Procurement Academy - 5 Prejudices about E-LearningTogether in a classroom attending an in-company training? Or studying individually behind a computer screen?
E-Learning is growing steadily in Belgium, but reality has yet to catch up with the hype.
An overview of the biggest prejudices about learning via the computer.

Learning using a computer or E-Learning is becoming popular in our country.
We attempt to tackle 5 persistent prejudices.

1. “Performing a Google search is also E-Learning “

“This is not a completely wrong statement,” says Ann Dobeni of Opikanoba, Belgium’s largest developer of customized e-learning. “Yet many companies have a wrong idea of what e-learning should be precisely. What do we observe often? That the slides of a good PowerPoint presentation are mounted, that a voice-over is added and there you have it: e-learning. That is really the killer in our sector. The result is boring, people turn away from it. As with any training you should start by looking for a good didactic concept. Who are the people in your target audience? How do they work? What do you want to teach them? That’s your starting point. And then put together a package that is closely related to the workplace. ”

2. “E-Learning is only useful for software training”

You can train everything by means of the computer, from software to soft skills. “Take the example of a course in ‘breaking bad news’,” says Ann Dobeni. “You can teach the theoretical background and then you can simulate a conversation via the screen. The student is given a list of options from which he can choose an answer. Small gauges allow him to see how his reply comes across. Or he can click to see what the other is thinking.”

3. “The trainer becomes obsolete ‘

“The trainer remains essential for a good training. He becomes a content expert and a learning coach “, says Ann Dobeni. “He guides and supports the learning, via e-mail or social networks. The traditional trainer, i.e. the person who gathers you in a classroom and that makes you learn, disapears. That’s why this pedagogical principle is so important: not the coach, but the content should motivate. Even people without self-discipline must go to work. Therefore the content should be very recognizable. Students should immediately see the benefit.

4. “E-learning turns your employees into clicking monkeys”

Will learning via the computer transform us all into monkeys who eagerly click away pages, but learn little or nothing? “This mis-belief is caused by the flashy PowerPoint presentations,” says Dobeni. “Everything depends on the training.  For instance, we also make Serious Games: computer-games that allow you to access low-treshhold information. We recently developed one for a large company, that wanted to distribute their strategy for the next five years among their staff. Traditionally this information would mainly reach managerial staff. Our twenty-minute discovery game explained the direction that the company wanted to take in the coming years. Ex-post measurements revealed that the overall understanding of the corporate strategy had greatly increased, especially with people who are often on the road.

5. “E-learning is not for my company ‘

“It can be for everyone,”  according to Ann Dobeni. “Yes, customization is only affordable for companies with several hundred employees. But small SME’s can also collaborate. Or choose an off-the-shelf product. These exist primarily for languages, software, prevention and safety in the workplace, … E-learning is the cheapest way to divulge identical information in a short time across many people. And that certainly applies to companies with a two or three languages policy. Training a similar group in a class environment, will cost much more. With e-learning you can achieve up to 50% gain in time. People do not have to travel and also, for example, the night shift can receive training. ”

Some tips for those who are considering e-learning:

• Start small: take a course that is less than 20 minutes. Find a small issue that is interesting for the entire organization.
• Do not invest in software, but in content.
• Provide a positive first learning experience. People need to get a ‘wow’ feeling.
• Do not make e-learning mandatory. Offer it as one of the options in the training program.

(Article published on May 5th, 2012 in ‘De Tijd’ online. Click here to read the original article (in Dutch)).