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Am I wrong to hope that someday companies will think of learners when designing their products or services? You remember learners, right? All those people who recognize that each day decisions and lessons-learned shape and influence life and the lives of the people [coworkers, friends, family] around us. I mean more than education-related offerings. I mean magazines, websites, presentations, and the like that are, as best I can tell, supposed to be the vehicles a modern society uses to learn new things and improve the way it works.

For instance, am I the only one surprised by journals that arrive in my mailbox that seem to pay more attention to advertisers than readers? By all the issues that are so weighed down they are no longer portable or digestible? What about software that requires hours learning how to use it before it actually increases productivity? And do you really want to get me started about so-called elearning products (that are at best etraining products) which provide little opportunity to actually learn anything timely or applicable to my daily needs?

The head of marketing for one of the largest elearning companies in the US actually pulled me aside after I spoke at a large industry event a few weeks ago. He told me how displeased he was that I painted a beautiful vision for elearning that begins with the learner in mind. His irritation actually came from the fact that, “People like me” he said, “make people actually believe that companies [like his] should offer learner-focused products when they are just not ready or able to do that yet.” What a horrible burden it must be to help prepare learners to take charge of their own needs and advocate for themselves.

If that inspirational talk aggravated him, this issue may be more than he can handle. I hope it’s just the type of stimulation that will give you new ideas and ways to advocate for yourself and your organization along with the techniques to design new things for the learners you serve.

Our central question asks, “What does a learner require from the design of a website, presentation, elearning program, book, or even conversation to help learn efficiently, effectively, and have fun along the way?”

This issue introduces what a learner needs to have an outstanding experience and to learn as much as possible or appropriate. We try to take this topic as far and wide as possible in order to open our minds and our interest. I hope you will find something new and thought-provoking here. If we’ve designed well (or missed our mark) or if you’re interested in designing articles for our next issue, let us know.

Thank you for your time. Good designing. Good learning.

Comments? Questions? Send them my way at