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Yesterday March 13, 2014 (25 years and 1 day after the internet was born) the Serious eLearning Manifesto was released. As one of the "authors" of the Manifesto, I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of passion around the issue of elearning's unrequited promise. Below I will share some of the endorsement statements so that you can see first-hand the dedication of folks in the elearning field.

Manifesto Overview Graphic

The Manifesto

The Manifesto is an attempt to provide people and organizations in the elearning industry a lever to radically raise the effectiveness of elearning.

  • Helping elearning buyers (CLO's, training managers, CEO's, Deans, School Superintendents) demand better elearning, by pointing to the Manifesto's 22 principles as ideals to be achieved or worked towards.
  • Helping elearning designers and developers by providing design and deployment guidance.
  • Helping elearning vendors guide clients to better elearning designs.
  • Helping elearning shops find the leverage to get resourcing and support for truly effective elearning.
  • Helping graduate schools provide guidance on curriculum decisions.
  • Helping trade organizations develop credentials, provide workshops, and make programming decisions.

           

To read the manifesto or to become a signatory and endorse it:

eLearningManifesto.org

        

To see the Manifesto release video:

Manifesto Release Video

 

First-Day Endorsements by Signatories

150x150xSerious-eLearning-Signatory

You can read these and more–and see who wrote them–by clicking here.

"I wholeheartedly agree with, and endorse this manifesto.  This is what is needed to turn the eLearning industry around and on it’s head, so that eLearning can be meaningful and appropriate to meet the needs of users and their educational requirements."

"This Manifesto finally puts what the eLearning professional strives for into a concise format that can be used as a daily commitment to quality."

"It is important that each of us, in our own organizations as well as our own personal commitment, strive to improve our industry and set higher standards. The Manifesto is a step towards this goal."

"What really speaks to me are the principles that have been outlined. There are many ideals here that I have tried to live up to, then there are those I want to live up to, and a few that I haven’t yet thought of to explore. In a time when budgets often are the first thing that matter in organizations, it’s more and more important to prove and show your worth and value to an organization.  Implementing these principles into each of the solutions that we create for our organizations will and can only solidify our true value."

"The work we do in helping people learn is ‘sacred’ work. If we just create content heavy, learning poor courses we fail in our responsibility."

"The manifesto is based on solid, empirical evidence that supports what we should be doing when we build our e-learning."

"It’s not about training – it’s about performance. I agree with the manifesto."

"People know what lawyers and accountants do and how to buy from them as providers of professional services. e-learning is a younger and far more misunderstood industry. The manifesto codifies what good practice looks like and I hope that we can build from this to giving learners great experiences that shift organisational performance."

"I commit to developing eLearning that falls in line with the Serious eLearning Manifesto. I also commit to encouraging others on my immediate team and in my organization to commit to these principles."

"I endorse the principles of the eLearning Manifesto and believe the importance of using these principles to ensure eLearning meets the amazing potential available for real learning to solve real problems."

"Bravo!  Finally an ‘agile manifesto’ for the eLearning community.  These principles will help all of us focus on performance rather than design ephemera…and stay relevant."

"These principles and guidelines are helpful to not only remind eLearning designers and developers of the important aspects of creating effective eLearning. It also helps us by providing support when we need to explain our new designs to clients."

"The eLearning Manifesto represents a step forward for the field of eLearning.  It accurately reflects the vision we, as eLearning developers,   need to adopt in order to move away from ineffective practice and towards the realization of eLearning’s full potential."

"Exquisitely concise and pragmatic! Implementing even a fraction of the ideas in the Manifesto will make a dramatic difference in the kind of eLearning coming into the world."

"I heartily endorse this manifesto. It supports the research that is available and the 22 guiding principles will definitely lead us as practitioners to develop higher quality learning events."

"I’ve been frustrated with bad eLearning for years.  If clients, stakeholders and subject matter experts agree to follow our lead and accept these principles we can finally improve performance.  Furthermore, my hope is that the authoring tools we use adopt these principles in the development of their software."

"I’m a TV producer new to the eLearning industry and every single point you’ve made is exactly what we’ve been saying to our clients.  It’s fantastic to see these values backed up by industry heavyweights who have done the background research to prove their points. The eLearning industry SO needs to be disrupted because so many content suppliers seem to have an attitude that says, "Hey, I know the courses we’re building are based on tech levels from the 70s but that’s what the buyers want.  And we’re making pretty good dough, so ix-nay."  Really? Thank you so much for calling out the complacency in the eLearning industry. Long live the Manifesto."

"The eLearning Manifesto provides a solid foundation on which all eLearning content should be created. If you’re wondering why your eLearning is not producing positive results – odds are you are not following the guiding principles in the Manifesto."

"I am a television and online video producer and new to the elearning world. My first task was to investigate current standards and what I found transported me twenty years into the past to the dawn of Power Point. The manifesto is clearly needed for learners, the end users, the audience, those that are here to be engaged by the content we design and create for them to improve their lives. Thank you for your dedication to a positive  elearning experience and creating a manifesto that puts elearning on a new path to a bright and exciting future."

"I vow to hold the Serious eLearning Manifesto as the new standard for all eLearning modules produced by our eLearning team. We are committed to interactive, real life scenarios and simulations for improved performance on the job.  Now, the Manifesto will help us make our design and development more powerful in our workplace!"

"It is tremendous that four great practitioners took time to formulate these principles and best practices! In addition, the list of Trustees is a "Who’s Who" of eLearning. This initiative will be a great boon to set standards of quality in our field!"

"The Serious eLearning Manifesto says in writing what we’ve all been whispering to our industry peers for years: eLearning is broken! We’ve had the awareness, knowledge, and skills to fix it for some time, but this coordinated effort and the Manifesto’s principles will boost our desire to act through shared accountability and best practice."

"I have longed to see some recognition of the sorry  state of current eLearning. Certainly there are shining examples of what it can be, but so many examples exist that illustrate how utterly woeful the norm has become. We can do better in meeting the promise that online technology presents us with. The Principles associated with the eLearning Manifesto reflect what we need to start implementing if eLearning is to reach it’s potential. Performance, not content; context, not generic; and consequences, not canned feedback are some of the principles we need to start incorporating as best we can within the constraints imposed in work and education. I wholeheartedly endorse this effort for the sake of this profession."

 

I've been an observer of elearning for almost 30 years. I've seen brilliant, compelling, effective elearning. I've built some pretty damn good elearning too. And yet, after four decades of human effort to improve elearning, there's still way, way, way too much mediocre elearning created each year.

A lot of us have been grumbling about the sorry state of elearning for a long time. Michael Allen, Clark Quinn, and Julie Dirksen and I have had numerous discussions through the years. Finally, having become so uncomfortable with the unmovable status quo of elearning–and feeling a responsibility to do something, anything–we got together last year to strategize on how we could bend the curve of elearning, to help elearning fulfill its promise.

Next Wednesday, we will reveal the result of our efforts.

You can get a little hint of what we've come up with by the name of the effort's website.

eLearningManifesto.org

In a very real sense, Michael, Julie, Clark, and I are mere compilers of the research and work of many. What we've done is to channel the wisdom of scientific researchers, world-class elearning designers, and elearning thought leaders. We have developed a set of values and principles that great elearning–what we're calling Serious eLearning–should possess. We've reality-checked these principles through the feedback of a representative sampling of the world's best elearning–and learning-and-performance–advocates.

Below, I will share our list of Trustees, but let me conclude by sharing my hopes for this effort:

  • That a serious, persistent, and meaningful conversation begins.
  • That more-and-more of us take responsibility to improve elearning.
  • That elearning developers have a guide for elearning design and deployment.
  • That elearning buyers have a set of guidelines to help them procure effective elearning.
  • That graduate schools emphasize the highest levels of elearning design principles.
  • That trade organizations certify at the highest levels of elearning competency.
  • That elearning lives up to its incredible promise for transforming the lives of students, employees, and citizens of the world.

 

Trustees: (listed in alphabetic order)

Clark Aldrich
Managing Director
Clark Aldrich Designs, LLC

Cammy Bean
VP of Learning Design
Kineo

Mohit Bhargava
President
LearningMate Solutions (Canada) Ltd.

Tony Bingham
President and CEO
ASTD

Jane Bozarth, PhD
ELearning Coordinator
State of North Carolina, USA

Bryan Chapman
Chief Learning Strategist
Chapman Alliance

Tamar Elkeles, PhD
Chief Learning Officer
Qualcomm

Joe Ganci
CEO
eLearning Joe

Judith A. Hale, PhD, CPT
CEO
The Institute for Performance Improvement, L3C

Jane Hart
Founder
Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies

David S. Holcombe
President & CEO
The eLearning Guild

Larry Israelite, PhD
Vice President & Manager
Corporate Learning and Development

John C. Ittelson PhD
Professor Emeritus
CSU Monterey Bay

Philip G. Jones
VP, Managing Partner
Training Magazine

Karl M. Kapp, EdD
Professor of Instructional Technology
Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA

Tony Karrer, PhD
CEO/CTO
TechEmpower

Connie Malamed
Learning Strategy Consultant
The eLearning Coach

M. David Merrill
Emeritus Professor
Utah State University

Cathy Moore
Training Design Consultant

Bob Mosher
Chief Learning Evangelist
APPLY Synergies

Koreen Pagano
Learning Consultant

Marc J. Rosenberg, PhD
Marc Rosenberg and Associates

Dr. Allison Rossett
Professor Emerita, Educational Technology
San Diego State University

Roger Schank
John Evans Professor Emeritus, Northwestern University
CEO, Socratic Arts

Patti Shank, PhD, CPT
Author, President, Learning Peaks LLC
Director of Research The eLearning Guild

Eric Shepherd
CEO
Questionmark

Clive Shepherd
Learning Technologist
Onlignment Ltd

Roderick Sims, PhD
Design Alchemist
Knowledgecraft, Australia

Brenda Sugrue, PhD
Chief Learning Officer
Kaplan Performance Solutions

Donald H. Taylor
Chairman
Learning and Performance Institute

Sivasailam Thiagi Thiagarajan
Resident Mad Scientist
The Thiagi Group

Reuben Tozman
CEO
SlideJar Inc.

Ellen Wagner
Partner and Senior Analyst
Sage Road Solutions LLC