Monday, 18 August 2008

My top 5 list of agonising eLearning Myths

Through the last decade some myths got their paws on eLearning. And although a lot of us try to get these myths banned, they keep popping-up whenever I have an introduction talk on eLearning. Because these myths keep on roaring their ugly heads, I have written down my top 5 list of agonising eLearning myths to use them in a small booklet I am working on. I also added my short reply to these mythical questions.

I bet you know (some of) these myths and I am especially interested in your replies. Please feel free to make your own list and send me your blogpost so we can share expertise (or laughs).

1. It is all about Technology

No way, eLearning is all about engaging humans and using technology as an instrument to help people learn. It is a misconception that an eLearner has no social contact with other e-course members. Well-constructed eLearning is about human interaction (discussions, group work...) and monitored and/or guided by tutors, subject matter experts and peer learners. eLearning is all about Learning and human interactions.

2. Everyone knows what eLearning is!

Not at all! Everyone has her or his own definition, even between eLearning professionals there are discussions on what eLearning is or should be. Before starting an eLearning project it is essential that you discuss with all the stakeholders of what there definition of eLearning is and how they see the project being developed.

3. eLearning saves money!

Would not that be nice! Unfortunately eLearning costs. It demands a financial investment in hard- and software (the latest can be kept to a minimum), infrastructure and last but not least in teachers, tutors, developers. In a lot of cases corporations and institutions ask for ROI (return on investment) but what you definitely also need to consider is return on human investment. eLearning costs, but it has definite learning and human benefits.

4. eLearning saves time!

Luckily eLearning takes time. If you want learners to learn content, you would want to invest a lot of time thinking about content, learning objectives, pedagogical methods and all around interactivity. eLearning takes time because it is about teaching people new skills and getting them to rearrange the knowledge they have with updates, new ideas and so on.

5. eLearning is putting text online and adding multiple choice questions!

Argh! There is no course on earth that will have great learning outcomes if this is the only thing you provide to your learners, so why would this approach work for eLearning? eLearning is about interactivity, addressing different learner skills, challenging learners and making them take initiatives... keep your learners active and do not mock them by delivering them boring old-school mash.

‘Cartoon by Nick D Kim, Used by permission.’