Despite the fact that elearning has been around for well over a decade there are still misconceptions that surround it and help to influence poor training decisions. A well-informed decision is always the best decision. Therefore, we’d like to clear up some of the misconceptions that we’ve heard throughout the world of training.
1) “It’s Expensive”
The fact of the matter that, yes elearning can be expensive — if you only look at the upfront costs. The truth is that elearning is not an expense, it’s an investment. As an investment, the payoffs will return in the months and years to come.
Furthermore, there are factors associated with instructor-led training that make it very cost-prohibitive. For instance, the cost of getting an outside trainer (lodging, food, etc.). Also, taking away employees from their work also has cost associated with it — especially on mission critical jobs that require someone to watch at all times.
2) “It’s Always Boring”
Sometimes elearning is boring. The reason is that’s because it was designed without the learner in mind. Presentation is key. If the course delivered to employees is little more than a PowerPoint file with a few assessments, then the lack of engagement will be reflected in low test scores and completion rates.
That being said, a course doesn’t have to be completely immersive to be captivating. Even a very basic course can do wonders to stem boredom and keep learners engaged if the instructional design behind it is sound. How the information is displayed is almost as important as the information itself.
3) “It’s Hard To Remember Anything Afterwards”
If looking at the data from the learning management system (LMS) you notice that learners are not excelling, you need to take a hard look at the training itself to see where it could be improved. For instance, the use of assessment throughout the course will help to reinforce the knowledge. In order to be successful these assessments will need to build on previously gained knowledge.
Adding scenarios to a course will also help to imprint knowledge. By placing the learner in a virtual situation that simulates an actual job place scenario, they can better conceptualize it and when faced with the actual situation be able to do their job more successfully.
4) “It’s Too Hard To Use”
Elearning will require at minimum basic computer skills. Therefore, a well-designed course should not serve as an impediment to knowledge. In fact if designed correctly, the experience should be transparent to the learner. As soon as the learner has to take their mind off learning and think “where do I go next?”, they immediately become disengaged. Navigation should be clear, easy to understand, and feel natural to the learner who has never encountered your course before.
Often we see courses that are overly helpful when in fact the help actually is a distraction. If the course has to guide you through the navigation, the problem is with the way the course is designed and not the learner.
Anyone who is implementing elearning in their organization should demand nothing short of the best. Any complaints about the elearning should be taken seriously. Any elearning developer who continues to deliver substandard training in light of these complaints, should not.