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I'm often asked to review online learning courses and provide feedback to content owners. My feedback almost always includes this sentence:

Your video is a lecture … and it is too long!

According to researchers, adult learners hate lectures. Lectures also are educationally ineffective. Yet, classroom and online "teachers" continue to use them while expressing their exasperation over lack of learner involvement. Lecture, by definition, isn't designed to encourage learner involvement.

Lecture is defined as an educational talk to an audience. It's not a conversation or discussion with the audience; it's a talk to an audience. Whether you stand in front of a classroom or deliver your talk online, a lecture is a lecture and adults don't learn that way. In a live setting, they might keep their seats out of respect for the teacher. In an online environment, however, they quickly hit the stop button.

This explains why the attrition rate in online learning exceeds 85%. E-lecturing is not e-learning.

It's time to put the learning back into elearning. It is time to stop posting hour-long videos of yourself talking and calling it a course.

Teaching is when an authority communicates ideas or principles. By definition, writers, bloggers, speakers, parents, business leaders, homemakers, pastors, employees, etc. are all teachers!

Though lecture is least-preferred by adult students, it is the weapon of choice for many teachers. Teachers who choose to lecture do so because they value what they have to say more than they value the learning experience. Until they understand what learners want, how learners learn, and how to create awesome live or online courses, they are better off spending their time doing something other than creating courses.

Simplicity has a negative effect on quality. When creating online courses required the expertise of instructional designers, the quality of the courses was better. Now that creating courses has been made easier, the quality has diminished. You don't have to become an instructional designer to create amazing online courses; you just need to understand a few things about how people learn and what they expect from online courses.

Over the past twenty years I have read literally hundreds of books and articles about adult learning, online learning, instructional design, brain science, learning theories, and so forth. You probably don't want to invest several years getting up to speed. So, I have another option for you…

Join me LIVE tonight (Thursday, July 28) at 6:30 PM (CDT) for my FREE webinar entitled How to Teach Like a Pro. In this webinar, I'll share with you some tips and tricks I've learned that have made me the go-to instructional designer for people like Dan Miller (48 Days to the Work You Love), Michael Hyatt (5 Days to Your Best Year Ever and Living Forward), and others.

You must be registered to receive access to the replay. Click here or on the image to sign up now.

There will be no marketing or selling during this webinar. If you want to know how to work with me, check out the links on my website. As for the webinar, I'm actually going to do what the title says without sneaking in an infomercial. Radical, huh?

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Comment by Jen McDonough "The Iron Jen" on August 2, 2016 at 11:17am

Terry, what a valuable post! I do quite a bit of live and in person training around the country and whenever possible enjoy finding ways to "play" and interact with an audience as it definitely gets the lesson across stronger and makes it much more "fun" for the audience. In my industry it makes it even more engaging as most times they are using to lecturing type content which makes for some pretty LONG conferences for attendees. By the time they come to my sessions, they are engaged and into learning.

Looking forward to gleaning how to do this in a online version of training from your coaching sessions. 

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