What's the WORST elearning advice you ever received?

Jan 13, 2016

A few weeks ago, I came across David's post titled, "What's the BEST elearning advice you ever received?"  I thought it might be fun to look at this question from another perspective. The old saying, "You learn more from your mistakes than you ever learn from getting it right" seems to fit here.

Here is mine to get this discussion started:

When I first started designing and delivering e-Learning, I was advised by another person (no one from our community by the way) that for very simple jobs, don't bother writing a Statement of Work (SOW).  

I took that advice on one of my first projects, a simple one that was estimated to take 2-3 days to complete. Unfortunately, the project experienced scope creep and before I knew it, expanded to 2-3 weeks. Without a signed Statement of Work (SOW) to go back to the client with and show the requested tasks were not in our original agreement, it became a "he said/she said" situation.  I wrapped up the project as quickly as I could but at a loss!

Lesson learned? ALWAYS, no matter how simple your next e-Learning project appears to be, GET THE AGREEMENT IN WRITING and SIGNED by BOTH parties before starting a project.

What about you? What is the WORST elearning advice you ever received? 


51 Replies
Richard Watson

Nancy, when I used to teach Microsoft engineering courses, that was always a challenge. If you had a room of 25 people, with varying levels of skills/knowledge, what do you do?

1. Teach to the lowest common denominator

2. Teach to the objectives

3. Teach everyone to their specific level

When teaching, I always took the approach of teaching to the objectives while helping individuals where I could on breaks. At least e-learning provides some opportunities to cater to different levels (e.g., adding resources for additional reading, allowing the user to skip some content, etc.). :)



Trina Rimmer

Along the same lines as Nancy, the worst advice I ever got was from a former training manager who told me that I should assume our audience couldn't handle clicking, listening, or reading.

Her advice? Use narration to put all of the text on the screen and read every word of it to learners. She also insisted that we auto-advance the slides and make every quiz T/F so it would be "stupid-easy" for people to pass. It was disheartening to say the least...

Final note: Jane Bozarth's Nuts & Bolts article on Blaming the Learner really resonated with me on this point so give that a read if you've gotten this piece of advice, too!

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