Top 5 E-learning Myths

For organisations looking for the first time at e-learning in training, the first step is to get a clear idea of what e-learning is—and what it is not. Ideas that were true some years ago might not hold now. Here are five notions about e-learning as a training solution—some true, some false.

#1. “An e-learning course demands that learners be self-motivated”

Myth or Reality: Myth

This is no more true of e-learning than of face-to-face sessions. If your learners aren’t motivated, they won’t learn—and if they are, they will! There is a grain of truth to this, though. Self-motivated individuals might be able to pace themselves better with an online course.


#2. “E-learning is impersonal”

Myth or Reality: It depends

Some learners might prefer classroom sessions with an instructor. Others might learn better from online training sessions in the privacy of their homes. Yet others fall somewhere in between. It’s a fact that e-learning is impersonal, but that might or might not make a difference per se. What does make a difference is the subject matter vis-à-vis the e-learning option. If the topic is “Management skills,” a classroom would probably be better. If the topic is “Company Safety Procedures,” face-to-face sessions would probably have little advantage over a well-authored online course.


#3: “An electronic course needs to be similar to a classroom course”

Myth or Reality: Myth

The term “e-learning” means teaching/learning that is facilitated by technology. An e-learning course can consist of PowerPoint-like presentations, and/or a computer gamesimulation, or online videos. There is nothing inherently good or bad about the typical “classroom” format; what is important is that your learner’s needs are understood during the design of the course.


#4: “Given an option, a more expensive course will be better”

Myth or Reality: Myth

A more expensive course option often means more volume, better design, and greater functionality/interactivity. This is related to the course “level” (see this post.) However, a course with a higher level of interactivity need not always mean a better course. What is important is, as in #3 above, that your training needs be well understood by the course provider.


#5: The e-learning option makes things easy for you

Myth or Reality: It depends

When a training requirement is identified, there is the tendency to imagine that computer-based courseware will “take care of it.” This might or might not happen—that is, your trainees might or might not be able to put the training to use. There are several pertinent questions: Do the trainees need hands-on experience? Do they need training—or just a confidence-boosting exercise? If the training is supposed to impart skill X, do they have the requisite prior knowledge? And so on.