When I first heard the call of online learning in the 1980s, I was then a professor of English with a full load of undergraduate teaching and a large primary research program in late 19th and early 20th Century literature and history.

I left academia (physically) in 1985 to design corporate computer-based training. My move was fueled by conviction that personal computing is the first golden key to learning in our era. The Internet is the second. Mobility is the third.

As a humanist rather than technologist, I believe these keys do more than repair institutional deficiencies in education. They are revolutionary. They cut the path to self-instruction, improvement and empowerment that are my pedagogical ideals.

I founded Becker Multimedia ten years into my e-learning career. By serving a wide variety of organizations and industries across the United States, I have deepened my appreciation of e-learning's potential. It can be phenomenal.

But it isn't always. Packaging self-paced instruction in slide decks breaks the promise of e-learning. Every time. The drawbacks of lecture - predictable narrative, superficial interaction, shallow aesthetics - rush in the door as the qualities of e-learning fly out the window.

Serious games, simulations and immersive e-learning are my passions because they work. They fulfill the promise of online learning across all dimensions of value. That is what experience has taught me..