Skillsoft Blog

5 Objections to eLearning and How to Diffuse Them

5 Objections to Elearning and How to Diffuse Them

By Candy Osborne

When you set out to bring an elearning program to your organization, don’t be surprised by resistance you may experience; inevitably, with change comes objections.

Here are some common objections you might face and ideas for how you might handle them.

Objection 1 – “Employees don’t have time to learn.”

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” If Honest Abe knew that it was worth it to take time to sharpen the axe, why do we have such a hard time applying that to today’s world?

Stephen R. Covey talks about the same concept of “sharpening the saw” as Habit 7 of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He says that it’s necessary to find balance to avoid burnout and that by taking time to sharpen the saw, you will find better balance (, September 23, 2014). Imagine the results of an individual, a team or a workforce that is better balanced.

Objection 2 – “Elearning isn’t effective.”

Not only is elearning highly effective, but it has also demonstrated better transference rates than traditional ILT. For example, the average learning application rate is 20-50%. But in a study conducted by KnowledgeAdvisors, the Skillsoft learning application rate is 86%. This equates to less waste on training budgets, higher application of learning to the job and increased business performance (The Skillsoft Impact Analysis, by Laura Rexford. Skillsoft, 2014).

Objection 3 – “Learning must be customized.”

Your generic learning is not as effective as my (proprietary) learning. As a general rule of thumb, half of all learning within any organization is generic, meaning that the same general content and learning objectives apply across the industry, while the remaining half is unique to the personality of that organization and needs to be custom-developed either internally or externally.

Objection 4 – “The value learning brings to workforce improvement or business gains is highly questionable and hard to measure.”

According to David Vance, author of The Business of Learning: How to Manage Corporate Training to Improve Your Bottom Line, “measurement strategy flows from the management strategy.” A great learning partner will be able to guide you through a measurement process to determine the impact to the business. The Center for Talent Reporting has defined standard practices for measuring learning’s efficiency, effectiveness and outcomes. Learn more at

Objection 5 – “Why should we pay for copyrighted content when there is so much on the internet for free?”

Yes, there is a lot of free stuff out there. There is also a lot of information to sift through and to filter out. There is also no guarantee that it will be available tomorrow or three months from now. There is no alignment to personal, company or business goals and no formal tracking. In the world of elearning, you get what you pay for and “free” isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

Candy Osborne is a Senior Marketing Manager at Skillsoft. Follow Candy on Twitter, @CandyOsborne.

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