As learning designers, can we all agree that eLearning is dead? I’m not trying to be controversial, but eLearning conjures notions of bad PowerPoint-like courses (no offense PowerPoint, we still love you, but only when appropriate). You know the ones we’re talking about—the courses where your mouse hovers over the “next” button in anticipation of when you can advance to the next slide. It’s the courses with the excruciatingly slow voiceover, the click-until-you-get-it-right knowledge check, and the grand-finale quiz that serves as our shining beacon that this experience will eventually end. So, we feverishly click “next” through slide after slide, just to end the experience.
Do we all have that experience firmly in our minds? Good—now can we drive a stake through the heart of the notion that this type of experience is learning (Ok that might be controversial).
Now that we have agreed, and we are all now digital learning designers/developers/builders, where are our standards?
I am not talking about SCORM, or AICC, or eXAPI or standards for accessibility—those are table stakes—but where are our standards for digital learning solutions development?
As a solution provider, and as designers of digital learning experiences, we have worked with corporations, associations, and higher education institutions, and one of the first questions we ask a partner is, “do you have standards you would like us to follow?” At best, we are given the organization’s brand standards (which are great), but most of the time the answer is “no,” they do not have documented standard for digital learning products.
Given the amount of money organizations spend to create learning, and given the importance of learner experience to both the uptake and impacts of learning, why don’t more organizations have standards for digital learning? What impact is not having standards for the design of digital learning having on your learning brand?
We love to look to our colleagues in other professions for inspiration and guidance, and we look to our colleagues in UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) design and we see inspiration for creating standards for the development—including design systems and pattern libraries—which we will expand upon in future posts.
We believe there is an opportunity for organizations to create standards for the digital learning design and development. These standards should apply to both internally developed products, and externally developed products. Let’s face it—we can always pick the course developed by the vendor partner.
If you agree with us or want to know more about our thoughts on standards for digital learning, reach out! We would love to talk to you.
If you are not sure, hang in there. We have more content coming you way. We would love the chance to convince you.
Together we learn.