Four Well-Known Learning Industry Experts Commit to Disrupt the Current State of eLearning

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Invitation to Join Michael Allen, Julie Dirksen, Clark Quinn & Will Thalheimer in The Serious eLearning Manifesto

What happened when four industry leading professionals talked about ways to improve the state of elearning?

We have been deeply concerned about the state of elearning. We’ve talked about it, lamented it, grumbled to each other, and wondered how things might change. Finally, we have decided to do something. The Serious eLearning Manifesto is the result.

Working diligently, a band of well-known learning industry authors have said, “enough is enough” with today’s state of elearning. While there are a few shining examples, a large percentage of elearning created today is woefully inadequate. Instead of deep and meaningful learning, most elearning find learners staying away in droves, unless of course the training is mandatory. Many elearning developers and designers say they want to do better, but struggle to put that desire into practice. It doesn’t have to be this way.

So, four learning experts, Michael Allen, Julie Dirksen, Clark Quinn, and Will Thalheimer, have decided it’s time to be disruptive! “For many years, the four of us have been deeply concerned about the state of elearning,” states Will Thalheimer. “We’ve talked about it, lamented it, grumbled to each other, and wondered how things might change. Finally, we have decided to do something about it. The Serious eLearning Manifesto is the result.”

They collectively established in The Serious eLearning Manifesto what they believe is required to use instructional technology as professionals and what is required to earn the right to absorb the learner’s time. The Manifesto is based upon what research and theory says, as well as what experience has taught them.

eLearning can be a valuable experience, but not simply because technology is present; technology must be harnessed to do beneficial things. “Seeing the same old tired concepts with new window-dressing has become too onerous. We have noticed more tools to convert ‘content’ (PDF/PPT) to knowledge dump and knowledge test, more ways to tart up an inherently meaningless interaction, and more ways to track content access instead of looking at whether any learning outcomes were achieved,” opines Clark Quinn.

“It’s unfortunate,” agrees Julie Dirksen, “The elements we need for creating quality elearning are well known, and when used appropriately, the resulting learning experience is both effective and engaging. We just aren’t seeing enough of it.”

This group of authors has enumerated those things that need to be done in The Manifesto. But setting forth principles does not a revolution start―they’ve taken it one step further. By putting forth this Manifesto, they invite all learning professionals to pledge to do the things that are necessary to create an engaging and effective experience for learners whenever and wherever possible. They realize there are constraints and that some projects for clients may not permit some of the design components that are of known importance. But as professionals, the pledge is to do the best we can to find the means to produce learning experiences regardless of constraints that are truly beneficial to learners. “We really want to be part of a movement that improves the learning opportunities everyone has. Things have to change,” stated Michael Allen, CEO of Allen Interactions. “Too much elearning is on the wrong track.”

An initial presentation of The Manifesto with all four authors will take place Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 2:00 PM (US-CT) using Google Hangouts, followed by a live Q&A session. Please join the movement by attending the presentation online, lending your support by becoming a signatory to The Manifesto at, and pledging to do your best to apply the manifesto’s principles in your work.

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Carrie Zens

Caitlin Campbell
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