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ATD Blog

Making E-Learning Stick: A Q&A with Barbara Carnes


Tue Nov 06 2012


A new book from ASTD Press, Making E-Learning Stick, shows instructional designers new and easy-to-implement ways to increase transfer in both asynchronous e-learning and live, virtual training. I recently chatted with author Barbara Carnes about the new books. Here’s what she had to say.

What inspired you to write the book?


In the past few years more and more of my professional work has been around e-learning. I have designed quite a few corporate e-learning courses, I’ve written several university online classes, and I regularly teach online classes of various sorts. I started thinking about some of the negative comments about e-learning that I’d heard and seen…and started wondering how much of it really was sticking. Of course it was pretty natural for me to think about this since I’ve written several other books on training transfer. I looked for research on best practices and transfer strategies specific to e-learning and started thinking about how they could be applied. 

Who is the audience for this book?

Anyone who is involved or curious about e-learning will be interested in the Transfer model and the techniques: instructional designers and developers, facilitators of live virtual training, training managers, training coordinators. Because many of the techniques involve strategies and activities that should happen before and/or after participants take an e-learning class, training departments will want to decide who should do them. It may be the e-learning designer, or it may be someone else.

What research went into designing the transfer activities?

I took two approaches. I reviewed current peer-reviewed studies on e-learning best practices and transfer. I also took a look at my previous work in Making Learning Stick, and I selected activities that it seemed reasonable could apply or be easily adapted to e-learning. Then I developed a new model that incorporates learning content and activities, trainee characteristics, and work environment for before, during, and after a participant takes an e-learning class. Once I’d drafted the model, I developed specific Techniques to Integrate Education (“TIEs”), which are detailed, step-by-step instructions for techniques that will lead to better transfer and application. Readers can develop their own techniques suitable for their environment and culture from the model, and they can implement the detailed instructions in the TIEs.  


Making E-Learning Stick is now available on the ASTD Store. Barbara is also speaking at our forthcoming TechKnowledge Conference_, January 30­ – February 1. Her session “Make E-Learning Stick: Design Strategies to Increase Transfer of Training” is Wednesday, January 30 from 4:00-5:00._

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