I have noticed a distinct trend in recent months “the terrifyingly complex learning module.” After a period of increasing recognition that there is a need to “keep it simple,” the age of the mega-complex material is making a comeback, and I think I know why.

Elearning has been very successful in many ways. It’s approachable, addresses the needs of the mobile generation, is self-paced, and most importantly less expensive than gathering folks in a classroom for in-person training. Arguably part of its success has been simplicity – a focus on understandable information that can help build the learner’s confidence as they learn a new subject.

You can explain anything
Explainer videos for complex subjects?

I also know that it’s sometimes hard to dumb things down. Complex subjects have a whole lexicon of buzzwords and their own alphabet soup to go with it. It’s often easier, especially when converting existing training, to scoop up the current material make it the script and be done.

I don’t think laziness is the cause of this current trend. I think it’s more systemic than that. Basically, it seems that we’re getting a bit bored. Storyline and other tools have made eLearning ubiquitous, so much so that many modules look almost the same even if they are from different sources. Not every company wants a new design for each course and a cool looking player to go with it.

Just because something is ubiquitous does not make it inherently bad. We should all focus on sticking to the emerging best practices for eLearning and challenge ourselves to do the hard work of making the content suitable for the medium, especially “keep it simple.”

Users don’t want to know how smart we are or how complicated we can make it.

Just a thought!