For as long as elearning has been around there is often a negative stereotype that instructional designers. In my opinion, the behavior that results from this stereotype leads to the biggest challenges in the field.
For many years, elearning course creation has been seen as “fluff”. As a result, the people who work in the field aren’t given the same respect in the workplace.
I have seen this first hand. I even had a client once tell me that instructional design was just “people playing with PowerPoint”.
The root of the this distorted perception of elearning likely derives from the training industry as a whole. Corporate training programs such as in-person seminars were often accused of wasting company funds for not real tangible results – just a bunch of theory.
Over the years this has changed, especially now that training initiatives (both in-person and digitally) have be linked to corporate ROI. Still, not everyone is aware of this and the stereotypes around training do persist.
Some of the most successful companies today have implemented full-blown training programs to help their employees do their jobs better. The result has been an increase in productivity and decrease in employee turnover. These two benefits alone are worth the investment in elearning.
The “old” view of elearning is often perpetuated by seasoned working professionals. They were doing their jobs prior to elearning, so it just seems like unnecessary noise.
However, the new entrants into the working force come with a different perspective. They have had elearning courses since grade school. Most colleges and universities incorporate online course offerings. It’s more than normal now, it is expected.
The bad news is that this profession still faces an uphill battle. The good news is that this hill is getting a little less steep.