3 Common Mistakes that Make E-Learning Less Effective
E-learning is a powerful tool. It’s been gaining popularity in organizational training and development for good reason. But along with the surge in use, I often see a few common mistakes that can be detrimental to any platform’s effectiveness.
These mistakes tend to originate from leaders’ fundamental misunderstanding of the concept. They can have a negative effect not only on the training’s effectiveness but on an organization’s success as a whole. If you’re going to invest in e-learning, you’ll want to be sure to avoid these mistakes.
Mistake #1: Converting classroom-based training into e-learning in its current form
The natural inclination to reduce costs and stay on budget can drive managers to hack together an e-learning platform by simply converting old PowerPoint slides or training manuals directly into an online format. However, statistics show us that reading slides on a computer screen is not only painful but disengaging as well.
The most important factor in any e-learning platform is its ability to engage learners. To be effective, e-learning must be designed with modern instructional design principles in mind. E-learning is meant to enhance the efficiency of your corporate training, but if done poorly, without the appropriate design, it will likely wind up less effective than what you already have. Not to mention you’ll be wasting resources instead of saving money.
Mistake #2: Approaching e-learning as a one-time investment and overhaul
Organizations that get the most out of their e-learning platforms, the ones that are doing things right, take an ongoing approach. Any good instructional designer will tell you that the best e-learning platforms are fluid and need to be proactively managed. Especially today, as industries and technology are evolving at such a rapid pace, e-learning can quickly become outdated and ineffective if it’s viewed as a one-time, static program, and outdated training is bad for the bottom line. E-learning is not a “set-it-and-forget-it” concept. It must always be evolving!
Mistake #3: Assigning development and management as a side project
Again, the inclination to cut costs and the fundamental misunderstanding of e-learning as a concept can drive managers to assign the platform’s development and management as a side project to a current employee – often, one who already has a full workload. In order for e-learning to be worth the investment, it needs to be developed and managed by someone with the training and skills to do so full time. This professional needs to have an understanding of best practices, instructional design, current trends, and training and development as a larger concept. If you’re going to invest time and resources in e-learning at all, it needs to be done correctly, by the right professional.
There are of course, many other mistakes that organizations can make when it comes to developing and managing their e-learning platforms. However, these are some of the most common, and most damaging, that training leaders can make. The bottom line is that e-learning is a great way to enhance your organization’s success across the board, but if you’re going to invest, you must do it right. You need to have a firm understanding of what makes it so powerful and the right professionals in place to roll it out and manage it effectively. Otherwise, you could be wasting valuable resources and doing your organization a disservice instead.
Katy Tynan is an expert in leadership development and talent strategy. She is the author of “Survive Your Promotion” and the upcoming book “How Did I Not See This Coming: A Manager’s Guide to Avoiding Total Disaster” (ATD Press, November 2017). Katy is chief talent development strategist at CoreAxis Consulting.
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