eLearning Life Support?

I don't mean to beat a dead horse, so to speak, but I must respond to the last item in today's eLearning_Insider newsletter from the eLearning Guild.

Insider: Did you hear? e-Learning is Dead. That's right... dead. Shot down in the prime of its life. Six feet under. Kaput.

Jay: I presume they mean this , which was part of my Eulogy for eLearning presentation.

Insider: A few weeks ago a few of our industries infamous "thought leaders" announced that the term "e-Learning" was dead. On the "Ins and Outs" lists, it was in the "outs" column. Their reasons included 1) the death of the dot-com era, 2) failed e-Learning projects, and 3) the suffering of e-Learning vendors....

No, what I really said was that eLearning would go on because it brought too many benefits not to. But..."eLearning" is a marketing term, an attempt to get under the halo of eBusiness, and that it has outlived its usefulness as a marketing term because many senior managers consider it a fiasco.

Insider: .... But Insider argues that we shouldn't toss away a perfectly good term. Think about it for a moment...

I go further out on the limb than that. I don't think learning is an easy sell in the executive suite. They're called executives because they want to execute. We need to position what we do as the key to execution.

Insider: The term "e-Learning" has served many of us really well. For one thing, it is a term that CEO's, CIO's and CFO's understand. Granted they may not entirely get the big picture of the breadth and potential of e-Learning, but they know the term. Remember, they actually sat up and took notice of our requests to fund e-Learning initiatives, even if only because Wall Street took notice too. This was a good thing! It was the term "e-Learning" that opened the discussion about how we can create substantial and sustainable organizational value.

"Was." Past tense. In today's lean and mean economy, executives pay for performance. They often defer maintenance, including maintenance on human capital.

Insider: Another reason to keep the term "e-Learning" is because it is easy to remember and our students "get it". Those of us in the training/learning industry get really caught up in the "performance improvement", "knowledge enhancement", and "productivity accelerator" terms, but our students and their bosses are really much more responsive to a simpler term. "E-Learning" fits the bill. When they hear the term, folks know that they are going to use technology to get the information/learning/training they need to do better on their job. And that is all they really care about.

If eLearning were synonymous with performance improvement, I'd be a happy camper. The most popular title at ASTD Press is Telling Ain't Training. You know what? Business people do not care. Better numbers will make them happy whether they result from training or telling or taking smart pills or prayer. They want performance from their workers. (We're the only ones who call them learners.)

Insider: While we have had ups and downs, I have not seen a better term appear to replace "e-Learning", and until I do, and until the hundreds of thousands of people developing e-Learning and the millions using e-Learning stop using e-Learning, I think I will stick by it for a while longer.

We agree on this. I haven't come up with a replacement. As I said, I'm working on it. I no more relish changing the name of eLearning Forum than you guys want to rename the eLearning Guild.


Note:

This is about all I've got to say on this issue. We have bigger fish to fry than semantics.

While I enjoy sparring with my friends at eLearning Guild, I am a big fan. If you didn't get eLearning_Insider in your email today, you probably haven't upgraded your membership from Associate to Guild Member. For $99, it's a great deal.


Posted by Jay Cross at April 29, 2003 07:07 PM | TrackBack
Comments

James Sisk emailed me a comment that really rings true: The learners don't call themselves learners either.

Posted by: Jay at April 30, 2003 07:36 PM

30 Poppy Lane
Berkeley, California 94708

1.510.528.3105 (office & cell)



Subscribe to this Blog

Enter your email address to subscribe. We vow never to share your information with anyone. No Spam.

Subscribe Unsubscribe

Reference Pages

Articles
Blogs
Building Community
CSS, Semantic Mark-Up, and codes
Design
First Principles
Glossary
How People Learn
Knowledge Management
Learning Links
Learning Standards
Making It Work (Implementing)
Metrics & ROI
Presentations
Psychology
Social Software
String theory
The eLearning Museum
Time
Visual Learning


Search


Our Infrequent Newsletter
Sign up for our sporadic newsletter.
Email:


Entries by category...

Blogging
Books
Collaboration
Customer care
Design
Emergent Learning
handbook
Jokes
Just Jay
Learning
Meta
Networking
Outbound
Recycled from Blogger
Ref
store
The Industry
Time
Visual
Workflow-based eLearning


Blogroll


Internet Time Group



© 2004 Internet Time Group



Click for Berkeley, California Forecast
Berkeley, California


Recent entries

New Blog
Blogger Experience, Housekeeping, Something New
Loosely Coupled
Above all
Demographics is destiny
Are you setting the bar high enough?
Virtual Apps
Aerobic Learning
Work as Video Game
Oracle and Macromedia, Sitting in a Tree
The Blogosphere
ASTD Silicon Valley
Performance Support
Kingsbridge Conference Center
First Post by Email
Transition
Inactive Blog
RSS Feed for New Site
Comment Spam
Testing ... testing ... 1...2..3
IT Doesn't Matter - Learning Does.
All blogging is political
Mutlimedia Learning
Damn, damn, double damn
Nonverbal impact?
The New Religion
Shhhhh.....
Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!
Business Process Management (2)
Really Big
Business Process Management Conference
WorkFLOW
Don't Lose a Common Sense: LISTEN
It's only natural
Gmail!
Go with the flow
Time Out for the Fair
Informal get-together in SF this Wednesday
Repetition, reverb, and echoes
Who Knows?
Ur-blogging
Cognitive Mapping
Push vs pull
The Big Picture on ROI
Art Break
TDF Finale
New Community of Practice Forming
Dropouts
More TDF04
Training Directors Forum 2004
A Rare One-Liner
PlaNetwork LIVE 2
PlaNetwork LIVE
ASTD 2004 Leftovers
Googlism
Worker Effectiveness Improvement, not KM
Upcoming Events
eLearning Effectiveness?
Jay's Talk at ASTD
Mintzberg & Cooperider
Lest ye forget
ASTD International Conference & Exposition 2004
Knowledge Tips
What is Workflow Learning?
ASTD msg 1 of n
Look out, it's Outlook
Collaboration at ASTD Next Week
Tell me a story
User indifference
Interdependence
The shortest presentation on metrics you will ever hear
Back to Blogger
Windows fixes
The Alchemy of Growth
Grab bag
Very loosely coupled
E-Learning from Practice to Profit
Robin Good kicks off Competitive Edge
China Bloggers
Sonoma Dreaming
Upcoming Events
Emergent Learning Forum: Simulations
'Lanta
The Best Things in Life Are Free
Metrics and Web Services
OpEd: ROI vs. Metrics
e-Merging e-Learning
Loosely Coupled
Search me
Exercise?