Here are reasons not to print courses for a review:
- It is important for anyone reviewing a course to not just look at content, but to review the entire learning experience including the delivery medium.
- If they themselves are not willing to participate online how can they expect, or request, our audience to participate.
- Online courses are very often non-linear. Thus, do not fit in a printed, linear format.
- Courses are interactive. They may contain anything from simple rollovers to complex games or simulations. Interactivity does not translate to a printed page.
- Once printed it is occasionally handed around for others to review without the designer's knowledge. This can result in not being able to identify the origins of edits, if needed. It can also result in draft content mistakenly being distributed to the end user. This can all be prevented by setting appropriate access in an LMS.
- Depending on the authoring tools used, it can be time consuming to print a course. For example, a course that contains many interactive Flash elements will require many screenshots to be taken. Time is better spent on on design and development.
- It is more environmentally friendly to review online. As a fellow e-learning designer said to me recently, "I killed many trees with "WBT to be printed out" for SMEs, higher ups, etc."
The reality is people reviewing courses are going to push for a printed version and sometimes the only way to get them to review it will be to comply. However, I am not going to comply without at least explaining the importance of an online review. In the end, even if I send them a printed version, or screenshots, I always supply easy access to the online course along with several reminders of how important it is to also review it online.