Friday, March 14, 2008

Good Vs. Evil

Software Professional: Hi, what do you do?
Me: Am an instructional designer, elearning.... we design training modules
Software Professional (cynical look on his face): Oh....
Me: Oh? What do you mean.... oh?
Software Professional: So, you are the guys who design those boring courses that we have to go through.... they put me to sleep... tell me something, I am a computer engineer, why should I go through a course of communication skills? Seems very irrelevant....

At this point, I get all defensive and give a huge speech about how Kern is different and that we do a lot of research to ensure that the courses are relevant, motivating and interesting. But the software professional continues to look at me with an I-don't-think-so expression and a raised eyebrow. I give up and maintain a sulking expression for the rest of the evening.

It is not this guy's fault that he holds a very low opinion about elearning courses. Once bitten, twice shy is the expression that comes to mind. At work, he is required to take several courses off the LMS. He does not know why he must take them. Some courses may be relevant to him while others are not. The courses are so boring and irrelevant that motivation is extremely low. The HR also seems to add courses because they 'have' to show this in their calender. Most of these courses are text heavy with poor visual graphics. They might as well read a book. It is a torture to sit through these courses. I was hardly surprised when this guy confessed, "I just click Next and be done with it."

Even if I scream from the rooftops that we are different, these guys are not going to believe us. Why should they? They have had to put up with really bad stuff. This just goes to show how many bad courses are out there. Our work is made even more difficult because of these courses. We need to fight this bias against elearning and ensure that our work is radically different to gain their attention and respect.

Lets all say no to boring courses that prejudice our learners! Lets try harder to design courses that motivate and inspire people to learn. May the good triumph over the evil.....

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