April 17th, 2014 E-Learning

Despite an era of apps, online training methods, and learning management system automation, there are still a large number of organizations that rely upon manual methods for delivery and tracking.

Not just small companies, but large ones!

According to one study conducted by the folks at SoftwareAdvice.com, roughly 36% of LMS purchasers they encounter reported that they were still using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and live training instructors for the majority of their training needs.

Just as surprising was that the majority of these respondents have revenues of at least $6 million! Needless to say, if anyone could afford a robust learning management system, its these folks.

Why Is This Happening?

I would venture to guess that there are two main reason why a large portion of companies (at least the ones from this particular study) are behind the times with elearning and learning management systems.

First, the elearning and LMS industry can be intimidating. The abundance of providers and services out there actually can have a negative impact. With so many options and choices, people will often be afraid to choose one for fear of choosing the “wrong” one.

As a result, there is in-action.

The other possible reason (and more probable) is the perception issue the training industry is constantly battling – in particular, that it is all “fluff”.

I know this to be true because I have seen it first-hand on numerous occasions when consulting. Training is often harder to tie to the revenues of a business that it is often the first expense cut when a company is going through financial troubles.

This of course couldn’t be further from the truth as tying training to ROI metrics is very possible.

Still, I see these as two major roadblocks preventing organizations from ditching their archaic training practices.

What Can Be Done?

It’s all about educating companies not on learning management features but instead on the benefits. Organizations want to know “what’s in it for them” – this is the language that LMS providers must speak.

Better yet, loop it back to the business benefit – and if possible, how it will improve their bottom line as this is the language everyone speaks.


Software Advice Study

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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter

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7 responses

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We have been providing training materials for more than three decades, and I would say there is another reason that dominates, and that is that people still want a teacher or mentor. When asking, that is always the first preference. ELearning, and we design and create a lot of it, is great to suit some purposes like a geographically diverse audience or thousands of trainees, but no one solution fits all situations. So many things are currently happening with content and technology that more options will likely reveal themselves.

People “still” want a mentor because, well, it works.

Avatar Dan Topf

Technology driven training is having advantage over personal training which is used as a advantage.


The truth is that L&D has never been able to properly measure its impact on performance and business (Kirkpatrick evaluation levels 3 and 4). So in a way, all innovation that took place within L&D has been jumping on the digital bandwagon at best, and completely ill-informed and arbitrary at worst. We STILL can’t meaningfully measure the effects of training and I’ve seen so many horrible e-learning design that I’d venture to guess that companies stickuing to more traditional means are in fact better off. All we’ve done is cut training production costs and we’re not better off because of it.

Avatar Chris

Traditional training methods are used because they work best at engaging people in the learning process. In-person collaboration is much better than electronic collaboration.

FYI. I was concerned with your choice of words on manual methods: “archaic training practices” and “behind the times.” Aren’t you writing a learning blog? Why the need to use such disparaging terms? It’s easier to get away with that electronically, isn’t it?

Avatar Angus

Hi Angus-
Thanks for the comment. Agree, in-personal collaboration is better than 100% virtual – but I would contend that a mix of both is ideal as it gets people thinking about the content in a variety of ways from a different perspective.

Electronically or in-person, either way I communicate the same message 🙂

Perhaps you might benefit some data and evidence to support your suppositions.
Have a look at this: http://elearningmanifesto.org/

When learning programs drive performance improvement, companies will invest in the systems to make delivery more efficient. Using technology to delivery is not necessarily more efficient in producing the desired result. Be careful in assuming that a problem can be defined as “we don’t have enough tools.” The lack of tools is not the problem. A gap in performance results is the problem.

When design is aligned with performance outcomes, you have a much higher rate of acceptance.

Avatar Dan Topf

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