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November 2021

Books, vids, and audiotapes

Journal/Book: Training Dev. 1999; 53: 1640 King St, Box 1443, Alexandria, VA 22313-2043, USA. Amer Soc Training Development. 42+.

Abstract: Quick: What's more user-friendly? Microsoft Windows or a book? No contest. Training Media Review editor Bill Ellet makes the case that the good ole training staples-books, videos, and audiotapes-still have a lot to recommend them. In particular, they're low cost, don't have to be turned off during takeoff, and don't crash. Typically, you can buy a $29.95 book on leadership, for example, that contains the same content as a seminar costing hundreds or thousands of dollars. Ellet discusses each medium's virtues in detail, calling books ''the perfect portable.'' As for videos, he extols the educational benefits of their power to tell a dramatic story with the lessons built in. And he points out that no other medium, except live classroom training perhaps, can equal the impact on emotions a well-written, well-produced video can have. Regarding audiotapes, Ellet calls them ''elegantly simple,'' noting that they're based on the most elemental of communication modes-conversation. Ellet deems audiotapes inexpensive, intimate, and a powerful inducement to one's imagination. Ellet compares the three staples with digital media, mostly by cost, and encourages anachronists and media reactionaries alike to stand up and be counted: There's nothing to be ashamed of and a lot to speak proudly about. He also makes the point that all of the snazzy new electronic stuff that's claimed to be on the market is, in fact, not always available-yet. And that, so far, most digital programs have little interactivity. Though Ellet comes down in favor of the oldies but goodies, he does suggest that training professionals be open to and knowledgeable about new media: The digital tools aren't going to go away; they're only going to get better. His last word is that the thing to keep in mind no matter what the tool is standards-based performance. Heal; hear!

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