I work for an elearning company. This means I spend a lot of time explaining what elearning is, how it's used and answering questions like “what does social media have to do with it?”
And some of the misconceptions I hear about elearning are incredibly disappointing, because there's so much innovative work going on "in the wild" that doesn't conform with the popular concept of elearning as boring, out-of-date or ineffective. Here are my responses to some of my favorite myths and misconceptions.
Myth: eLearning courses are boring.
Truth: eLearning can be engaging and even addictive.
A text-only, graphic, interactions or design-free PowerPoint presentation can definitely be pretty boring. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are some great examples to disabuse you or your colleagues of that notion:
- Kevin Thorn's Mission: Turfgrass
- Anything on Tom Kuhlmann's Rapid eLearning Blog. Check out his April Fool's Day prank for an example of great, engaging design.
- Convergence Training's Hand Safety or Compressed Air Fundamentals. Safety training with some personality!
If you’re an instructional designer or elearning developer, here are some tips on making your courses and elearning environments more engaging by:
- Cutting out the fat.
- Creating a social learning environment.
- Using video, games, augmented reality and mobile technologies to bring the learning information into the learner’s every day life.
Myth: Building eLearning is expensive, time-consuming and staff-intensive.
Truth: None of the above are necessarily true!
Here’s how to build, purchase and create inexpensive elearning resources:
- Open educational resources (OERs) like the Khan Academy and the MIT OpenCourseWare project put high quality resources at your fingertips.
- Put free tools to work in your organization. Whether you’re using free mobile apps, Twitter, YouTube, Evernote, Juxio or GoogleDocs, it’s quick and easy to use free tools to promote communication and collaboration in the enterprise.
- Video. If you can’t afford to build a custom elearning course or if you simply need something right now, use your phone, camera or webcam to create quick video clips explaining the key points. Whether an interview with a subject matter expert or a demonstration of a new process, make sure you keep your course short and to the point.
- Shop from our diverse library of off-the-shelf elearning courses.
Myth: Social learning? You mean social media?
Truth: Social learning happens with or without social media in your organization, but social media can make the social learning process faster and more dynamic.
Here’s some resources on creating a social learning environment in your organization:
- Creating a Social Learning Environment
- Encouraging Participation in Your Social Learning Environment
- Building Trust in Your Social Learning Environment
- Twitter for Beginners
And don’t forget the most important message of all: Learners will learn whether you help them or not. The most important thing you can do is create an environment that makes learning possible.
Image credit: Rob Shenk on Flickr