E-learning mistakes

Hi everyone,

Recently I was asked in an job interview that what would I have done differently in my last e-learning/training project?

My answer was to add more activities for the users in a day of life format.

My understanding is that the hiring manager wanted to know what lessons I have learned.

Has anyone come across a similar situation?

It will be great if you can please share some responses and advise what exactly the hiring manager is looking to find.



14 Replies
Dave Neuweiler

That was a presumptive question, in effect stating as a fact that you WOULD have done something differently in your last project, and then allowing you to reply. In fact, a presumptive question can sometimes make a person feel that it's OK to reply, where one might be reluctant to do so.

I can't tell what the interviewer was trying to accomplish; probably just probing a bit into how you approach work.

If you ever run into a similar situation, you might consider asking a clarifying question, like, "What would I have done differently? Do you mean in terms of customer feedback, or my personal preference?"

This helps to get the conversation back on your footing.

(Did you get the job?)

Erika Fakler

Perhaps the interviewer was trying to grasp how self-reflective you are? 

I also see Kate's point.  Sometimes it is good for those above us to realize what sorts of things are outside of our control, and how they affect the decisions we need to make when creating courses.

And, I think your point about including more authentic and engaging activities is probably how I would have answered the question.


I find it is sometimes easy to get caught up in what I can do (especially with a cool tool like StoryLine) that I find myself straying from what I should do (from a learner's learning perspective). Doing something meaningful (as defined by the user) in a cool way is oh soooooo much more important than just doing something cool.

I can't say this happened on my last project, but it is something I have observed previously in myself and others.

Ari Avivi

I couldn't agree with Owen more.

As the senior consultant for my organization I have a responsiblity to drive standards and mentor new developers.  As I am working with new developers to build their skills I get re-energized with the cool 'bells and whistles' of storyline instead of just keeping focussed on the content.

I once had a plumber do some work on my basement and as he was working he spent an inordiante amount of time telling me about the virtures of a particular kind of connector.  All i cared about was that it wouldn't leak.

The other thing I have to remember is that the learner will most likely only expeirence the course once.  I don't have to design to keep myself interested, just design to keep them interested.

but back to the original question... biggest mistake -- getting the end user all excited about features before locking down the content.

Nancy Woinoski

 People doing the interviewing are typically concerned with three things.

1. Can you deliver your project on time.

2. Can you deliver your project on budget.

3. Can you deliver a quality project given the time and budget restraints.

So if you look at the question in the context of these key drivers, ask yourself what kind of things can derail your ability to deliver a quality project on time and within budget.

There are about a million things that can derail your project but a few of the big ones are as follows:

1. Not properly managing the expectations of your client.

2. Scope creep.

3. Technical issues.

Holly MacDonald

It's a behavioural interviewing technique. Asking what you have done in the past is a predictor of what you will do in the future. Just remember as long as you are qualified for the job, the real decision is about "fit". Ask what kinds of challenges the client org faces, if they ask about mistakes. You can have a conversation about the difficulties in creative work and consulting. They are also interested in how you work under pressure, so include how you responded to the situation. 

Hope that helps


Linda Lorenzetti

I know what I would do differently - turn off the autocorrect when using French text.  I have 8 short modules in English and French.  The autocorrect changed all instances of the French word "si" (if) to "is".  I'm currently searching through all of the French modules and correcting them.  ARRRRRRRRRRGH!

Amanda Coliette

Thanks everyone for your excellent responses.

There is another question which intrigued me on the net which have been asked by employers about "Describe a time when you had to compromise on quality of work to meet deadlines".

Its a very thoughtful question as compromising quality is not good but meeting deadline is also very important.

I was wondering if someone can please suggest a good answer for this.



Yasser Moussa

good day to all of you, sorry to disturbing you as i'm going to talk in a topic maybe little far or diffrent of your topic, just i want to know if there is any perfect website for teaching English as i'm welling to speak english

i'm sure you are surprising now because i'm writing in English and in same time requesting someone to teach me English.
(it's a Magic google translation page )



Mikki Ashton

I made the mistake of publishing a Quizmaker survey with 5,000 characters fields output to Scorm 1.2.  There's a little known bug that Scorm 1.2 will only allow 255 characters per field.  This wasn't discovered until 8 individuals spent 1-2 hours completing the survey.  Apparently, there's no way to recover the data. We tested the data output but never with more than 255 characters. Who knew! This one is going to haunt me for some time. 

Vasily Ingogly

Having asked similar questions of interviewees in the past, I think many managers ask questions like this because they're looking to see how you handle yourself when asked a difficult and somewhat uncomfortable question. It says different things about you as a potential employee if:

* You say you wouldn't have done anything different

* You answer without hesitation vs thinking first

* You ask for clarification before answering

* You provide Too Much Information in your answer

* You answer technically rather than from  an interpersonal perspective

* You say you don't understand what this has to do with the position

* You provide what's clearly a canned or clearly coached response

That at any rate is what I think a thoughtful and intelligent interviewer would be looking for. Nonthoughtful and less intelligent interviewers have read about this technique somewhere or learned it in a seminar on "how to interview people", and are just after the negative junk that might convince them you'd be a bad hire ... that is, they see it in negative terms (looking for weaknesses) rather than positive terms (looking for strengths). I personally wouldn't want to work for someone like that, anyway. But that's just me.