Myths about online learning have been circulating since the first LMS was launched. Despite the fact that the eLearning industry will grow to $325 billion by 2025, many of these myths persist. If unchallenged, they can do a disservice to companies that would greatly benefit from the implementation - or expansion - of online learning.¹
3 Online Learning Myths that are Still Common in 2019
1. Online learning is impersonal -- It’s easy to see how this myth got started. We picture eLearning as one person, alone in a room or cubicle, taking a static, standardized course on their computer. We envision eLearning as lacking a human touch and therefore we assume it’s disengaging to learners. This isn’t usually the case. 6 eLearning Myths Busted stated.
“eLearning can include personal touches or synchronous activity. Courses can include social elements that let learners interact with others, collaborate, brainstorm, and feel connected.”²
Customization features in many online learning platforms also help administrators create eLearning experiences that are highly personal. For example, individualized learning paths, LMS reporting, and tools that gather feedback from learners work in tandem to customize learning.
eLearning doesn’t leave learners to their own devices, with no direction or support. On the contrary, modern online learning systems give employees more access to instructors and peers than ever before, and deliver collaborative, individualized, social learning experiences.
2. Online learning isn’t as effective as in-person learning -- Training an employee is expensive, and company leaders understandably want to invest only in learning that will deliver a good ROI.
While in-person, classroom-style learning can be effective, so can online learning. In fact, an MIT study indicated that online learning is just as effective as traditional learning. During the study, MIT researchers had students who were taking an introductory mechanics course take a test before and after the course, which was offered via massive open online learning platform. The amount of knowledge learned was “somewhat greater than in the traditional, lecture-based course.”²
While this study was focused on college students, its results could easily apply to the workforce.
Online learning isn’t superior to in-person training. They are both valuable, and when combined into a blended learning format, they can be especially helpful to organizations. With blended learning, you provide both in-person or live webinar courses to learners, then augment those with online learning. That combination of self-paced eLearning with live training can be a powerful tool for engaging learners and conveying information.
3. The LMS is dead -- For the past couple of decades, the learning management system has been a key tool for delivering employee training. However, the development of new corporate learning technology, such the learning experience platform, the learning record store, and the knowledge cloud has led some people to believe that the LMS is no longer necessary, which is off the mark.
The LMS remains a critical tool for delivering and tracking a variety of types of employee training, including sales and customer service training, technology training, compliance training, and more. Far from being “dead”, an LMS has evolved to become the center of the eLearning platform environment. It works in conjunction with newer learning platforms to enhance the overall learner experience and provides more data for the enterprise.
Don’t Let Common Misconceptions Keep You from Leveraging eLearning to Get Business Results
Regardless of the myths still circulating today, eLearning is incredibly valuable, especially to large enterprises, which is why it’s become so popular so quickly.
It’s the responsibility of professionals in the L&D world to keep up with both eLearning and the myths surrounding it. Understanding common misconceptions can help you dispel them and develop eLearning that doesn’t conform to the stereotypes. Creating and distributing highly engaging, highly personalized eLearning courses to your employees will quickly unravel the myth that eLearning is impersonal, for example.
As you’re dispelling myths, make sure you communication the many business benefits of eLearning as well. eLearning can help your company reach its business goals by cutting costs and increasing efficiency. Combined with powerful examples of effective courses and business results, you can easily help your business begin to leverage eLearning to further its goals.
1. Forbes. eLearning climbing to $325 billion by 2025 US Canvas Absorb Schoology Moodle. https://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2018/07/31/e-learning-climbing-to-325-billion-by-2025-uf-canvas-absorb-schoology-moodle/#1b95416f3b39.
2. Shift eLearning. What’s true and what’s not: 6 eLearning myths busted. https://www.shiftelearning.com/blog/elearning-myths-busted.
3. Bostinno. MIT study: how do online courses compare to traditional learning? https://www.americaninno.com/boston/mit-study-how-do-online-courses-compare-to-traditional-learning/.