In probably all areas, experts like to distinguish between principles and tactics.
Tactics are tips, tricks, and techniques that get results.
When they work, great – you don’t have to know anything other than how to use them.
When they don’t work, however?
Sometimes a slight change in context, wording, or circumstances can end a tactic. They tend to be fleeting – they only work in certain situations and at certain times.
If all you know are tactics, you’re in trouble.
The principles are different.
They explain how tactics work and allow you to modify them – or even create new ones.
They tend to rarely change, even though the culture and technology around them changes.
Hobbyists like tactics because they are easier to learn. And the really naive think that’s all they need. You can spot them on forums and at conferences, asking questions like “how to write a bestselling novel” or “what’s the formula for writing sales letters?” “
Both of these questions have answers. “Write one chapter per day, at least” and “AIDA” respectively.
But those alone don’t tell you how to write a book or a sales letter. They help, of course, but they are insufficient.
The only real answer is to learn the principles of your trade.
Of course, it will take longer, it will be more difficult, and you will not be able to apply what you learn immediately.
Plus, you’ll have to * gasp * to think for yourself – figuring out how to apply the principles is half the job.
Why am I talking about this anyway, in an article about low-tech learning?
Because if you are an eLearning developer, there are a lot of high tech platforms out there. Sharing community videos, AI-driven curation, multimedia feasts for the senses …
All of them add new tools to your repertoire.
However, if you don’t understand the principles of eLearning, they won’t help you. The fanciest car can’t help the worst driver.
When you understand the principles, you can see how to use these new, high-tech tactics.
You can also bypass them.
I have created fun, engaging and effective courses using only text forums. These looked like stuff from the beginning of the web – hideous, unfriendly, and definitely low-tech.
And I created them using only PowerPoint. When I say ‘nothing’ I mean without even including an instructor. It was at your own pace, with nothing but text and images.
It was good. It was actually easy.
When you understand how adults learn, what motivates them, what is fun and engaging, what would surprise them, then technology becomes a must.
The only thing that is essential is that you know what you are doing.