No Image Available

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

What are the barriers to investment in e-learning?


A lot has been made of the current economic environment and the way in which this could/should induce a dramatic increase in the use of technology enabled learning. It seems however that a lot of companies are actually stopping short of making the final investment - particularly in off-the-shelf offerings. As part of my degree research, I was keen to get your informal view on why this is? Is there a failure on the part of vendors to make the 'fit' apparent to prospective customers? Is scalability the issue.....or is the cost still to high? What are your views on the barriers to investing in e-learning?

5 Responses

  1. In short – People
    I’ve worked for a number of companies as the IT Trainer, (so this is only covering computer skills, rather than personal).

    I like the idea of eLearning, it’s there all the time, available when you need it, and if written properly should be easy to get to the information you need.

    The problem I’ve found with actually deciding on an eLearning solution, is that there are a lot of offerings, mostly dealing with writing it yourself. It’s expensive and time-consuming, especially if you want to start off with standard office apps.

    However, the biggest problem by far…
    How do you get people to use it, so that it isn’t wasted and can see the ROI?

    If you’ve got a company where people are motivated to learn, either because they want to, or to receive some sort of award, then eLearning is brilliant. They will make the time and use it.

    In many companies, that type of people are the minority – so what do you do about the rest?
    Even more so at the moment. Many companies have less people to do the same amount of work, in a short period of time. When will they be able to use eLearning?

    For me, until companies actually believe that training, and a blended approach (of which eLearning is a part), is an important part of the company, worth the time and money. It will remain either a cheap alternative to a trainer/training or a goal that won’t be realised.

    Michelle Kaye
    IT Trainer
    Boodle Hatfield

  2. Barriers to elearning
    I would agree with a lot of Michelle’s comments and they relate equally to non-technical skills as IT or other technical areas. “People” don’t like using it; comments I’ve had include:
    – supposed to do it at your desk, but others don’t leave me alone and it is not seen as good use of my time by colleagues
    – I’m seen as rude if I put the headphones on and try to block others out
    – not recognised as good use of time by management; have to do it in my own time, rather than company time
    – not flexible enough to take home (partly about the technology)
    – like being with people; spend enough time at a pc for work, don’t want to do that for learning as well
    The only times I’ve seen it work was as part of a blended approach, where it replaced and enhanced preparation and follow-up activities to a face-to-face event.
    So learning some of the techy bits, the elearning was interactive and even fun(!) instead of reading a manual; the programme started with a quiz about this and people got to know that they had to do the work or look slightly ridiculous at the start ie, as Michelle said, an incentive or motivator to completion.
    As follow-up, ready made discussion groups, particularly for people who go off in different directions after an event where they’ve learnt lots and feel strong affinity with others.
    However, these are the exceptions

  3. What do they really want/need?
    In my experience it is precisely because many companies arrive at elearning as a solution for ‘reducing cost’ that they either don’t go through with it or that it fails if they do.

    We have provided elearning solutions for many companies but when a potential new client comes knocking on the door and asking for a way to reduce their training cost we know it is generally unlikely they will end up purchasing anything, certainly not for the reason they originally came for. When we start to ask questions about they are ‘really’ trying to achieve with their training it becomes clear they have little strategy and no direction. They either go away and re-evaluate their current training and make improvements, that may or may not include elearning, or they run frightened back to what they know at the prospect of all the additional work they would need to put in.

    Basically people should be looking to elearning as a tool to support their learning programme rather than a way to reduce their training budgets. That means selecting elearning because of the learning benefits that it brings such as the flexibility of delivery, the self paced nature of learning and in IT the ability to simulate systems. Elearning, at least in it’s current level of sophistication, cannot replace all types of training.

    Secondly, cost savings tend to be long term so companies that have rushed to elearning as a way to make quick savings during the current economic crisis will be quickly disappointed when they see the initial layout to build an elearning platform and buy content.

    And I’d agree with other comments here that if there isn’t already a culture of elearning in the business it’s going to be that much harder to sell.

  4. Top down
    I agree with the three comments above. What is also very important is the buy-in of the C-level. If management is supporting e-learning and they actively align it to their Business strategy it can be a great asset to their training strategy.
    There was a very good documentary on Radio 4, which you might want to listen to (see link below). It talks about great success at BT and other big companies, which have already gone through the process and love the new dynamic it brings to their company and can see the financial benefits.

  5. Scott Hewitt
    I’d be interested to know the outcomes of your research.

    I’ve come across a lot of organisations that embark on this sort of change project without any kind of strategy and then discover issues during implementation that set them back considerably. There is a still a lot of jargon and and this can be extremely confusing – LMS – VLE – DLE – SCORM – AIIC – HTML – W3C the list goes on. There is a quite a lot of basic understanding that you need to develop. It may not appear that way to those in the industry but I’m still talking to experienced e-learning practitioners who don’t understand SCORM.

    A number of companies may still be unsure about employee levels, office remaining open so making a commitment to the implementation of e-learning may be put on hold until they know the number of learners that they are likely to be dealing with.

    Even though there are products in the market it is very difficult to compare price, functionality, performance technical requirement – this might put a few people off.

No Image Available

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.

Thank you!