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5 myths of online learning debunked

In this article I will touch upon several misconceptions about online learning that need to be cleared up, such as: e-learning not being respected by employers; the lack of peer interaction in an online program or a general lack of time for e-learning. 

Wednesday June 21, 2017,

4 min Read

Myths which are believed in tend to become true, in the words of George Orwell. In a workplace context, continuous learning and development are key ingredients to the training, evolution and retention of top talent. Yet despite its growing popularity, online learning continues to be seen in a negative light by employees and employers alike, for a series of different reasons. While some of these objections are grounded in reality, most of them are based on widely circulated myths.

Since you don`t want your employees to feel like they`re stuck in a conventional learning environment, the responsibility to remove impediments in the process and encourage fast-paced learning progress rests with you. So what’s stopping you right now? Here are some common misconceptions about online learning that need to be cleared up: 

1. Online learning is one-size-fits-all

Reality: We are all equal in the fact that we are all different - C. JoyBell C.

Employees are all different and so are their learning styles. In spite of the many advantages inherent to online learning, such as flexibility or convenience, a certain interest among learners/ employees in more traditional formats still exists. As technology moves the world forward – and the learning experience along with it - it`s no longer a surprise that online-based training, webinars, MOOCs, email, video conferencing and cloud-based learning, are now becoming the standard. Against this backdrop, if your employees are not Internet-savvy persons, they might face some challenges in keeping pace with the evolving workplace technology.

Regardless of the almost never-ending “traditional versus modern” debate, there is no disputing the value of personalized learning paths. Having a suitable set of criteria - based on your preferences, abilities and goals - is key to facilitating your learning experience.

Fact80% of employees say it’s very important that their company provide training options to fit their learning styles - Jones/NCT. 

2. Employees do not have time to learn

Reality: Lost time is never found again - Benjamin Franklin. This is exactly why employees should use time efficiently if this helps them do their job better or advance in their career.

If you give team members and employees access to efficient ways of learning, most of them want to learn. It’s not that people don’t have time to learn, it’s that they often don’t have time to sit through hours, days, or weeks of training. They want to learn and it's your job to create a system that helps them do that. And don’t forget: content is still king, so make it relevant. Content in the form of checklists, how-to guides, and a series of steps allow for a better understanding and retention of information. This is also known as microlearning.

Fact: 53% of Millennials say learning new things or having access to professional development opportunities would make them stay at their job. - EdAssist

3. Online training is not self-paced

Reality: The best time to do something significant is between yesterday and tomorrow - Zig Ziglar

Most employees feel divided between the tendency to postpone their online learning activities and the attempt to handle the pressure from strict deadlines. The modern learning experience should provide employees with the flexibility to access content at their own pace.

Fact: 47% of employees want the flexibility to complete training at their own pace — Intercall

4. Employees get isolated in an online program

Reality: No man is an island - John Donne

Employees want a way to share knowledge with others and to be able to collaborate and exchange ideas. It all starts with encouraging employees to interact more online: participate in discussion boards, complete online assignments and activities or make recommendations to peers for other online training courses or resources. When companies support this type of social learning, they support something natural to humans. This will help employees to work smarter, through collaboration and sociability.

Fact: Only 38% of managers believe that their learning programs meet their learners’ needs. — ATD

5. E-learning is not a priority for employers

Reality: Treat employees like they make a difference and they will – Jim Goodnight, CEO SAS

Investing in ongoing training and development is an effective makes employees feel valued and that they are growing with your business. It can be all too easy for workers to feel neglected, or to think they are stagnating in a role that offers limited growth opportunities.

Fact: 40% of new hires leave an organization within a year if they do not receive training. — Vairkko

No pressure, right? Rumours and misconceptions are born out of our tendency to overestimate others` ability to read our minds. An efficient way to dispel them is by filling in the communication gaps and aligning realistic expectations on both ends (employer and employee) throughout the learning experience. And most importantly, the path to understanding your employee`s needs in the learning process is yours to discover.