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ATD Blog

Tools of E-Learning Hacks


Fri Aug 05 2005


This is an odd industry, sometimes a very cruel industry. What amazed me when I first entered it, and what still amazes me today, was the amount of hacks that people generally accepted as experts. There was/is this bizarre premium on volume and intensity over actually well thought-out and/or well-researched and/or deeply intuitive statements.

The framework/snake-oil of many of these hacks is: say something that superficially sounds smart or interesting, but that can't be taken any deeper.

  • Any statement that starts something like: The X Myths about e-Learning, Training, Learning, or whatever is always suspect. Most of so-called myths have very little supporters, or are bizarrely vague in and of themselves. i.e. Myth #1: E-Training equals E-Learning, or Myth #2: People only learn in formal training situations.

  • Another hack device, one that I have mentioned here before, is invoking every hot new technology. Training/Learning should be more like TiVo, or iPods, or Computer Games, Segways, or Viagra, or GPSs, or whatever. Don't get me wrong: if you are Kurt Squire and just finished your dissertation of actually using the computer game Civilization III in the classroom, I want to hear all about it. But if you just watched your kids playing a racing game on an Xbox, and want to make a sweeeping statement, you don't win visionary points from me.

Anyway, enough of that. I would like to show you how smart I am and tell you why Harvard Business School is doomed. And all of this fancy new technology is a waste as well.

Think about it. Why spend two years of your life, and all of that work and money, to get an advanced degree? The point is to control your life, right? All you really need is an email with tomorrow's winning lottery number. The infrastrucutre is so simple: an email address, which everyone has, and even a very old computer. Text only. You could even get it on your cell phone or pager (that would be m-learning). Or someone could call you and leave a message on the phone and answering machine you already have! And be honest: you may not spend three hours doing all of your homework, but you would definately spend three hours to get to the right store to buy a lottery ticket, right? You would be set for life!

That's the future. Yup, Harvard and all of those other places that just don't get it are doomed.

What is your favorite hack device?

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