Overcoming 15 Common Objections to Online Learning

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Growth Engineering have been in the online learning business since 2004. Yet, we still hear objections that claim that online learning isn’t a suitable training solution. These objections range from online learning being too hard or easy, to it being too confusing or costly. 

Quite frankly, we think this is codswallop. So, in this blog, we will systematically overrule the 15 most common objections to online learning. We’re here to say nay to the naysayers. We hope you’ll learn a lot along the way.

Keep your mind open, and let’s dive in!

Objection 1: There is no link between learning technology and profit

One of the most common objections we hear is that online learning does not make profit. Luckily, we have proof that helps us to overrule this objection!

Online learning programmes are often more convenient than classroom learning. As such, it’s no surprise that eLearning often results in increased employee satisfaction and engagement.

The link between career development and employee engagement is also well established. In fact, 94% of employees would stay with a company longer if it invested in their professional development. When you show commitment to your learners, you will get increased employee retention in return. And as we know, intellectual capital is directly linked to organisational success.

Online learning gives employees more control over their learning process. They can repeat, review and learn as needed. As a result, eLearning can boost knowledge retention by 25-60%. Think about the impact this would have on your business. Employees with improved skills have been shown to boost volumes and raise profits

Learning technologies also give you the tools you need to measure the efficacy of training. This, in turn, enables you to fine-tune content to get the best return on your training investment. This data lets you allocate training resources more effectively so that your training dollars stretch further.

A learning management system (LMS) is an investment that reduces learning and development costs. While costs may be higher initially, the courses can be re-used numerous times. For instance, IBM saved $200 million after moving to online learning.

However, online learning is not a magic wand that automatically leads to profit. But in the right hands, you can see mind-blowing results that lead to real business impact.

Did you know? Today, 90% of organisations use some form of online learning in their training. Yet back in 1995, just 4% of organisations used eLearning.

Objection 2: Online learning is more expensive than traditional learning

The truth is quite the opposite! Online learning methods are known to be more cost-effective and less time consuming than traditional classroom training. Online learning makes costs related to transportation, catering, real-estate and instructors a thing of the past. 

However, the overall cost-efficiency of your solution will depend on your training requirements. Going for a vendor purely because they are cheaper might actually end up being more expensive in the long run. 

Your investment is more likely to pay back and increase ROI if the learning platform is engaging and easy to use. Cheaper alternatives often lack features that will help you to make a real impact within your organisation.

Disengaged employees cost U.S companies up to $550 billion per year. As such, engagement is our main priority. We make our learning technology solutions engaging by adding features like gamification and social learning

By focusing on engagement and making learning fun, we ensure your learners will keep coming back for more. They can also put their newly acquired skills into action straight away. And as a cherry on the top: our engaging training solutions are proven to result in meaningful business impact.

Did you know? Organisations using The Academy LMS have been able to improve their teams’ performance by as much as 75% year-on-year.

Objection 3: Online learning isn’t as effective as face-to-face learning

Online learning has a reputation for being boring and unengaging. But well-executed online learning has immense benefits. Learning technologies are often time-efficient, as they collect all your learning data together in one place. 

This data can then be exported and manipulated to provide further insights. Managers can then provide real-time feedback for their learners and tweak content if needed. 

Online learning interventions are also often more cost-effective than traditional training. The scalability of your learning platform gives you more flexibility. It’s as easy to train 10,000 employees as it is 10. That’s why you’ll often see the price per head come down as your userband increases. 

Online learning is also more flexible overall, as your learners can learn at their own pace.  In fact, being able to control the pace of your learning is one of the biggest motivators for employees to choose online learning.

Our learner-focused technology solutions help L&D teams to craft training interventions that are just as effective (if not more effective) than their classroom counterparts. We do that by driving engagement, changing behaviour and making a real impact. 

Face-to-face learning is not always feasible, or even a possible, solution like we experienced in 2020. Luckily, with the development of engaging eLearning technologies, the old disadvantages are no longer valid. Instead, your online learning can take engagement to fully new heights!

Did you know? Learners can learn 5x more material when using online learning techniques compared to traditional classroom settings. 

Objection 4: Learners need in-person interaction to learn

Whilst we agree with the statement in general, we do not believe it acts a true objection to online learning solutions. As social interaction is critical for our well-being, it is just as essential in online learning as in traditional training. 

Here at Growth Engineering, social learning is very close to our heart. We looked into the delivery of content, collaboration and teamwork in typical instructor-led settings and adapted them to our learning technology solutions. 

Our products are packed full of social features that encourage informal learning and engagement between your learners. For instance, you can chat with your peers, add, comment or like posts on social streams. Learners can also join topic-based Clubs, ask for help from experts, compete in player-vs-player knowledge Battles and so much more.

These advanced social features let you test your learners’ knowledge, create a knowledge-sharing culture and keep your precious intellectual capital within your organisation.

In other words, online learning solutions should provide plenty of opportunities for your learners to interact with each other. Whether your learners wish to share their knowledge, get help or simply bond with their team members, they can head to their learning platform!

Did you know? According to the 70:20:10 theory, formal learning only contributes to 10% of what we learn. The rest we pick up from our peers (20%) and gain through experience (70%).

Objection 5: It’s too hard to measure the effectiveness of online learning

Online training is only worth the investment if you can measure the results of your learning interventions. But one of the objections we hear most often is that it’s hard to measure the effectiveness of online learning. 

The key to measuring the effectiveness of online learning technologies is to run a Training Needs Analysis. The analysis focuses on identifying gaps, setting learning goals, and establishing success metrics. Thorough analysis helps you discover what a good learning intervention looks like for your organisation.

You can use approaches like Kirkpatrick’s Model of Training Evaluation to assess the success of your programme in line with your initial goals and objectives. The model focuses on learner reaction, learning return, application, business impact and ROI. As business impact is the lifeblood of your L&D budget, you must be able to demonstrate it.

Our Customer Success team will work with you and your team to ensure you get the most from your platform. They will also support in ensuring that value is tracked and understood at all levels. 

The measurement of online learning often seems like a rather tall order. But thankfully, online learning has come prepared! On top of the common metrics, you should pay attention to your individual learners. If they have a passion to learn and succeed, then the training has been a triumph!

Did you know? 42% of organisations have seen an increase in income after introducing online learning to their L&D strategy.

Objection 6: Administrating a learning programme is time-consuming and difficult

Learning how to use a new enterprise level software solution may seem difficult at first. But once you get familiar with your learning technologies, they should be easy to use and administer! 

Growth Engineering offer extensive assessment and reporting tools, all stored in one place. This functionality will help you to evaluate the effectiveness of your training. You can analyse completion rates, attendance, engagement and much more.

We also assign customers their very own Customer Success Manager. This individual will provide you with best practice advice and orchestrate a full admin training programme. In addition, you will be supplied with supporting tutorial videos and documents that help you get off to a flying start!

Most organisations with learning technology solutions share administrator access with key people throughout the business. Others may create a small team responsible for managing their software solution. Alternatively, some organisations hire administrators to take care of the learning system and the tasks that come with it.

We offer Admin Lite functionality, which empowers you to tailor access permissions to your precise requirements. Our hierarchy system and content groups also make it easy for you to share learning content with targeted groups of users in just a few clicks. These features reduce the amount of administration placed on the shoulders of your L&D manager.

Embracing new technology can be time-consuming. This is especially true during the implementation stage. This technology may also create some unique challenges for you to overcome. However, over time, you should expect to see some significant time and cost savings. The sooner you start, the quicker you’ll see results.

Did you know? 72% of organisations believe that using online learning creates a competitive advantage for the business.

Objection 7: Our training is not compatible with online learning

One of the objections we hear often is that online learning only works for some kinds of training. But when done right, online learning can be efficient for every type of training and within every industry, whether it’s retail or construction. There is almost no limit to what can be taught online, from health and safety training to leadership and sales training

With a wide variety of options and features available, you can create an engaging and powerful learning experience, no matter what you’re trying to achieve. What’s more, with online learning technologies, training can be taken at a convenient time. 

Mobile delivery of training only improves accessibility and flexibility. As a result, your employees can improve their skills without losing valuable working hours. This, in turn, helps to reduce the opportunity cost to your organisation.

Our learning technology solutions offer a multitude of training formats. You can use content types such as microlearning units, videos, webinars, quizzes, knowledge ‘Battles’, and narrative-led PDFs. Varying the format keeps your learners engaged for longer.

Whatever you’re trying to achieve, there’s a good chance that online learning can help you to do it. There’s also a good chance that we have a relevant case study we can share with you. 

Did you know? Every dollar invested in online training can result in $30 in productivity.

Objection 8: We tried a learning management system before, and it didn’t work for us

If an organisation has had previous difficulties with learning technologies, it may seem that your training material is incompatible with online learning. But like we just explored, that’s rarely the case!

There are hundreds of learning management system vendors in today’s learning platforms marketplace (1,000+ to be more precise). And different vendors offer different kinds of learning management systems filled with different features. 

Every business has its unique needs when it comes to choosing the right LMS. As such, if your previous LMS didn’t meet your learning objectives, you likely chose a learning solution unsuitable for your needs in the first place. This, by no means, is the only reason! Poor roll-out, technical issues, lack of stakeholder buy-in and other factors may have contributed to your unsatisfactory experience.

Before purchasing one of our learning technology solutions, we offer an in-depth demo of the product. We will also take the time to understand your specific use case and map functionality as required. Our excellent Customer Success team makes sure all your burning questions are answered before you make a final decision. And trust us, there is no such thing as a silly question!

Growth Engineering’s learning technology solutions can be fully customised to reflect the mission, vision and values of your organisation. In doing so, your learners will feel a sense of belonging and engage more with your learning intervention. Customising content, on the other hand, ensures it’s relevant and useful for your learners. 

If things didn’t work out before, you shouldn’t lose hope. Review what went wrong before and put an action plan in place. Then find a learner engagement focused solution that allows you to measure the impact of your training intervention. 

Did you know? Poor usability (53%) and high cost (44%) are seen as the biggest factors to seek out a new and improved LMS. 

Objection 9: An LMS won’t make any difference as there are free online courses and platforms on the internet

Free online courses are an excellent way to get an introduction to a topic, but you’ll be missing out on many features that guarantee high-quality training. Typical online courses do not include elements like gamification, social learning, user groups, reporting and analysis. These features are the ones that make your training engaging and effective.

Whilst these platforms and courses may initially be free, this may not ultimately prove to be the case. After all, you may have to make an investment to make your platform fit for purpose. 

A commercial learning technology solution has various advantages. For instance, our pioneering social features help learners test their knowledge, share their expertise and take ownership of their training. By creating a learning community, you can prevent intellectual capital from leaking out of your organisation. 

Our solutions bring together remote and dispersed teams for real-time interactions. Free online courses tend to offer poor social learning support, which limits the possibilities of your intellectual capital. And did you know that there is a direct link between intellectual capital and business success?

A lack of other key features, such as hosting, support and maintenance, can also make training and administration time-consuming. And for many businesses, time is money. As such, a commercial LMS can save your precious resources by enabling easy administration of large amounts of data in a user-friendly, web-based environment.

Did you know? Highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability

Objection 10: Gamification is not right for our audience

Gamification has always had its fair share of detractors who dismiss gamification as a fad or bad for us. But we’ve found that gamification has an almost universal appeal. It attracts people no matter their gender or age. Gamification works because it triggers real and powerful human emotions. It drives the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin.

We have a natural desire for competition, status, collection, acceptance, order and other elements that gamification helps to satisfy. It feeds our curiosity and makes us hungry for further progression.

But gamification needs a strategy to work. With our help, you can create an effective gamification strategy for your specific audience. We offer features like Experience Points, Badges, Leaderboards, Levels, Streaks, and so much more that keep your learners’ engaged. And let’s be real, we all want to be the top dog!

Moreover, as our platform is fully customisable, you can choose the levels of gamification you want to add. Create a slick, professional and on-brand gamified environment, or really lean into the fun features to drive further engagement. The choice is yours!

Did you know? The average gamer is 34 years old.

Objection 11: We don’t have the technical infrastructure for learning technologies

Setting up eLearning in an organisation has become increasingly easy, and there are various options to choose from. The wealth of opportunities and innovation, however, may be limited on the technological side.

Learning management systems require specific technical infrastructure to implement and work successfully. As such, a technical analysis of your company’s IT infrastructure is an essential step in implementing online learning technologies. After all, restrictions imposed by IT infrastructures are a noted cause for dissatisfaction with organisations’ existing LMSs.

Fortunately, you will not be left to tackle this problem on your own. Here at Growth Engineering, we take care of all the technical details for you. We handle the hosting of your platform and ensure GDPR compliance. Our learning technologies can also be integrated with your existing business systems. As such, we sit within and operate alongside your current software stack.

An estimated 3.8 billion people are smartphone users, and mobile devices generated over 50% of global website traffic in 2020. Therefore, we want to ensure that your device doesn’t limit your learning opportunities.

The Knowledge Arcade, our customisable mobile learning app, makes changing behaviour and improving performance easy. And did you know, our app users logged in, on average, 7 times per day in 2020? They also completed an impressive 4 training units per week.

All in all, planning should always stem from a clear vision of the wanted learning interventions. By combining your and our knowledge, you can create a learning platform that lets your learners thrive.

Did you know? 64% find accessing workplace learning from a mobile device essential or very useful.

Objection 12: Learners find online learning boring and unengaging

Creating engaging learning experiences can be difficult in both traditional training and online learning contexts. Merely presenting learning units is not enough. As such, Growth Engineering decided to do things differently!

Instead of just moving traditional training curricula online, we give you the tools to build modern and innovative learning experiences. Our learning technologies focus on incentivising the right activities, inspiring curiosity and creating learning communities. And most importantly, we want your learning experience to be fun!

It is essential to make sure your learners enjoy their learning experiences and keep coming back to learn more. Our favourite levers to make this happen are gamification and social learning.

By adding gamification to your training, the session becomes fun and interactive. Your learners will get much more out of the learning experience. Game mechanics (such as XP, Badges and Leaderboards) drive healthy competition and forge a sense of pride among your team.

Social learning, on the other hand, is the bridge between knowledge and behaviour change. With our social features, your learners can socialise with their peers and motivate each other to perform better.

In other words, online learning doesn’t have to be boring. With an engagement-focused approach there’s no limit to what you can achieve.

Did you know? Gamification can boost learner engagement by up to 60%.

One of the objections to online learning is that it's boring and unengaging, but with gamification your learning interventions are neither!

Objection 13: It’s difficult to customise or adjust online learning 

Personalisation has extensive benefits, which have been recognised within the online learning industry. For some, personalisation is one of the top priorities when choosing a learning management system. After all, has a one-size-fits-all training experience ever been of real benefit? 

Deep customisation is also important. And as it happens, we have taken learning technology customisation to the next level. Growth Engineering’s products make it easy for you to customise both the learning platform and your content. You can change the look and feel, colours, fonts, imagery, terminology and much more. 

You can also easily push and pull selected pieces of content to chosen learners or teams. And our customisable learning paths make the learning experience even more tailored to individual learners’ needs. 

You should also utilise real-time feedback to identify what kind of content suits your learners the best. Perhaps the completion rate of a PDF learning unit was weak? Not to worry! You can easily create a more innovative version of the content and follow how the completion rate improves. 

There is no limit on the number of times you can reuse or refresh your training materials. Surveying your learners also helps you to understand what kind of content they enjoy! Just don’t make the mistake of believing that catering to learning preferences (or ‘styles’) will have an instant impact on learning outcomes. 

Did you know? 85% of Fosway survey respondents state that alignment of content to roles, skills gaps and business goals is the highest priority for their organisation’s future. 

Objection 14: Our organisation is too small to consider a learning technology solution

Organisations of all shapes and sizes can benefit from online learning technologies. After all, online learning solutions can be scaled and customised to your business’s needs. In addition, investing in learning technologies before your organisation expands allows you to build a solid foundation. 

Implementing online learning to a training programme can give smaller businesses a strong advantage in competitive marketplaces. By using a learning management system, you can enhance your intellectual capital. Besides, you can save on your training costs, which is a nice bonus, right?

Many smaller organisations assume that personalised and gamified training is out of their reach as they are thought to require more resources, time and money. Luckily, online learning technologies have changed the game!

Growth Engineering have experience working alongside companies of all sizes and from all industries to make a real impact. Whoever you happen to be, we’ll work with you to ensure your company’s mission, vision and values are pulled through into your learning environment.

Did you know? Productivity growth is falling on average by 0.5% a year. Halving the global productivity gap between SMEs and large companies would amount to $15 trillion in the corresponding value-added. 

Objection 15: Employees don’t have time to learn

Okay, we know… this objection doesn’t only cover online learning. But in our opinion, that makes it an even more important objection for us to tackle and overcome. 

The main reason employees have stopped learning is because they do not have time to allocate to training. In fact, employees can dedicate just 1% of their workweek to professional development. Lack of training opportunities can lead to lower productivity, high turnover of staff, increased business expenses and even loss of clients.

There is a misconception that training is time-consuming. But modern learning can be effortless and efficient. Learning technologies are increasingly using microlearning, combined with mobile delivery. Microlearning units can be completed on mobile devices, everywhere at any time, and in under 10 minutes. 

Our learning solutions use both microlearning and mobile delivery to create effective learning strategies. These short and engaging learning units are perfect for repetition. In turn, this helps to ensure that important information enters the long term memory of your learners. 

So, learning doesn’t have to take hours on end. Combining microlearning with mobile delivery creates an ideal solution for ensuring your busy employees get the training they need. As a result, lack of time is no longer a valid excuse!

Did you know? 94% of learners have seen career benefits after taking more time to learn. 

Employees have no time to learn is one of the online learning objections

Final Words

Online learning can be an immeasurable help for achieving long-lasting organisational success. As such, overruling these 15 common objections to online learning has never been more important

But you need to remember that online learning is not a magic wand that solves all your engagement or training problems. It needs love and cherishing! Most of all, it needs a proper strategy drawn up in line with a full understanding of your audience. 

Luckily for you, we know every nook and cranny of our learning technology solutions. We are also learner engagement experts. With our help, you too can build an effective and engaging online learning strategy. 

Want to know more about how we can help your organisation? Book a free demo now

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