>>> Here is a very timely article. From 4-21-04. Alan G
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The 10 Myths of eLearning

Using technology to teach employees, partners and customers about products or services has been common since the days of 16 mm film loops and Kodak slide shows. Today marketers and trainers are looking to the Internet to provide “Anytime, Anywhere” motivational and educational communications. Some, however, have been deterred by one or several of the prevailing myths about eLearning. Let’s explore the ten reasons why marketers and corporate educators are hesitant to use this powerful and effective electronic medium.
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#1 It's too expensive
This is simply not true. An accounting of the expenses related to classroom training such as travel and employee down time can quickly justify an eLearning initiative. And corporate trainers do justify the launching of an eLearning program with an ROI analysis, detailing the savings achieved through distance learning. (A sample ROI spreadsheet can be obtained from Bill Horton at www.horton.com/leading.) However, if one considers the Internet as a tool for delivering successful training, the cost of eLearning is further reduced. Today, trainers are convinced that multiple delivery methods, including the classroom, are necessary to accomplish successful training. E-mail can be utilized in a systematic way to expose recipients to training content. MS Outlook can be used as a low-cost learning management system to track student assignments (as opposed to the millions major corporations are spending on tracking.) Local web developers can be employed to create html portals that provide a “home” for company MS PowerPoint presentations and other training materials. Outside web hosting services (like www.presidia.com) can also provide low cost development services to accomplish your eLearning objectives on a budget.
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#2 It takes a long time to develop
Web Content Management Systems can reduce the development time of web courses from months to weeks. Content is always king. The majority of eCourse development resources usually are in the upfront costs of organizing the material. Trainers and marketers already know how to accomplish this pre-development phase. Teaming up with developers who use templates and who follow a development process can significantly speed eLearning to market. Consider, too, that the course you want to build might already be available for a small licensing fee.
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#3 It needs significant internal technology resources
Not true. Certainly, it would be advantageous if IT were able to support eLearning development, but outsourcing it is often the most cost-effective and fastest route. Hosting, development, and Learning Content Management System software (authoring & tracking tools) can be licensed via an application service provider model. The beauty of the Internet is you can outsource these services and software anywhere in the world. Fortunately there are many good ASP’s specializing in eLearning right here in the good old US of A.
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#4 It's limited by Internet bandwidth
High Speed Internet is available virtually everywhere! AOL’s future depends on it. Cable modem and DSL have made significant increases in market share throughout 2003. Progressive employers will be funding home use high-speed access for employees at a probable annual cost of less than $500.00 per year. They have come to understand that if an employee completes 25 hours of training in a year at home, for both company and personal development, it pays for itself and they have offered another employee benefit. Lastly, the proliferation of web conferencing for corporate meetings is quickly making high-speed connections a given.
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#5 It puts trainers on the unemployment line
Blended eLearning has become the standard today. Use of the Internet simply shortens the amount of face-to-face classroom time. Trainers are in high demand to provide instructional integrity for the eCourses developed. Learning objectives, lesson topic structure and instructional games are necessary to keep teaching effective whatever the delivery method.
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#6 It's impersonal
Companies are finding new ways to use the Internet to touch their employees, partners and customers. Nationally recognized specialists and sales trainers are replacing live seminars with daily e-mail touches and assignments. Web-based threaded discussion boards enhance mentoring programs by allowing mentors to reach more students. Speakers on live web conferences are using innovative ways to engage desktop users and ensure their interest.
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#7 Employees will not accept it
Evaluation results have shown that employee acceptance runs high when a blended approach of web conferencing, classroom, and stand-alone web courses are utilized. Financial institution employees using eLearning for compliance training appreciate the ease of use, and anywhere, anytime access to complete this yearly requirement.
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#8 It does not allow for human interaction
eLearning can actually increase human interaction. Role-playing exercises can be simulated using Internet technologies. Proper branding of a training web portal can increase knowledge dissemination. Leadership mentoring programs can take on new emphasis.
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#9 It's too difficult to change
eLearning is no more difficult to change than other electronic training media. The complexity of content change depends entirely on the quality of the original program. PowerPoint is frequently being used as a web course authoring tool. Real-time webcasts are being archived as learning nuggets associated with a curriculum. And a web-based content management system can make editing an eCourse as simple as “cut & paste.”
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#10 Competitors will steal it
Yes, they will, if the eLearning is left unprotected. eLearning should be endorsed and enabled by IT staff; a primary responsibility of IT, as with all firewalls and password protection.
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It’s time to take a fresh look at eLearning and to dispel the old myths that have been keeping your training or marketing department from fully utilizing the web to improve motivation and education at your organization. Learn more about why eLearning is coming of age from the resources available at www.astd.org and www.trainingconference.com.
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