eLearning is still a young field. For every tip, how-to and best practice, there are myths that pervade every discussion of developing, designing and implementing online training.
Here are some of the most common myths we hear.
Myth #1: Only specialists can make good online training. Wrong! While the input of subject matter experts is certainly valuable, you can create online training with just a capable content curator or information manager. By listening closely to the needs of your target audience, and performing careful research you can create online training that is indistinguishable from lessons created by experts.
Myth #2: Only instructional designers can make online training. Again, while the input of instructional designers is certainly valuable, it is by no means a barrier to entry for online training. Tools like Articulate, Camtasia or even just your iPhone make it easy for anyone with something to teach to create online training. Organizations with the best training programs understand this, and encourage employees to openly share their personal expertise.
Myth #3: Interactive is better. Resist clicky-clicky-bling-bling. If it zooms, zings, zips, blinks, glitters, glows - it probably doesn’t have to and you should consider how necessary it is for your course. Unless your simulation or interaction helps reinforce the point of your lesson, take it out.
Myth #4: Learning is a one-time event. If you find that your yearly training sessions aren’t working, the problem may have more to do with how often you offer the training, not with the training content itself. Studies have shown that spaced repetition improves retention. So don't just bring crucial information to your employee’s minds once a year, repeat it occasionally throughout the year for best results.
Myth #5: It takes months to make good training. Call me biased, but there’s no reason that every training situation should require the month(s) long development process required for traditional elearning development.
Myth #6: Training has to be custom. The need for your Excel training or sexual harassment courses to bear your company logo is vanity - plain and simple. It has no direct effect on the quality of the course itself, or on the usefulness of the course to your users. Jane Bozarth put it best in Nuts and Bolts: Buy or Build? when she wrote, “People greatly underestimate the reality of the development process, particularly when considering projects that will involve many stakeholders, contributors, and program assets." You can circumvent this process with equally effective off-the-shelf learning.
What are your favorite elearning myths? Let us know in the comments.
(Image source: h.koppdelaney's Flickr)