In general, we’ve found that Career Development Practitioners prefer face-to-face training (Life Strategies Ltd., 2013); however, limited professional development budgets and geographical barriers can make this a difficult option. Fortunately, online learning can overcome many of these barriers. Unfortunately, e-learning myths are still prevalent. We present several benefits of online learning at http://lifestrategies.ca/docs/10-Benefits-of-Online-Learning.pdf; however, educators are still debating the merits and pitfalls of online learning. As recently as May, Clow, and Kolomitro (2018) posted a critique, Online Learning Isn’t as Inclusive as You May Think. Vallance and Wilson-Keates (2018) followed this with a rebuttal in July, Dispelling the Misconceptions of Online Education.
With experience supporting a wide variety of online educational programs and developing our own, as well as key members of our executive team serving as graduate-level instructors and senior administrators for a primarily online university, Life Strategies Ltd. knows that not all e-learning is created equally. At its core, e-learning experiences, as with any learning, are only as good as the course design and instruction. However, student (and instructor) expectations also play a role. For example, if students come to a course expecting to be self-directed, they won’t like hard deadlines for assignments or scheduled live webinars. Alternatively, if students are expecting lively, interactive discussions, they won’t appreciate learning in isolation in self-directed learning modules. Clearly, it’s important for instructors and administrators to appropriately communicate course structure and expectations for students prior to the students’ enrollment.
Life Strategies has created several “tip sheets” for our students, instructors, and others interested in e-learning. These include: