By Ryan Healy — I recently received an email from career coach and corporate consultant, J.T O’Donnell. She attached a link to a new e-learning course that she gives to young employees, and she asked for my input. For days, I debated how to respond. Eventually, I replied and told her that I hate all e-learning.
She said that most millennials she works with dislike e-learning. So, she only designs e-learning tools that are coupled with personal teaching and discussion.
After mentioning my desire to write a post about doing away with e-learning, J.T gave me some great insight. She told me, “It helps save companies thousands in training costs.”
Bingo! Now I know why companies are using e-learning to replace hands-on mentoring and teaching – it’s cheap. Clearly, a company’s main goal is to make a profit, and this means minimizing costs wherever possible. However, training and developing your employees, especially the confused new hires, is not the right area to cut costs.
At orientation, the first time my peers and I logged in to complete an e-learning course, we all looked at each other with puzzled faces. I thought, “Is this serious?” Others snickered throughout the whole assignment and most of us jumped through the course totally bored. Without discussion or one-on-one teaching e-learning is cheap, ineffective and gives the impression that a company does not care enough to invest time or money into training. Which in turn, gives the impression that employees are unimportant.
I don’t necessarily think that loathing e-learning is a millennial trait. My Gen X co-workers constantly complain about the thoughtless “busy work” that comes from e-learning tools. My mother even called the other day to rant about the stupidity of her e-training classes. So who actually benefits from this?
Maybe companies use this cheap training because they expect people to job hop and don’t want to waste budget dollars on employees who won’t be around for long. But in reality, not focusing on personally training and developing entry level employees is probably what causes them to job hop in the first place.
If an e-learning tool can somehow be coupled with actual face-to-face learning or mentoring then I am all for it. Just don’t use it as a replacement for real teaching. I crave the personal connections that come with one-on-one or classroom teaching, even if the rest of my life is spent online.
Ryan Healy’s blog is Employee Evolution.