts on “The Radical Eradication of Bad eLearning

  1. Adam, I’d like to see the first item on the rubric be:
    All eLearning should clearly SHOW you how to DO something you want to do.

    Most documents are likely enough. (You’re the first person other than me talking about documents. Has anyone noticed that when we look things up on the Internet, we most get documents, and these are often enough?)

    I’m also thinking Quora-like apps could get rid of a lot of training. And signing systems that say, “I read and understood this document,” since most training courses these days are nothing more than CYA systems anyway.

    See ya in Siberia. Maybe we can have a conference there for people who actually want to solve problems.


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