New to eLearning? Avoid Google.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love Google as much as the next person. In fact, without Google, life would be very different for most of us. Do you Google your next meeting location only when you are in the car and about to start the ignition? Or, do you park your shopping trolley to one side as you Google for that famous cheesecake recipe?
Too often I see people fall into the trap of Googling too much about a more complicated topic. Take eLearning for example. Imagine what can come up with the question, “What is eLearning?” As of 24 June 2014, this search yields over 18.4 million results and most likely 18.4 million varying definitions.
As the weeks go by, Google begins to morph from a saviour to a web of confusion (mind the pun!). For some, they take and filter the information to their liking, and proceed on. For most, they end up frustrated, confused and put eLearning into the “too hard” basket.
As an Online Learning Specialist, I come across people who have bravely bitten the bullet and ended up taking a less preferable path to eLearning, and on the other end of the spectrum, people who are burned out by what they have read. In both scenarios, the investment they have put in has not been maximised.
Part of my role outside of developing eLearning modules and implementing learning systems is consulting. From my experience, a couple of hours invested in consulting can save people not just time, but the expenses incurred from taking “Google’s advice” out of context.
By no means do I think the blogs out on the web are not valuable. In fact, I frequently refer to them to keep up with the latest arguments and innovations. However, because blog posters come from wide ranging backgrounds, the context in which they write should be considered.
I attended a large eLearning conference in Boston, USA a couple of years’ back. The main theme from my fellow delegates was, “My boss has asked me to implement eLearning, and I have a budget of $50,000.” In a smaller country like New Zealand, the main theme at the time was, “We aren’t sure about eLearning. Even if we were, we would have to do everything on a shoe string”.
The environment where the blogger comes from can determine the way they develop and think about eLearning. This is the very reason why I recommend people new to eLearning call on a consultant for a couple of hours. A consultant with practical experience in this field can help you avoid those pot holes!