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E-learning: The Brand — 8 Comments

  1. I was there back then too but your last point is where I wanted to be so long ago – it’s just learning at the time, and place, of need. No “e” or “m” or “d” – we support performance and lifelong learning. Thanks for the post!

  2. Bill, I think there are a lot of us in the same head-space about all of the prefix initials and the need for their immediate demise. It’s all learning regardless of modality.

    I keep thinking of parallels in the music industry when electronic drums were coming on the market in the 1980’s. Traditional kit manufacturers were feeling the pinch of the new players on the market and the impact on their sales. But the pendulum swung the other way, technology evolved, and there’s a balance between “engineered” percussion & rhythm and having a real timekeeper.

    In the same way, technology-mediated training hasn’t moved the educator into the same category as the Rumble Seat as many predicted back in the day, but its impact cannot be underestimated. We do so at our peril.

    • Thank you for pointing out we are not alone. The e-learning brand has eroded to the point I think something has to change, it’s just frustrating to talk with others who drop the term “e-learning” to refer exclusively to the product. I think we have our work cut out for us.

  3. Thanks for your piece Tom. 100% agree. We needed to drop the prefixes a long time ago. It’s all learning, it’s just the delivery mechanism that is adjusted based on the participants and good ol’ needs analysis. We have a tough road ahead of us turning the noun back into a verb. :)

  4. Great post Tom! And from the comments it looks like many others agree. I don’t want to take away from the intent of this post, but I also feel like learning is not the right word for what our industry does either. Learning is the learner’s responsibility. All we can do is provide content, and environments, that help learners learn. We cannot do the learning for them. So, in my view, words like “training” are much more suited to what WE do…as you mention in the post as well. Lots to say on this, but mostly just wanted to give you kudos for such doing such a complete review of the topic.

    • Thanks, Brent. Your comment doesn’t take away from my intent at all, it extends it. We can’t quickly change the hearts and minds of an entire industry where people are largely working with a mindset from decades ago, but we can try. More often than not, I hear phrases being tossed around carelessly, assuming that everyone understands their meaning. This is actually a form of laziness. It’s important to be articulate when communicating outside our small corner of the business, but it’s also important to be clear when communicating with our peers around the world. I’ll look forward to your further thoughts on this.

  5. Hi Tom – nice post. I’ve never been a fan of having to attach labels to things. It seems that just causes people to spend unnecessary time trying to slice things so thin to be sure it is a discrete “fit” and justifying the fit that one loses site of what’s important (i.e., effecting change/learning).

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