Interesting comment and very much on the mark. Most in the e-learning industry have their heads in the worng places - thinking of themselves and not their students. We have a forum in Aust that claims to have over 4000 registrants, yet less than 20 regularly contribute to the forum (Government sponsored) and if you post anything that challenges their "status quo" you are banned from the forum.
Self sustaining idelists :-((
remember - without the learner - there is no training - CJA 2001
Keep up the writing
As an experienced teacher who worked for two years developing and delivering Modern History online for two years (synchronously and asynchronously), I concur with your hypothesis. Successful online learning requires a combination of pedagogy, innovative use of new technologies, and most importantly human interaction that encourages and supports the learning experiences. Expecting to be able to meet all learners' needs by providing asynchronous online content (however flashy and "interactive") is demonstrating a lack of knowledge of the social aspect of learning and the variety of learning styles that already exist - let alone the new ones emerging as a result of elearning capabilities.
We found that the email element was a siginficant factor in student involvement. This was used for student-student communication as well as extensive teacher-student support - luckily we had small numbers so it was manageable.
In addition, Discussion Boards for both student-student contact and problem solving as well as required response to "hypotheticals" created and moderated by the teacher provided a vital human connection during the two year course. It was interesting to see communication sophistication grow as the students matured and felt comfortable with the new media.
Since starting my consultancy, the biggest "hurdle" I have found is convincing corporations investing in elearning that there is more to ensuring online learner success (and hence ROI) than "shovelware" - irrespective of how flashy it may appear. "Click and Flick" does not equal effective learning - or even thinking. Even content that has some real learning design is so much concentrated at the low end of thinking skills! There is very little elearning that requires learners to actively connect cognitively with the content and demonstrate interpretation and evaluation of the stimulus -and transference to new personal knowledge/learning.
Only by engaging the learner in real cognitive activity at a variety of levels and requiring them to demonstate new knowledge to others (social element) can we ensure that elearning is effective.