The elearningmanifesto is too hard, I prefer the dlearningmanifesto I just made up

By | March 14, 2014

Like many others in the eLearning field, I watched Michael Allen, Julie Dirksen, Clark Quinn, and Will Thalheimer present the elearningmanifesto, which, if this were a serious post, I would strongly suggest absorbing and adopting.

However, such is not the case (the part about the serious post), let me spend a few minutes expounding on what I call my “dLearning Manifesto” — add your comments about what the “d” might stand for, perhaps “dumb”, “dry”, “delightful”, or even “daiquiri-induced” (but then it would be diLearning Manifesto, so let’s strike the last suggestion, no wait, I guess you could still pronounce it the same.

[Update 4-22-2014: upon reflection, the ‘dLearning’ is exactly right to mean “de-learning”, or un-learning. In technical circles, this is called lazy evaluation, meaning wait until you absolutely have no way to do something before actually doing it, which is the way I roll]

Well, at the risk of alienating Michael Allen, Julie Dirksen, Clark Quinn, and Will Thalheimer to the point they not only would never communicate with me, but also avoid visiting cities I may be located in, here it goes.

You will see that my dLearning Manifesto has only 10 supporting principles, frankly because I got tired after number 10. Once you take a look at these, I think we all can agree it probably was a stretch to do more than 5 of these, or so. I invite others to add their own points, because isn’t user-generated content a great excuse for me having to work too hard in presenting something complete? [I’m smelling an 11th principle, maybe!]

Also, I was going to set up something where people could be signatories, but again, too much effort. Maybe I’ll make a sticker or something, one day.

) <- hey look here, did you think I forgot the closing parenthesis in the second paragraph? Psych!!

The Manifesto

We believe that new technology offers the possibility for creating lucrative opportunities to disguise the latest fad as a learning innovation.

We also believe, with a great sense of relief, that the failure of most elearning to deliver on its promise does not hamper our ability to con the same audience into something else next year.

We further believe that the future of negligible improvements in elearning design is ok by us, because our industry is kind of behind the curve, and making any real change–not to mention radical or ‘bending the curve’–is going to be rejected by our bosses or customers, and we’ll probably lose our jobs faster than if we just keep doing what we’re doing.

Finally, we have concluded that in order to keep our jobs, we need to begin with a personal commitment to a new set of standards that can sort of cover what we’ve been doing all along, but sound like it’s a commitment to improve and doesn’t hamper our ability to pretty much churn out whatever we want.

Through blind neglect, or infrequent and poor assessment of learner performance, the elearning experience can continue to waste much of the learner’s time, overgeneralize or complicate the content presentation so much so to make anything coincidentally relevant to the learner too subtle, boring, or fleeting for any practical absorption or transfer to proficiency.

Oh, and it has to have a game or a simulation.

dLearning graphic

Jonathan Jingleberry


Supporting Principles

1. Learning is Usually Always the Solution and the Answer

We can safely assume that a learning interaction can solve virtually all work problems or product deficiencies, especially when done in 3D.

2. Tie Learning to Entertainment

Learners learn best when they have fun, so make learning fun as the top priority.

3. Target Improved Performance

Did I catch you by surprise with this one? That’s a good lesson to learn, surprise your learners. Actually, I stole this off the eLearning Manifesto to show how erudite I am, and, because frankly, who would target poor or mediocre performance? (that’s a rhetorical question, in case you’re wondering)

4. Get Realistic Practice of Using the Neatest Tools Available

Whoever made the platform clearly knows learning best, so try to learn and use all the tools and features the platform offers.

5. Provide Guidance and Feedback

In a really slick way (refer to Principles #2 and #4).

6. Aim for Long-term Projects

It’s best to tackle a lot before trying to gather any meaningful feedback because then the stakeholders are already really committed to you and your approach.

7. Use Interactivity as Much as Possible

In other words, have the learner click and drag on a lot of things. That demonstrates the learner is actively engaged with the learning.

8. Measure Effectiveness

Good learning cannot be assured without measurement, which includes the following:

a. Measure Outcomes

Ideally, we will measure whether or not we produced a sufficient quantity of training to fill the time someone figured learner’s ought to spend sitting in front of the screen.

b. Measure Actual Performance Results

This means ‘how well did the training perform?’ Accomplish this by making sure to ask the learner if he or she liked the training. People learn when they like things (refer to Principle #2).

c. Measure Learning Comprehension

Did the learner comprehend how smart you, the instructional designer, are? Again, your post-learning survey is going to tell you things like this.

9. One and Done

Aim to complete your course or class in one shot, rather than doing any meaningful testing or iteration. Aren’t you busy enough that you don’t have time to refine anything? Of course you are, that was another rhetorical question.

10. Make Sure You Set Your Learners Up to Make some Mistakes

That’ll show how important it is for you to create more learning, to solve those problems (refer naysayers to Principle #1).


We acknowledge this is a pretty flimsy but not exhaustive list, and further, the ideas embedded in this list were drawn from, and inspired by, high levels of sugar and caffeine, and captured at a particularly sleep-deprived period that reduces inhibition and resists careful thought or reflection.


3 thoughts on “The elearningmanifesto is too hard, I prefer the dlearningmanifesto I just made up

  1. Lori

    You mean this isn’t what most client’s want? LOL 😀

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