Our approach to eLearning:
If we had to summarize all of our thinking about eLearning (which I guess is exactly what we have to do here), it would have to be that we believe the most effective learning of ANY kind depends upon the personal experience the learner has during the learning activity. It's true in a face-to-face activity, and it's true in an eLearning activity. If the learner finds meaning in the activity, and is led to become cognitively engaged in that activity, and if they are given the opportunity to practice and demonstrate their mastery of the learning in that activity, learning can be enhanced.
It's all about the experience.
Over the past 30 years, we have gradually developed our approach to designing and creating that type of experience-based learning activity. The result has been the creation of our unique approach to learning design we call TranceFormational Learning(R). TL guides how design learning activities, and how we build those activities. Actually TL simply guides how we think about learning in general.
When designed effectively, eLearning can be as effective, and many times more effective than face-to-face learning. While we do agree that some things are better learned face-to-face, that list is not as long as many imagine it to be. The key is in learning how to use the tools available to create the experience for learners that will allow them to do the learning...regardless of physical location and time.
In our eLearning work, there are certainly times that we create the more traditional "enhanced presentation" type of activity. Sometimes, the "presentation" is all that's needed.
Our believe is that the preferred design approach is not based on some specific tool we like to use, or based on some theory that "video" is the best approach, or "scenarios" are the best approach, or that "3d" is the best approach. And certainly, the design cannot safely be chosen based on a budget. (and better design does not necessarily mean more cost).
With our approach then, the appropriate design approach is usually decided later in the design process, and is based on the experience we want to create for the learner.
That, and that alone, will guide the decision about the most effective eLearning design.
It's a new twist on a very old approach.