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2 More Training Myths That Won't Go Away

In a recent Training Industry article, our head of learning experience design, Le’a Kent, explored four Training Development Myths That Won’t Go Away. Well, after an email round-robin about a recent LinkedIn post extolling the virtues of some “cool” e-learning examples, we have two more for you!

In addition to the myths:

  • If you build it, they will come
  • In-person training is the best way to teach soft skills
  • So-so learning experiences will have an impact anyway
  • Gamification is an automatic motivator

we’d like to add:

  • Navigation counts as interaction
  • Flashy and expensive are what engages learners


Let’s tackle them one at a time.

Myth: Navigation Counts As Interaction

Reality: Navigation is not interaction. It’s navigation.

If you add extra clicks just to make the learner uncover a sentence or image that could have been shown in the flow of learning in the first place, the only thing you’re really interacting with is a learners’ carpal tunnel.

With click to reveal, when they can only see a little bit at a time, you are also purposefully preventing the learner from seeing the information in context.  It’s a waste of time, it’s not true interaction, and you shouldn’t ask the learner to click unless they really need to.

Myth: Flashy and Expensive Are What Engages Learners

Reality: Context and relevance are what engage learners

Le’a touched on this a bit in the blog post “Beyond the Talking Head: Add Life to Your Learning with SME Videos” – often it’s simple techniques that provide vivid, true-to-life, and effective videos for learning, especially microlearning. Flashy animation, whooshing images, and expensive backgrounds might work well in conjunction with ruthlessly relevant content and easy-to-see applicability to the job. But without those latter two things, the expensive whizbang visual effects are wasted.

That’s not to say you can’t keep usability and accessibility in mind with images – in fact, you must – but “cool” and “useful to me” aren’t equal sides of the equation for the learner.

We’re all for striking visual design, and are excited when our clients come up with something that looks “really cool”, but the real bang for their buck is when they design the interactivity and visuals to add up to context, relevance, and direct applicability.

So beware online learning where more care has been taken with the visuals than with the context, or where “clicking things” is supposed to equal interaction. The reality is, learners crave learning that’s useful, not pretty. Unless they can have both in which case, go for it! But make sure the useful comes first.

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