"Can workers really e-Learn at their desks?"


This question has been posed by several TRENDS readers over the past year. While it is clear that people can learn some step-by-step instructions right at their work desks, can they really concentrate on an e-Learning module that requires theory or reflection? Are workplaces, with peers and managers observing and interacting, really ideal for e-Learning? Do your workers actually move to another space or choose to learn more complex topics online from home? How do learners feel about learning at their desks?

We asked our Learning TRENDS readers the question of whether or not employees can truly "e-Learn" at their desks on July 5th, 2007, and here is a collection of their responses


"Yes! Workers can e-Learn at their desks!"

“I strongly believe that people can e-learn at the desk. Quite a bit of what I know about e-learning was learned that way - I started subscribing to newsletters like yours, followed links to other articles, resources, webcasts, etc. I have also had some e-learning and classroom courses on e-learning, but it all started with self-directed learning through sites like yours.

Some factors that help with e-learning at the desk:

  • being self-motivated, having something you want to learn
  • freedom from interference/interruption by your manager, coworkers, the phone, etc.
  • good design of the learning, if a course - but self-directed learning can work, especially if you are skilled at searching and know what you're looking for.”

- Suzanne Carlstedt, IRS


“Short answer: Yes. But... in my experience as a learner, and as an instructor, at-your-desk learning is most often focused on a task at hand that calls for adding to an existing knowledge/skill base - how-to and/or knowledge gap filling types of learning. Unfortunately, for many/most people such learning tends to be short lived unless the newly acquired knowledge/skill is used frequently or has some perceived crucial 'survival' value.

Work places that I am familiar with rarely afford blocks of uninterrupted and distraction-free time in which to consider broad/deep/complex bodies of knowledge, let alone time to develop and hone skills.

Even though I'm now well into retirement I find that I still operate on an as-needed basis when learning unless the subject matter is entirely new to me. I rarely read a book from cover to cover, generally finding it more useful to scan, skim, and mentally 'index' subject matter for future reference. Knowing where to look (and how to look) for information when it is needed is often far more useful than having a lot of details in my head.”

- Mike Graff, Earthlink


“Being a bit older I grew up thinking in terms of "you need quiet to study". However I've seen some recent studies that indicate today's learners multi-task and learn pretty well. They may listen to their IPOD, be interacting via the web and still learn their material. I think that type of ability would also relate directly to their ability to learn in environments I may not think are suitable. I've seen the environments where many "learning pc's" are located and I have to admit I would find it nearly impossible to learn anything of complexity sitting in or next to a break room etc. Even sitting in a somewhat isolated cubicle in a quiet office can make e-Learning a challenge. If the material is presented in page-turner fashion with a lot of reading that would have a direct impact on my attention span no matter where I was sitting. But assuming the material is compelling, presented in a way that will hold your attention and in a generally favorable environment can they learn? I believe if it is required for your job that people will find a way to make it work for the immediate test or evaluation. Is retention as good? Given a choice I think most learners would seek out the most private and quiet environment the could find. That should be telling to us as trainers. We should try to make the learning space as environmentally and ergonomically friendly to learning as possible.”

- Terry Sovil, Target Training


“Can workers return phone calls on the train? Can workers answer e-mails in the car? Can workers learn via podcasts on the bus? Of course. Technology allows us to do all of these things. Question is -- how efficient are we in these situations? Our society seems to be moving (if we haven't already arrived) toward "I can -- and will -- do anything, anywhere, at anytime. I am in my own cocoon." Why should e-learning be any different? Put on the headphones, even if there's no audio, and you've got your own space. Now that we've got the technology, are we taking a step backward by asking, "Can workers accomplish learning via technology at their desks?"

- Laura JacksonHR, Learning & Organization Effectiveness, AllState


“Some of the challenges our organization has faced with regard to Elearning at their desks are:

1. concern about the sound from an Elearning course disturbing nearby co-workers (particularly in a cubicle environment)
2. employees being frequently interrupted (particularly those in customer service roles) when trying to complete an Elearning course in one sitting
3. employees feeling like they've been "caught" goofing off when others pass their desks and assume they're "not working"

Since e-learning is how we reach many of our employees in remote locations, some of the ideas we have discussed to combat the challenges above are:

1. purchasing inexpensive headsets/earphones for all employees to use at their desks (recommendations welcome!)
2. selecting e-learning courses that are short whenever possible and able to be completed in a manageable fashion, or in brief nuggets
3. implementing "Elearning days" where employees are invited to sit in a technical training room and complete an e-learning course from start to finish, with a "coach" in the room to answer questions related to the technology or the content
4. creating "do not disturb - I'm learning" signs for employees to hang on their cubicles
5. educating our managers to support their employees' training initiatives, whether instructor-led or Elearning
6. creating follow-up tools for managers to help them follow up with employees after they have completed an Elearning course”

- Dana Wissing, Assistant Vice President, IPS Training, New York Life Insurance Company


“I just started reading "The New Update on Adult Learning Theory" for a class in Adult Learning that I am taking this summer. The book is edited by Sharan Merriam (turns out it is not really all that new - published in 2001). I think I am gaining some valuable insight from this book. I think Elearning is a very significant form of Andragogy.

I think what is most important is that a person has a desire to learn and the place is not that important. In think in many cases the Elearning will be greatly enhanced by interaction with peers this begins to enter into the realm of performance support and the moment of need. On the other hand many people will learn better and be able to concentrate better if they are alone. That is a very personal thing and personal choice.

In my world, much of the Elearning material is proprietary. It is difficult at best and in many cases impossible for a person to access the material remotely. I think most people are completely comfortable learning at their desk and as I have pointed out, in many cases there will not be a choice.”

- Brian Tate


“Oh my goodness yes! My IBM UNIX Software Support Education department has taught 2600 full days of virtual classroom-based Unix technical support training already in 2007! I just checked the enrollment database to get the right number. This is 50%/50% lecture to hands on exercise type training. A full day is about 5.5 hours delivered in about 7 hours each day. Our model is 1-2 day courses. We have been OVERWHELMED by the acceptance of our audience which are all IBM technical employees from all over the world. We expected resistance but have encountered little except Japan who still pays to fly us out there to teach. Nearly all of our courses are virtual classes now.

Here are some facts:

1. Many of our students work from home and so are not all are "at their desks". But many are and we do not have many people dropping out because of distractions. I had one student from China who went into work to a conference room (and got kicked out before the end of class because we ran over!). Consultants who work at customer sites like the evening classes so they can take the classes from home. We also occasionally have one student enroll, but find out that there's a whole group of people huddled around one PC (I recall a group from Thailand doing this; what gave them away is they all laughed at something I said with their mic on. Oops.)
2. We offer classes in two "shifts". One starts at 9AM EST and one at 6pm EST (sometimes earlier at 3 or 4) so many students take training after-hours. (An Indian student today took my class from 6:30 pm to after midnight local time...not many distractions then!)
3. Our classes are quite technical such as Kernel Internals, Unix Performance, System Dump Analysis, etc. These are not for the bleary eyed.
4. Our students tend to be self-motivated. Students know they need this training and make an effort to participate. This is key.
5. Learners consistently say they love this new way of training. No travel of course is a draw, but we also have been able to modularize training. No longer do students have to invest an entire week if they just want a few topics...the benefit there is getting smaller chunks of training as you need it and if you can invest just one evening at home it seems like a great idea! The course evaluations consistently have very positive comments as in "best training ever!"
6. Where our students are located has changed greatly with virtual classrooms. We're getting a lot of participation now from countries all over the world that we never got students from before...from South America, South Africa, Asia, and even Europe is starting to attend classes, particularly smaller countries with fewer local resources.

I really could go on and on; sorry this isn't short. I've been trying to implement all this along with my manager now since the mid 90s! We were a Centra 2.0 beta site (1994ish). Now that we have tools that work consistently (combination of Centra and VNC Server) and our audience has stable network connectivity, nearly our entire business is virtual classroom now. I do not believe we could have survived as a business if we'd not made this move. Travel and the old 1-week training courses were too expensive to continue existing for internal students.

Here's a new problem we've encountered that I've wanted to tell you about. We've solved the technical issues and the student acceptance issues. The one big problem we have right now with virtual classroom training is instructor boredom/burnout. We are people people and the interpersonal interaction is difficult when you're staring at a screen no matter how many interactions you put in a class. There are no faces to read; no teasing going on; no little visual tricks to make them smile, etc. We are actively working on solutions. One that looks promising is team-teaching and putting more students in the classroom. This way you can get interesting back and forth discussions between the instructors which draws the students into interacting more themselves (think morning radio show) and it simply provides a personal connection for the instructor making it more interesting for him or her.”

- Linda Flanders, IBM UNIX Software Support Education


“I ran a similar, quick, open-ended survey via linked in recently and received approximately 18 responses.

The headline was, Seriously Now – has anyone done e-learning and what did you like or not like -- and no one indicated they were negative on the subject. Several expressed consternation with some of the techniques used; indicating poorly built or delivered programs. I was frankly surprised to see how people understood and appreciated the benefits of any time, any place courses.

My take away was that the conventional wisdom is essentially correct, and that this way to learn is fully integrated into the life of corporate workers.

I think I saved the responses if you want to examine them more carefully. I was going to write an article….”

- Paul J. deSousa, CPT , COMPANIES BELLISLE


“I had a phone call just this morning with our head of HR in Europe on this very issue. We were discussing plans for our pilot of a new global development program for our managers. His concern was that eLearning at the desk would result in low completion rates. I asked him if he was thinking of the "old" style eLearning -- the kind of stand-alone learning that takes students from start to finish on a topic and takes 30+ minutes to complete. He was.

I explained that the role of our new eLearning is different. We're using eLearning to tee up the subsequent experiences that will deliver the bulk of the learning. More specifically, we're using 5-10 minute podcasts and video segments to frame upcoming conversations and to facilitate coaching and mentoring relationships (think jumpstarting social networking around a particular competency). "In that case," my colleague said, "ELearning seems like a great idea."

- Michael Glazer, Dean, Burson-Marsteller University


“Yes we can learn at our desks ...but it takes some effort to manage your approach and your environment. I have found that posting a sign on the cube to let people know you are in a training sessions will minimize or eliminate interruptions. I have also found that I need to be realistic with myself on how long and what I can expect in terms of my ability to give myself time to reflect. I have found learning at my desk to be helpful if I want to gain some re-focus on concepts, or get some assistance on a topic. I must be honest and tell you that I often find myself bookmarking when I have found what I wanted or am running short on time, and rarely go back and actually finish the course- but in my opinion, if I got what I needed at the time, my learning need was met, regardless of the course completion. I find that being someone who is 'action imperative' I often have to fight the urge to flip over to word or excel to begin applying what I just learned to one of my projects.

We have several sales training programs for our field sales reps and managers that are delivered virtually. They take the course at their desk, and often report that managing their environment is a challenge. As part of the registration for the course, we provide them with a do not disturb Elearning going on type of sign to help minimize that, as well as keep the virtual class engaging by calling on the participants by name and inviting them into the conversation.”

- Gerrianne Warren, Prudential


“Yes - but this requires some structure and discipline. The idea that Elearning is supposed to be flexible, done anywhere at anytime, is great; however, for most users, the challenge is simply all of the interuptions. What works best is to simply schedule a meeting with yourself - mark it right on your calendar. Schedule this meeting in a quiet room, whether that means before/after normal work hours, if you do not have an office or access to another private room, or during normal work hours in your office with the door closed. Scheduling the meeting also blocks that time on your calendar indicating to others that you are busy. Successful learning, whether that be formal classroom or Elearning, requires focus and attention - set yourself up for success.”

- Lesia Kushner, B.Ed., Training & Implementation Specialist, Crystalmount Solutions Inc.


“In short yes... and we are accomplishing it quite effectively. But, I must add, it depends on the type of training. During the past two years we have moved from an Instructor-led platform, to web conferencing, and now to e-learning with our policy/procedure training. We have experienced an overwhelmingly positive response from our users. This type of training is very useful for software applications, systems mapping, and policies such as Workplace Harassment, Aggression, and Drug Testing.

I would also add that with e-learning to be completed at the desk, it is very important to build in the following:

  • A level of Mastery
  • A timeline for Completion
  • Incremental Options for attending
  • Recertification Specifics
  • And links to printable documents which may be used as reference tools.”

- Tammy Mast, LMS Specialist/E-Learning Instructional Designer Professional Development Redcats USA Professional Development Center


“The issue of learning at our desks, I agree is a difficult one. Our company (right or wrong) has focused on topics like Ethics, Computing Security, and information protection for desktop deployment, these often are a combination of scenarios with judgments to be made and with feedback on responses OR required information to be shared at the direction of a regulatory agency (FAA for example).
We actually have very few step by step training modules at the desktop as one choice the company has often made is to have a facilitator or proctor observe when critical step by step lessons are completed to assure they can be then repeated.
Additionally, computing applications (Office etc.) that may enhance productivity are offered for the home workstation and rarely completed "on-hours"”.

- Jim Bates, Payloads/Structures Engineering- Productivity Improvement and Career Development Desk, Boeing


“If "at their desks" is where they will apply the learning, this would seem like the best place for e-learning to take place. Somewhere else - at a separate work station, conference room, or kiosk may be too out in the open, or offer other distractions. Coworkers may be most comfortable right at their desks. We are considering earphones - to block out the noise and increase concentration.”

- Margaret Ideman


“The answer is definitely "YES", only with a clear defined structure that incorporates 2 critical things, length of the web learning, and interactivity.”

- Anil Bhikhai, Bank of America

“I experience Elearning several times a day at a workstation. If there is some task related to software that I don't know I will go through the help screens or do an internet search so I can apply the information immediately.”

- Ed Dolle, DVA


"No! Workers cannot e-Learn at their desks!"

“From the following article:

“Meet the Life Hackers”
Clive Thompson
NY Times, October 21, 2005

U. of CA/Irvine researchers studied workers for 1,000 hours and found that:

* Workers spend 20 seconds looking at one PC window before flipping to another
* Workers spend 11 minutes on a project before being interrupted
* Single projects are fragmented into 3 minute tasks
* It takes 25 minutes to return to that task if interrupted

To assume that someone can take a 60-minute e-learning course at their desk and maintain their train of thought is fiction. About 10 minutes is all the time people have today to potentially do something uninterrupted at their desk.

The e-learning model used by companies such as Pepsi, Syngenta, and others is that training must be “nano-learning.” The target module time is 10 minutes (see bullet #2 above) with jump navigation buttons to two- to three-minute segments (see #3 above). Complex topics are then divided into a series of 10-minute programs. Finally, the video slider bar lets them get to any single frame of the program instantly.”

- Ken Cooper, partner, ej4 LLC


“IMHO, NO. The major obstacle to learning is/are distractions. Blackberry units, mobile phones, the smell of lunch and socializing at breaks severely limit the amount one learns at a live learning event. When you are at your desk, add visitors, phone calls to your desk, email, projects, IMs Google searches and Solitaire to the list of distractions and the amount of true learning, i.e. retention, drops to less than 10%. Interaction, the give and take between teacher and student or between peers, is essential to real learning. You can not read body language, voice tonality, speech inflections while alone at your desk; all key ingredients to constructive listening and understanding. E-Learning at the desk has its place; it is good for reinforcing previously learned material and/or practicing procedures and processes. It does not lend itself to a significant learning experience.”

- Stuart M Cohen, System Services, Arbitron Inc.


“I recently took an online course on outcome based evaluation, and was truly shocked to discover that I could not do any meaningful coursework from my office. After struggling for a week or so, I started working on the course from home (thank goodness for stick drives!) and was able to catch up.”

- Eric Pourchot, Ph.D., Professional Development Director, American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works


“Most learners feel the need to find a quieter space than the typical cube farm offers. There are just too many distractions in that environment, unless it is a quick tutorial.”

- John Halquist, SPHR, AIS, ACS, Training, Education, and Development, Hastings Mutual Insurance Company


“I am a thirty something year old professional male and have extensive experience in both Law Enforcement and the Information Technology Field. Having recently completed the majority of my degree in Computer Forensics utilizing online courses (inclusive of general education topics), and to this day using e-learning on a regular basis, I do not feel the workplace is the appropriate environment for effective e-learning. Although I have never used e-learning to a great deal from within the workplace other than a short 30 min- 1 hour "Web cast" which I do not think really counts, the workplace is not a conducive environment to learning. One reason being distractions from co-workers, supervisor and the likes. Have you ever tried to come in to work and told everyone that "you are not here" as you are trying to catch up on something? It doesn't work. By human nature, if people know you are there, they will interact with you. The most ideal situation at the workplace would be for the employer to provide a quiet-room, away from the workplace, to conduct e-learning, In my opinion, learning, whether electronic or otherwise, should be attended somewhere other than you work or home environment that provides a quiet area with no distractions, yet is comfortable, clean, and with amenities! A Starbucks Coffee shop close by would not hurt either!”

- Michael T. Sheedy, Director of community relations, AirSupport


“I have to say that learning at my desk is difficult. I am (supposed to be) analyzing some Elearning modules right now from a vendor and I am checking my email, distracted and replying to you instead of taking the module.”

- Mara Staiger, Operation Specialists Manager, Life Policy Administration, Minnesota Life Insurance Company



“I have been asking how learners feel at their desks with various audiences from time-to-time for the past 5 years. What I've learned is:

1. Less than 15% of an audience typically has taken an e-learn course (self-paced course as opposed to a hosted webinar)
2. Less than 50% of those who have taken an e-learn course actually finished it.
3. Skill development type courses seem to fare well i.e., how-to "program macro's in excel";
4. Knowledge acquisition courses seem to convert to memory lessons rather than understanding of concepts....just because one remembers something doesn't mean that they have learned it
5. When I've spoken to e-learn participants I'm constantly told: "My boss doesn't respect the fact that I am taking a course at my desk -- and just interrupts." "There is an expectation that I will take the e-learn course on my time, well....I'm already working 50 hours a week, it ain't going to happen." In my view until such time as writers -- educators -- facilitators -- web technology professionals -- begin to understand the medium called e-learning we're not going to go very far with this method of providing learning. There is too much "re-purposing" of stand up material in an e-learn format -- which doesn't work. Just because material works in a written format, or classroom format, or tutoring format, doesn't mean it'll work in an e-learning format.”

- Sid Ridgley, MBA CSP, Simul Corporation


“I think the question (“Are workplaces really ideal for e-Learning?”) is backward. It depends on whether the e-Learning was designed for workplaces. My experience in cube farms is that people walk up and interrupt virtually anything else—even client conversations. I’ve also found that most people choose to interrupt themselves during Elearning (asynch or synch) by checking email, looking at caller ID to see who is calling, looking out the window to check the weather, watching others meet and converse in the room, etc. There’s no corporate policy or learner discipline strong enough to stop that. So if e-Learning is going to be used in the workplace it needs to be designed to anticipate (and maybe even benefit from) those influences. Let’s stop calling them interruptions and call them co-facilitators, instead.”

- Todd Beck, Senior Product Manager, AchieveGlobal


“I've been conducting remote synchronous, hands-on computer training for the past 4 years. No one is at the same location as me. We talk on the phone while I watch what they're doing on their PCs. Occasionally I control someone's mouse to point something out. Other people might attend the same class, either in the same room as other trainees, or at different locations. This isn't typical e-Learning, but the situation is similar.

We had poor luck with people attending at their desks, so we require everyone to be in training rooms with fixed walls, not cube partitions. The first year we did allow people to attend at their desks, and here's some of the feedback we received, leading to the training room requirement:

Interruptions - Co-workers ignored signs and even barricades at times.
Noise - Sometimes it's hard to hear because of outside noise. Others are worried about bothering nearby co-workers, so they either won't use the speaker phone, or won't talk much. Communication is key to this type of training.
Privacy - Some people don't like being overheard, or simply like the privacy of a classroom setting. One person attending from her desk said she didn't want to ask questions because she didn't want people to overhear her. She wasn't intimidated by the class setting or me.

In addition to these, there are other distractions. I've observed people trying to read/answer email, and I could sometimes hear people shuffling papers around, like they're reading papers not related to class. There's also been inattention at times when I could not determine the distraction. People like the convenience of attending at their desk, but the temptation to multi-task is too great for some.

If people are in a classroom setting, their attention is much more focused. They know why they are in the room - to learn. Also, people don't interrupt a closed door to a training room.”

- George Duchossois, Senior Training Specialist, Great West Casualty Company


“Most of what I have seen come across my desk for "Elearning" is still lots of reading text, page turner, and the "interactivity" is limited to a quiz question here or there about something you just read. This is certainly true of in-house development where we are in the infancy of learning how to develop Elearning, lack the range of software and skills to develop more complex products that are laden with graphics and simulations to reach all learning styles.

I hear that learners are tempted to click through Elearning to the end. As fast as possible. This more feasible with page turner products.

When we contract out for Elearning development, we are have had more engaging products that can stimulate some thinking and learning. This is due to the interactivity that can be built in when someone is working in their area of expertise and their core business is Elearning development, so they will be on the cutting of what's possible. Of course, there is a cost to this level of quality that our budgets in social services are sometimes.”

- Judy L GERRARD


“I'm probably part of a small-ish group comparatively, but I don't even work at my desk. A lot of my colleagues and I learn anywhere we can get an Internet connection and sometimes that's not even a requirement as we can download the "training" to our desktops. True, learning in an airport or a coffee house or a city park might not be any more conducive to a eLearning module where you have to concentrate, absorb and reflect but a) if you're more comfortable and relaxed it has to be better and b) I've been tasked with not creating long, elaborate eLearning modules. Maybe the sweet spot is a combination of ID and location: just enough to "get it" without too much interference from your venue.”
- Dawn Adams Miller


“I experience a wealth of informal learning in my job on a daily basis - but that is just the nature of my job. As for sitting down and working through a structured learning event at my desk - the day-to-day distractions of my office, co-workers etc make it a very difficult achievement. I have tried e-Learning courses at work with limited success; however, for me I have found that my best learning occurs between 9 pm (when my son is in bed) and midnight, when I typically run out of gas for the day. I go to my den in the basement where I can put on some background music and get totally absorbed in what I am doing. Three hours never seems enough but as I get older, I have notice my body is quick to remind me when I have surpassed the reasonable limits!”

- Lt(N) Brett Christensen, TDO, Canadian Forces Support Training Group HQ


“When I have something that I need to do that requires concentration, like learning or any kind of understanding, I need to physically leave my office and go where people will either 1) be able to see me in plain sight and leave me alone, or 2) be engaged in like activity in therefore, leave me alone. If in my office at my desk, whether the door is closed or not, they will not leave me alone. My assistant, who sits in a cubicle, has a similar situation. If she puts ear buds in place, and is obviously “not available”, people will tap her shoulder to “ask just a quick question”. I think our society has devolved to a state where busy and unavailable are no longer recognized states – we are always available if “in the office.” So I take myself out of the office to concentrate – so does my assistant. “

- Laurie Davis, Director of eLearning and Workflow Solutions, Healthcare Professional Business Unit, Net Learning, Thomson Delmar Learning


“Maybe the problem is that I am a boomer, and not a GenX/Yer, however, with my open office I find it very difficult to maintain the concentration that I believe is required for serious learning. I recently completed an e-learning package concerning guidelines for experimentation with human subjects and I found that I needed to study the course materials AFTER most of my office colleagues had gone home for the day. This problem also occurs when I am trying to prepare critical reports. While routine work can be accomplished in a typically busy office area, I find that more serious work requires a more serious environment.”

- Arthur L. Friedman, Ed.D., MLS, Professor and Coordinator, Office for Distance Education/College of the Air



“In my experience, people need a way to separate themselves from their environment in order to focus on learning.

We have tried providing headphones. However, in an open plan office, culture has a greater impact on whether people can focus on learning. If the culture does not respect the need to have uninterrupted learning time, people will continue to interrupt others while they are learning - regardless of whether they have headphones on or are in another room. Often employees wait until after hours (either at work or at home) to complete learning activities.”

- Josephine Parker, Organizational Development Program Manager, HR Shared Services, AMP



“In many cases, the physical layout of workspaces makes e-learning quite difficult Specifically, there are departments within my company (including my current work group) that have purposely designed their workspaces to be void of cubicle walls. While this design has helped promote interaction/collaboration, it is not a space that is conducive to thoughtful, reflective e-learning. Interruptions are common, & in addition, there are times when the noise level within the area makes it difficult to concentrate/get work done. At Lilly, a large percentage of our employees who work at our mfg. sites may share workstations with other employees. These shared workstations are on the shop floor. "Production" is the emphasis for these employees. This noisy, often chaotic environment is not conductive to thoughtful, reflective learning. While we have a learning center that provides an environment that is away from the shop floor where mfg. employees can do more thoughtful/reflective learning, we continue to face resistance from operations leaders in sending their employees to our facility. (Travel time to our facility is cited as a barrier, as this is additional time off the floor & time away from production.)”

- Paula J. Fritsch, M.Ed, PHR, Associate Training Consultant, School of Manufacturing and Quality, MQ Learning Center



“From first hand observation, it does not work well in our environment.

1. As long as the learner is in their normal "work setting" they feel a pressure to answer any inquiries, requests, etc. i.e., they cannot shut out normal work demands and concentrate only on the eLearning.
2. Our physical environment is not conducive - too crowded and too much noise/distraction - and we can't use the audio feature without using headsets or we are adding to the chaos.
3. ELearning always evolves into a 'round to it' priority - people start their assignments but it takes outside pressure to get them to finish
4. Part of that is because (a.) much eLearning is not that engaging or compelling; (b.) much eLearning content is so fundamental (because more complex concepts don't lend themselves to one-way self-study) it does not provide a sense of accomplishment/growth; (c.) many of us just don't learn well without interaction with others and 2-way interaction with the subject matter expert.”

- Fred Friend, Learning & Development


"It depends...."


“You're going to love this answer ... it depends!

It depends on how important the learning is to the person. I completed both my bachelors and masters on-line, doing a lot of work at my desk during lunch the rest at home. Believe me, I learned! I've also attended several webinars, e-learning sessions, etc. The learning I did was a mixed bag, and I relate that directly to the importance of the learning to me ... my job ... my life. If it wasn't that important ... I was a "hostage" learning (I had to be there), then I found myself muting the phone and working, keeping one ear on the lesson, just in case my name was called. If I wanted to be there, I was all over the sessions. You can guess which session I learned more from. I don't think it matters if you are at home or at work. To me, as an adult learner, it’s all about the importance of what I'm learning.”

- Marilyn L. Rubin, Director BSD IT Operations, Arthur J. Gallagher Brokerage & Risk Management



“I’ve experienced this very serious issue at several companies. I believe it’s all about the culture. Here are best and the worst actual situations.

* At it’s worst, I saw an employee rebellion against e-learning in a 5000 person corporation because they felt they were being “tricked” into working extra hours after work and at home. This was true even though the company publicly supported “at your desk” learning.
* At its best, employees turn off/cover their phone, post signs on their cubicles, and both peers and managers supported them.

Employees in noisy areas moved to conference rooms containing computers. Attitudes towards e-learning were high. “
- Steven Brewer, MSM, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF, PMP, Training Manager, Automated Services Division, Philadelphia Insurance Companies


“Yes - but given the choice, laptop in a nice cafe overlooking the sea will
do - depends on how exciting the e-learning is as to how much they
concentrate or multitask alongside”

- Nicola Avery , The Learning Technology Group


“It has been my experience that workers will do eLearning that is directly related to what they are doing at work. If it is theoretical in nature they prefer to move into a classroom or do it at home. "How to" on a topic works well such as constructing tables in Word as it has a sense of immediacy? Those who are lucky enough to be able to close their office door can do it from work but those who live in cubes must work differently.”

- Michael D. Belanger, Ph.D., Acquisition, Technology & Logistics, Naval Service Training Command



“My first thoughts brought me back to 2000, doing synchronous online sessions while working at Lockheed Martin. One of the most common complaints we had from our learners was that their colleagues did not respect their “learning space”. Despite the fact that our learners would be sitting at their computer actively listening and speaking to their facilitator with a headset on, people in their office constantly would interrupt them. It became evident quickly that this was an important barrier to success for our learners. We joked about putting yellow caution tape up to block their cubicle entrance. Some people specifically told their colleagues they were unavailable during that time before the class. Other people stayed home for synchronous sessions. It is the same issue people have with ignoring their emails and other phone calls. Some companies I facilitated training for recognized this even being an issue for ILT courses. To combat this they removed access to email in the training rooms. We eventually set ground rules for our synchronous sessions that promised to further the success of the session for each person. Examples include, forward your phone, close your email, set your calendar to show you as in a meeting during your learning time, etc…

Today eLearning has almost evolved to a design that encourages sporadic review. We develop short modules that can be taken quickly and allow learners to take pieces of the course over time as their schedule allows. Classroom training has that benefit of isolation and collaboration that eLearning can lack at times. My perception of eLearning is changing and I think if your coworkers are also engaged in the same eLearning that interaction can be controlled and add real value to your learning. I see opportunities for us to structure eLearning in different ways.

Being a virtual worker I find that I need to get away from the family as much as my email. They are my “coworkers” and I do look for a quiet room. When I worked in an office I did try to book a conference room for eLearning. Obviously business needs can supersede learning but to really learn I think learners need dedicated time regardless of the method they are using to learn in order for the time to be as beneficial as it could be.”

- Nicholas Bird, RWD Technologies


“I think the key thing to present to employees is "choice". As adults we all love to have choices, and as learners, we need to have choices so that we can custom-create our optimum learning environment for our situation and personality.

For example, at my company, some of our employees love to learn at home, because it is where they can have the quietest, most dedicated time. Other employees could never learn at home because the demands of their families and households would be too distracting.
With regards to learning at the workplace, some people prefer to have a learning centre away from their desks, so that they are not distracted by the phone ringing and co-workers stopping by. At the same time, other employees (particularly the worrisome ones), when taken from their desks they are so worried about missing an urgent call or email, that they had might as well be at their desks. Also, I think some people are motivated by knowing their peers could be "watching", so they pay more attention when at their desks than what they do in a separate learning location. Others find the prospect of being observed very intimidating.

So -- with all this in mind, I think it's best to try to offer employees a choice of learning environments. Thankfully, with ELearning that is a possibility.”

- Teara Schreiner, Learning Technology Specialist, UFA Co-operative Limited



“As with almost everything in life. It depends. My experience both as a learner and as a presenter has been that there are two critical factors that determine if e-learning can be delivered to the learner's work desk. The first factor is time or maybe more precisely the time it takes to complete the training. The less time a training session requires, the more likely the learner can successfully complete the training. As the time required to complete the training increases, so does the likelihood of interruptions. As interruptions increase so does learner frustration until the learner adopts a 'just get through it' attitude that severely reduces the effectiveness of the training.

The second factor is the location of the work desk. Workers who have their own office can close their doors for a short time and place their telephone in the do-not-disturb mode. They are then free to complete the training with minimal distractions. Workers in cubicles (floor to ceiling) are also able to limit their interruptions since they are somewhat separated from their peers. Workers in open offices, half cubicles (only 3 feet tall) or in high traffic areas would have a very difficult time in participating in an effective training session. Supervisors and managers have to be sensitive to the time and location factor and make adjustments when needed.”

- John W. Morgan, Distributed Learning Coordinator, General Dynamics Resident School


“I think the short answer is, "It depends".
I think most of us will concede that ELearning is not an optimal modality for most topics. Even when we focus on just skills & knowledge where it has the best chance of working, leaving the rest of Gilbert's boxes out of the focus, we are still challenged. However, If the environment is supportive of learning at one's desk and the individual takes on the responsibility to give it a chance there is a chance of ELearning being reasonably effective, assuming:

* topics are given a fair evaluation as the appropriateness of the content

* the audience is considered. There are times when anytime/anywhere

* considerations are key and ELearning floats to the top.

Just my 2¢.”

- Ron Ryan, AVP, OnDemand Instructional Design, Countrywide University


“I have to say that this, like most questions, really depends on the individual worker's situation. For instance, if they are in a production type of environment, I doubt that they'd have the ability to truly reflect on learning when they could be repeatedly interrupted by the minor emergencies of the moment. And even in a non-production office environment, it depends on the nature of the work being done. Is it a noisy environment? Is it quiet but has a lot of movement, hustle and bustle? My company recognized that taking e-learning courses at one's desk might not be a good solution, but the learning had to get done. We have a couple of different solutions in place. The first, and my personal favorite is that our company has set up (I believe the term is) an extranet. We are able to log in to a secure site from an external location (our home, the library, etc) and take any e-learning courses in our internal library. The company also understands that some people have neither the time nor inclination to take courses away from work. Therefore in our major locations, we generally have learning labs in place so that employees can reserve a pc in a quiet location to take their e-learning courses. The one in my site is used pretty regularly because we have a lot of employees in a production environment.

I don't think that it is impossible for e-learning to be successful at your desk. I used to work in a very quiet environment where people respected your learning time. We would hang a sign outside our cube wall to indicate that we shouldn't be disturbed because we were either taking a course, or in some cases, actually delivering distance learning from our desks. It can work and work successfully; however, the conditions must be conducive to a successful experience. I am now located at the corner of a busy intersection. That alone provides constant distraction for me, so there's no way I can either take a course or deliver a course very effectively.”

- Tammy Payne, Learning Generalist, Wachovia Operating Services and Training


“Yes and no - how's that for an answer.

My experience - we can when the online desk learning is part of a systemic process...it needs to be integrated into a personal accountability mechanism and as always we learn when we need to know. Timing of the introduction of "new content", "new practices" is crucial.

I don't think it is effective when introducing a major enterprise wide (defined loosely) change initiative unless it has been preceded by significant up front group/team process introductions that are usually most effective in live group settings and one on one people to people interactions.

Learning at my desk is a great way to help me reflect which is a necessary part of absorbing new concepts and new content.

On line desk learning is an excellent tool as long as our expectations are realistically optimistic. Expecting "it" to be the "get it" answer is a sure failure.”

- Pamela J. Schmidt, Executive Director


“It's happening right now but an important question is what we accept as Elearning. The less formal the Elearning, the more I see happening everyday. There is still a cultural acceptance gap for the longer, formal ELearning courses.

The effectiveness of any learning will always be in proportion to the engagement at the time of the learning activity. If you are doing this at your normal place of work, then it is likely that the normal work process will interfere with the learning session. Similarly the more complex the subject, the reflection required and duration of the session is likely to interfere with work! Are we building baseline capability or honing acquired skills? The answer gives the direction on the structure required and the approach.

"Can workers really learn via ELearning at their work desks? Should we encourage or discourage this?

Lionizing is most effective in the workplace with the correct context and at the time/point of need. We learn best when we aren't aware we are learning and the internet/intranet is supporting this 'stealth' learning. The 'delegates' decide what they need, how much, how quickly and if it takes priority over other activities. We have to support and align our more traditional learning activities to this new world.

Like all learning we need to know it's limitations and benefits, ensuring we hit the 'sweet spot'”.

- Jonathan Helps, Global Technology L&D Manager, Europe Resourcing, Learning & Development Vodafone Group Services Ltd


“I have the freedom to do some Elearning at my desk, but I don't do much there. If I do, I try to do it by arriving a bit early in the morning before things get busy. During the day I'm usually too busy to take time specifically for e-learning. Even then, my intentions are better than my practice. I'll go in spurts for days depending on what my learning needs are. In other words, I seek out online learning when I have an immediate need to learn something specific.”

- Allen Burnett, Instructional Designer


“Certainly one can learn at his desk. Isn't this what we are doing when we do research and analysis? So many of our activities are thought based, and it is the compilation of data that influences conclusions and actions. While some like to facetiously (and with some candor thrown in) say, all decisions are made emotionally and justified later using logic, it is still the thought process that drives behavior.

Let's take a real life example. Within our parent corporation, Apollo Group, we have Apollo Corporate University (ACU). ACU is responsible for multiple types of training within the organization. We conduct periodic compliance training using this medium, and we also conduct multiple internal management development programs online. It is quite apparent that behaviors are changed through these processes.

I would also add that with the huge growth in distance education online in its many forms that there is a clear indication that the trend to supporting online education continues to climb upward with increasing endorsement. Now, the question could be asked about how employees should or can spend their time while at the work station (computer)? This could lead to a discussion of efficiency as an example. There should be information available to support the value of at the desk training vs. classroom training as more efficient.

Considerations of the type of training and knowledge retention contrasted to the interpersonal benefits of meeting in the classroom and the networking that occurs can also be addressed.”

- Denny Bates, Director, Military Programs, Europe, University of Phoenix


“In my experience it is dependant a wide range of criteria. Age, Culture, subject matter, depth of material, style of material.

Without question some basic learning is possible. However, the selection of the material must remain uppermost. Soft skills cannot be taught to Sales Personnel, whereas a young engineer has no problem with learning more product knowledge

My own daughter is evidence of a learning change. A 16 year old, who when on the PC will have SMS messages, music, emails, MSN, and other stimulations hit her constantly every minute. Her capacity to deal with so many stimulations is awesome. It poses problems for advertisers who want her attention, which is now approx 5 seconds. It poses a greater issue for her learning on line. Whilst she is an A grade student in school. Her expectations of an on-line environment where her life explodes will be hard pressed to be met by any designers.

In the meantime, with the office space becoming increasingly crowded as corporations reduce the size of the "foot print", it will mean that the environment will NOT be conducive to On Line learning whilst at the same time, the expectations for this form of learning will increase. The lack of solid measurement of the transition of these learning outcomes to the job will only result in further unrealistic expectations continuing.

Just as we have those individuals who survive the Face To Face "learning experience" and return to their job continuing the same behaviors, we will now undertake exactly the same on line. The difference at the moment is it is seen as a cost saving, and falls back again to the "bums on seats" mentality.

New approaches must be considered. We must keep our eye on the outcomes sought. NOT the mechanism, NOT the costs, but the business outcomes MUST be the measurement.”

- Chris Tandridge, Sales Excellence – TSG


“- I think each of us has several moments of informal Elearning at our desks every day - a formal e-learning course can be also followed at the desk if it's modular and short - you can have a short learning break, put on headphones if necessary (we don't use audio or voice over as most of our courses have to be translated in multiple European languages) and concentrate 10-15 min on one module - if the course is longer than 15 min, requires high level of concentration and has to be completed in one time, it's better to do it during lunch, at home or in the separate room I think - but Elearning can become very social if I and my colleagues are Elearning at their desks”

- Natalia Rud, E-Learning Specialist, Learning Technologies Group, Market Development Division, Toyota Motor Europe


“The way ELearning has been positioned repeatedly by ill-informed sales personnel, representing even some of the leading names in the industry, is that an Enterprise just has to subscribe to a multitude of content and people will be excited enough to register and learn.

I don’t think ELearning can succeed by itself. I also think that the regular work-force is not motivated enough to invest time in learning. They would rather go with a "trial and error" approach.

Therefore I believe ELearning has to be combined with a host of other activities and initiatives to succeed. Some of the points I mention below are already adopted approaches to successful implementation.

1. ELearning needs line-managers, more than anyone else, to be the champions.
2. Competitive incentive programs should be rolled out for individuals and groups who learn more and are able to demonstrate application of that learning in their workplace. People should see peers win accolades, financial incentives and promotions for the investments they make in learning.
3. ELearning at desks should be restricted to decision support or task-support. In this I mean, people should be able to launch a specific module while on a particular task, either to get clarity on the steps to accomplish/complete the task without errors or to identify choices for a particular situation. After using a small chunk of that learning object, the learner should be asked by the system if they wish to learn more about it after they have completed a task. If the learner answers in the affirmative, the system should be able to display a short-cut that will launch extended pieces of the module.
4. Reflective learning, Policy education etc should be taken away from desks and moved into collaborative environments. There should be a point where Line Managers or SMEs intervene to reinforce a point.

Further more, I also believe that most companies miss out on including the learner's native culture when they design a learning framework. If ELearning is truly meant to be customized to individual learning styles, the learner should be able to choose a method that they are used to. For instance, while learners in the US may be accustomed to learning on their own and using systems exhaustively, learners from other parts of the world may always need the "ice-breaking" to be done by a mentor/coach before moving to the ELearning modules.”

- Rajith Nair


“I believe it is difficult for employees to learn at their desk under "normal" circumstances and without a significant amount of discipline.

At my company, the training function is increasingly being restricted to the point of being unconcerned with the "real" answer to that question.

In other words, we have had our content development and learning delivery dollars reduced so much over the past 3-4 years (to as little as one-fifth of 3 years ago!) that we have no other option to deliver via e-learning at the desktop. It is difficult to argue with the return on investment when we don't really have any good way to assess training quality in terms of retained knowledge, changed behavior and performance improvement. (I will not get on my soap box regarding the futility of training ROI!)

To address the hurdles of concentration and interruption when trying to learn at the desk, we've tried a variety of things:

  • When using synchronous, remote learning build in frequent interaction in the form of discussion, polls, surveys and direct questions to specific students.
  • Break sessions into no longer than 2-hours at a time. Typically, we'll spend a half to a third as much time covering a topic in a teleconference as we would if it were in person. Rather than address the topic in a single sitting, I have found good learner reception by having two sessions on consecutive days -- always avoiding Monday and Friday!
  • If the Elearning is asynchronous, I keep modules as short as possible. Ideally, I can provide an opportunity for someone to get an hour or two worth of content at a shot AND allow them to get 10-minutes at a shot. It is then up to the learner to sit down in one session and take-it-all-in or come back as often as necessary to get what they need on a topic-by-topic basis.
  • Attempt to do more than just training in the training class. I have had synchronous events where a group collaborates to create a document representing the work they needed to get done as a team. We use a trainer / subject matter expert in a specific discipline to facilitate them through the process and provide "micro lessons" when they get stuck. They leave the class with awareness of a new way of working and they have part of their work completed at the same time.

I should emphasize, these are tactics I use. I can't say all of my colleagues do these things... Or that they don't do better things!”

- John L Morris, Learning Program Manager, Hewlett-Packard Company



“I thought I'd bring up the subject of knowledge content from a different angle. While I wholeheartedly believe in the concepts behind fingertip knowledge and knowledge sharing, I work for one of the larger online universities today. Currently we pay SMEs (via contract) for our content to be developed, and because of this, we "own" content... if only from the perspective of a "For-Profit" university that also happens to be a publicly-traded company. So far we have been making rapid advances in online learning thanks to the bold efforts of a highly-talented young design team.

As you can guess, distributing this content via, say, a podcasted lecture means that we are placing "our proprietary content" out on the internet to be freely distributed to no end (I imagine that this applies to every corporate training department as well, thus endangering proprietary corporate information on specific procedures, processes, etc.). While our information is password protected (at the front gate of the LMS server), it is NOT protected once it has been downloaded or posted on the web. Again, the same would be true for any corporation.

Additionally, we could add "identification" of ownership in, say, an audio introduction added both preceding and after the content, however I'm sure one session with Audacity would get rid of that. Lastly, we’ve developed some custom audio pieces for Humanities courses (similar to old-time radio works like "The Shadow", etc.) that apply various actors, sound engineering techniques and special effects to a piece... that have really turned out excellent. Because we didn't have a policy at the time, the only way that I've protected them is by using a link in the lecture to an .m3u (playlist) file. This then "points" to a streaming mp3 in a different server folder. While this way protects the file from being downloadable, it doesn't add m-learning capabilities for our students to experience while on the train, etc... but it does keep our stuff... "our stuff."

So my questions are:

1. What types of discussions should we be having about security issues for m-Learning content (e.g. is it an all or nothing proposition or is there a middle ground?)
2. While many podcasts are distributed for promotional purposes, how can we protect proprietary university or corporate information delivered through m-learning currently?
3. Are there existing software tools (open-source, freeware, shareware or commercial) currently for adding security for proprietary information?
4. What about self-destructible content? Can there be some sort of a technical provision for expiration dates on media? I've heard of a university still auto-updating lecture podcast for a student who dropped out a year ago... so why pay for a class? Just sign-up, drop, get a refund and you'll learn for free. :).”

- Todd Labak, Sr. Instructional Designer, DeVry University Online/Keller Graduate School/Chamberlain School of Nursing



“Most of our students prefer a blended learning with some face-to-face particularly on the more technical topics. The proprietary LMS we use is useful for communications and sending and receiving assignments etc.

Training and mentoring needs some dedication in terms of time by both student and trainer otherwise there tends to be slippage and lengthening response times etc.

Use of SMS & mobile phone is useful to provide encouragement.

There is an increasing trend towards use of video and voice communications - Skype etc needs further exploitation. Voice e-mail is quick and useful - transmission as an mp3 file.”

- Nick Williams, Archer College


“I think workers can learn at their desktops if the learning interaction is short (no more 5-10 minutes) and very focused. I think topics which require more time, concentration and reflection have limited success when completed at their work desks. The workplace distractions can be overwhelming. For instance, call center reps can see and hear their colleagues continue to take calls - a constant reminder that they too must meet their daily quota of calls. Workers should be allowed to put on their "learning hats" which means providing a leaning space or a time which is free from workplace distractions.”

- Dan J. Clark, Travelers



“It depends...on the content and the delivery mode. Drawing from the latest research by respected authors on cognitive learning and the virtual classroom, I would venture to state that return on learning (ROL) is actually less than we are willing to admit in public. Let's calculate the actual learning achieved from Elearning using the following Excel formula:

IF(Audio included, IF(headphones available, IF(multi-tasking is limited, IF(interruptions decreased, IF(interactivity=same as ILT,e-learning at desks)”

- Bob Nutting, Manager of Training & Development UHC Marketing, Sales Training and Performance


“Two problems I believe people have with learning at their desk are the fear of being disturbed and the worry about not doing "paid work" whilst at their desk. Not all businesses have the luxury of a spare room where staff can sit without disturbance to complete their learning and these staff fears that they remain too busy at their desk simply because they are there, visible to others and within reach of a ringing 'phone. There are things companies can do to alleviate this situation.

  • Instruct staff to put their 'phone on voicemail or forward it to a secretary/colleague for the duration of their training.
  • Agree a signal to show their colleagues on the floor they are in "learning mode". A raised paper flag on their desk, a colored vest on the back of the chair. These things may need a policy dictated by managers to ensure that all staff abide by the rule of non-disturbance.
  • Give a time code to book learning to. Learning is as important as other business activities and giving it a time code strengthens this message to staff.”

- Neil Eustice, IT Training Technical Advisor, IT Services Desktop Services, KPMG LLP


“You tossed in a fairly hefty wrench when you narrowed the learning environment to that where theory and reflection were required. In today's productive business environment, few have enough time to eat lunch away from their desks much less ponder issues that don't immediately impact their day-to-day job performance. If anything, the ability to obtain this information at their desks makes it much more accessible to the average worker. The real issue here is motivation. Most companies issue "mission critical initiatives" without regard to the employee's own selfish needs - what's in it for me? You might mandate staff to sit at the table, but few will eat, and even fewer will digest. If you want employees to truly engage the learning process (e-Learning, ILT, EPSS, etc.), you'll need to set the menu according to the diner's tastes. Bon appetit.”

- Sean Reyes, Senior Account Executive, LearningGuide Solutions USA


“It depends on the worker and their work environment. Personally, I prefer e-learning (because I don't enjoy travel) and I am shy (so live e-learning is more comfortable for me). It takes effort on the part of the learner (by hanging a sign up that says "I'm learning right now please don't interrupt me") and on the part of the company (offering a quiet place for employees and having the culture to respect each individual's space). There will always be people to enjoy learning from books, from the computer, and in person - it just depends on your learning style and in what environment you feel most comfortable.”

- Anne Harper, E-learning consultant


“Reduced troop strength, increased deployments, and a continuing need to provide training have made e-learning essential for the Air Force. Policy encourages learners to use their desktop computers during duty hours to complete job related training. Anecdotal reports suggest that “at work” e-learning, for a variety of reasons, is not always possible or practical.

1. “Drive by taskings” – some managers consider their subordinates to be available for tasking if they are at their own desk “just playing with the computer”
2. Lack of access to a computer – some jobs do not include the use of a computer. Security Forces, truck drivers, flight line maintenance personnel do not always have access to an administrative computer in their work locations.
3. Environmental issues – Work places are particularly prone to telephones ringing, co-worker conversations, pedestrian traffic, etc. Unless a person is incredibly focused, content which is complex or conceptual is difficult to process.

If content is packaged into small, easily digestible chunks, e-learning at the work desk is usually successful. Learners faced with longer presentations or difficult material generally fall into one of three groups:

1. Those who will use their work computer to access their e-learning despite the disadvantages.
2. Those who take advantage of facilities in alternate locations such as the Base library or education center. This option is provided during work hours and is viewed as the equivalent to going to a classroom.
3. Those who will only work from their personal computers at home. They prefer to learn in their jammies and fuzzy slippers while, perhaps, enjoying an adult beverage.

"Can workers really learn via e-Learning at their work desks?" Sure but perhaps the question should be “Do workers preferlearning via e-learning at their work desks?” And of course the answer would be a resounding “Sometimes”.”

- Gary J. Twogood, Air Education and Training Command


“Actually, I get distracted with other items attempting to ELearn unless have closed myself off from all around me. If I would be in a designated room/desk, then Elearning would be great. Even better if had live chat available for questions too. Overall, I actually prefer a classroom setting.”

I canvassed a few colleagues here at Verizon and here is what they had to say. The first one is from someone who works in one of our call center and has developed training material for our associates who talk directly to outside customers:

“In my opinion, the distractions of desk side activities are part of a normal working day. Associates manage to conduct business with their customers regardless of what is going on around them and taking an e-learn course is no different. Also, the level of concentration afforded by the associate has to do with content. Is the course interesting? Does it utilize various graphics to capture the audience? Is it interactive? From a coaching perspective, Elearning is a valuable tool for providing consistent information to large groups without delay. As service levels permit, associates can sign on and begin training within moments, and most courses only take about the same amount of time as it would to gather the audience in a training room, make sure the instructor is present, and settle everyone in.”

This next one is from a colleague in a staff position:

“For me, the best e-learning experience can be in the workplace, dependent upon the content. When the content is complex, the learning needs to be in a separate room, behind closed doors and away from the hustle and bustle (Conf calls, IM's, people stopping by your desk to say Hi etc ..) of my peers. If content is simple, then at my desk is feasible.”

- Jerry Granito, Verizon Communications