eLearning up to scratch?

Budgets are tight and time is at a premium. That’s the perennial state of affairs in most organizations. Yet, it’s important to reflect on specific aspects of your training strategy.

Here are 2 questions to consider:

Does it take into account individual learning styles and multiple intelligences?

If your elearning is strictly text based, you’re not reaching your target effectively. Because individuals come to the table with a particular style of acquiring new information, content should be tailored along style lines to make learning effective.

There are over 70 models of learning with conflicting assumptions and ideas about how individuals process information. The simplest learning styles model  segregates individuals into three camps: visual, auditory, or tactile/kinaesthetic. Therefore, the big ideas or essential understandings of the course should be presented across the sense of sight, hearing and touch.

Another factor to consider, Multiple intelligence (MI), describes the way our minds think.  There are several good MI frameworks.  I prefer Howard Gardner’s framework.

From a practical standpoint, taken together, learning styles and the concept of MI suggest that effective content communicates the big ideas using multiple entry points. In addition, a well structured assessment of learning allows the learner to demonstrate their understanding through multiple representations (draw a mind map, construct a song, solve a problem).


Do you flesh out the misconception(s) about the topic at the start?

There is quite a bit of research on the role of misconceptions in the learning process. For the most part, people  often bring their own alternative ideas about the subject matter. Alternative explanations tend to be very resistant to change. Therefore, presenting new information does not mean that someone will change their schema.

I consider myself a classic example of resistance. In my opinion,  I have a solid background in chemistry and have received repeated instruction on the dangers of acid and base solutions. Yet, recently, I was quite cavilliar when I accidentally lathered my skin with shampoo (a very basic solution) thinking it to be skin cream. After 4 hours of sleep, I awoke to searing pain. The truth be told, most of us have a fear reaction to the concept of an acid, but carry a solid misconception of the dangers of basic solutions. In my years of receiving instruction, none of my past teachers have every directly confronted this misconception. Misconceptions are very resistant to change through simple direct instruction.

The practical implication means you may need to start with a true or false assessment for learning (pre-assessment) to confront common misconceptions about the topic and branch participants to specific content accordingly.


Learning-styles based training intervention can significantly improve achievement, overall attitude and engagement with the material.

Contact me, Charles Gordon,  for an assessment of your elearning initiative – 866.377.0165 ext 270. Let’s make elearning great!


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