8 Reasons Training Managers Avoid e-Learning

e-learning avoidance tactic

Confession: this has been a fun post for me to write. I’ve been involved in e-learning sales and implementation in some capacity for around 13 years and many of the same objections to e-learning  come up time and again. My responses are mostly what I would like to say but am much too polite!  If I’ve spoken to you recently and you’ve proffered one of these comments, then I apologise but it’s not about you – really. They’ve all been said before, many times. If this was a book there would be a disclaimer at the front saying that all characters are fictional and any resemblance to real people is entirely a coincidence. Here goes…

“Tried it, didn’t work”
Have you ever provided a classroom training course that didn’t work? You know you have. Are you still delivering classroom training? And how long ago did you use e-learning anyway? Things are marching on at a rapid pace. And E-learning courses are not all the same.

“Our staff won’t like it.”
How do you know? At best that’s a guess. At worst it’s an excuse. Or do you mean you don’t like it? Perhaps that’s because of the reason below….

Scared of technology (the hidden secret!)
Many trainers who work their way up to management have been busy delivering training for years and some haven’t kept up with technology. Not surprising with all the travelling, delivery time, prep time and follow up that goes with the job. But don’t forget your own CPD. Technology is part of the game and isn’t going to go away.

“People didn’t use e-learning enough.”
This is a common problem in a large organisation but it’s also easy to avoid. Ask yourself this – how do you get people using classroom training? Do you just dump a bit of blurb on the intranet somewhere and wait to see how many people turn up? If you do that with e-learning you won’t get many showing up for it either

“We have to make all courses available to everyone so it will cost too much.
Really? Why? I just don’t understand this theory. You don’t provide the same classroom training to everyone – why do you feel you need to do this with an online training course?

“Our staff don’t have access to PCs/don’t know how to use computers.”
Well some do if you’re still in business!  Chances are, the rest are going to have to learn sooner or later. Perhaps it’s time to get them some IT training? Most employed people have a computer or mobile device at home so you’ll probably find many of them have at least basic IT skills. This reminds me of a council client who did a qualification and skills audit with all staff and were amazed to find out how that some of their bin men and street cleaners had PHD’s and other high level qualifications when they expected them to struggle using a mouse.

Our IT staff won’t allow it. “
Who’s running the company anyway? They might not allow it on ‘their’ servers or request that you buy a new server for it which is understandable (but usually means you get an old one and they get a shiny new one for something else. ) The easiest solution is to have your provider host your courses for you or you can set up a Moodle site and add what you like to it.  If your internet is locked down it’s a simple case of setting it to allow a particular site.

“We don’t have the budget”
Ok, so you can’t magic money out of thin air to buy the stuff but online learning is often the most cost effective method of training. Cheaper even than getting other staff to do the training (assuming this is taking them away from the job they are paid to do.) There are lots of hidden costs that you’ll avoid too like travel and time savings. Maybe it will even help you to find the budget for other training you need to do. For example you could save money with online courses in compliance topics such as safety training and equality and diversity thus carving out budget for something else.

So there you go. I’m obviously biased towards e-learning. But are you biased towards classroom training? Well the good news is that you don’t have to choose sides. The classroom is a wonderful place and online courses can make it even better.

2 Responses to “8 Reasons Training Managers Avoid e-Learning”

  1. Peter Styles said:

    Jun 15, 11 at 12:28 pm

    I was interested to read your post, and agree with you that many of the reasons training managers give to avoid learning technologies can seem like excuses.

    With this in mind I thought I’d recommend a whitepaper ’27 ways to leap over e-learning barriers’.


    It addresses many of the challenges you mention, such as how to employ a communications campaigns to make learners aware of training programmes and moving on negative experiences.

    This guide gives best practice tips to avoid the pitfalls by learning from expertise and past experience.


    Peter Styles

  2. admin said:

    Jun 15, 11 at 12:47 pm

    Hi Peter

    Your whitepaper sounds interesting too :-) Thanks for sharing. I’ll take a look when I get the chance.


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