When e-learning was first proposed as a viable alternative to classroom-based learning, many organizations were skeptical. And, at the time, their suspicions were well-founded. Unfortunately, while the quality of e-learning has improved greatly over the years, many of these early misconceptions have yet to fade way.
Here are some of the top myths many organizations have about e-learning, and why they’re either not true, or not the complete story.
1. E-learning aren’t as effective as classroom-based learning
There are certainly many ineffective e-learning programs, just as there are poor classroom experiences. The medium used to deliver the class content isn’t nearly as important as how it’s executed and evaluated.
Over the years, many e-learning programs have proven themselves to be just as effective as their traditional counterparts when it comes to learning. One aspect of e-learning that plays a key role in effectiveness is the self-paced learning.
In e-learning, learners can stop to reflect whenever they want, or return to previously-delivered content, and thus ensure a deeper understanding before continuing. This is what Vygotsky (1896-1934) called ‘Scaffolding’ – learning at a level that is appropriate to the learner’s capability.
This flexibility of pace gives the learner time to digest and reflect on the information being presented, and time to integrate it into their existing understanding and context. This is how they make sense of it and how they are helped to embed it in long-term memory ready for application.
Hence, e-learning has improved significantly in terms of effectiveness, and is now a fitting alternative to classroom-based learning.
2. Employees don’t like e-Learning
This is a half-truth.
The truth is that employees don’t like tedious e-Learning programs, especially when they conflict with their work schedules.
There are good e-learning programs that are user friendly and do not force employees into a strict e-learning schedule — if anything, the ability for users to study when it’s most convenient for them is one of the most important features of e-learning compared to classroom-based learning.
Giving employees the opportunity to study at their own pace and at their own place (or commute) increases the chance of their liking e-learning and getting value from it.
3. E-learning is easier than classroom-based learning
Some organizations enroll their employees for e-learning programs in the belief that it’s very easy. So it looks, but that’s not the case.
It’s important to realize that e-learning is not an easier way to learn, but rather a more convenient one. It demands every bit as much time and attention as traditional classes. So employees need to dedicate a significant amount of their time, consistently take the sessions, be concentrated while studying, and fully commit to their learning process, just as they would do for a classroom-based learning.
In other words, e-learning requires commitment, self-discipline, willpower, and strong motivation. Without these, it may be challenging for employees to successfully complete their e-learning programs.
4. Employees abandon online courses
Some organizations believe that employees will abandon online courses. There’s a tendency for this to happen but some e-learning providers have a good learning management system that prompts and encourages participants to complete their training thereby reducing abandonment rate.
In another perspective, this myth will become true if the organization fails to put control measures in place to encourage completion. If employees are not motivated or are not given the reasons to take their online learning seriously and complete it, many will abandon.
5. E-learning must be fun
No. Rather, e-learning must be valued. The goal of an e-learning program is to improve job performance and business results. This is accomplished by delivering engaging, relevant and valuable information to employees.
In conclusion, do not let these myths prevent your organization from adopting e-learning and getting the benefits that it offers.
Some of the key benefits are that it saves organizations huge costs, encourages continuous learning, enables organizations to train more people, gives good learning outcome, and makes learning progress measurable.