Saturday, June 20, 2009

Where Organizations Go Wrong With e-Learning

A post on e-Learning Guild's group on LinkedIn asked, "In What Ways Do Organizations Get eLearning Wrong?" This question really got me thinking. There are many organizations that get it right, but many get it wrong too. Here are my thoughts on pitfalls organizations must avoid.

  • Not knowing the difference between an e-learning designer and an e-learning developer. Companies that only employ staff with development skills will end up with courses that look nice, but are not instructionally sound. Note: If the budget does not afford both a designer and developer, then find someone with both sets of skills.

  • Letting subject matter experts write courses. Again, an e-learning/instructional designer is needed to create engaging, instructionally sound courses.

  • Not conducting a needs assessment prior to creating a course. A needs assessment, even if done informally, is the only way to identify the audience's learning needs, if any. Too many training departments act as order takers and end up creating courses that are not addressing the solutions needed.

  • Not identifying if e-learning is an appropriate medium for specific training needs. Some things ARE best delivered in the classroom.

  • Creating page turners, ugh! Courses can be non-linear. And they should also be interactive and engaging.

  • Not evaluating courses.

  • Thinking e-learning is only __________. e-Learning is a breadth of training approaches. It is not just asynchronous online courses. e-Learning is also synchronous courses, blended learning, informal or social learning, etc. And within these there are many, many types of delivery mediums and approaches. And more on the horizon.

Feel free to add to the list.


  1. A subset of e-learning=page-turners:

    Corporate: e-learning=Powerpoint (ugh)
    Academic: e-learning=recorded lecture (ugh)

    Also, a lot of large corporations assume that e-learning refers only to stand-alone self-study modules, linear or not. Nuts! People in organizations would croak without their email and their webmeetings, but somehow they think trainers have no business with this kind of socially interactive technology. Blech!

  2. [...] Where Organizations Go Wrong With e-Learning This was chance for me to gripe about the crazy, frustrating things I have seen. [...]


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