Ethan Hathaway’s Online Learning Manifesto

Online learning.


Virtual training.


Whatever you want to call it.

Right now, schools, higher education institutions, corporate learning & training are all scrambling to move to online learning formats.

We’ve been doing it for years and during that time, we’ve tweaked and optimized the online learning format.

I see many training/course providers frantically switching over and slapping a live, in-person course onto a Zoom call.

That simply doesn’t work. That method is broken. It’s not meant to impart knowledge, it’s meant to check off an item on a to-do list.

Ask any attendee on such a marathon Zoom “class” to recall what they “learned”.

You’ll mostly be met with silence.


The human brain is not built to learn that way.

These are the most common mistakes I’m seeing:

Half-Day or Full-Day Zoom Classes

As mentioned, I see many Instructors & providers merely slapping their live, in-person training onto a full-day Zoom call.

The human brain cannot focus for such a long time (and that’s assuming they’re highly interested in that topic).

Our EH Learning Method branded online courses are designed to fit within the optimal attention span of the human brain.

Look for courses marked with the EH Learning Method badge.

Free Content Everywhere

The rise in MOOCS like Coursera and edX offering “free” courses (free to consume the content but you pay a full fee for the certificate) are notorious for their microscopic completion rates. (Look at their website and notice how all the focus is on enrollment numbers, but not course completions).

The rise in “free” is detrimental to our learning.


You no longer know what is true, what is right, what makes sense, what is a common misconception and more. 

How do you know you’re learning the RIGHT thing about a topic?

It’s a battle between overwhelming information (free) versus knowledge (premium).

That’s where a paid course shows value.

We use a painstaking process to filter and select the right instructors.

Imagine climbing Mt. Everest, there are free guides (or Sherpas) offering their services to you.

Would you trust a Sherpa that is offering to guide you for free? How would you know you’ll reach the summit or end up falling off a cliff?

Our carefully selected Instructor’s job is to show you how all the information fits together. So, you reach the summit safely.

Completion Isn’t Everything Either…

While MOOC’s only yield tiny course completion rates, course completion rate is only a small fraction of what is important when it comes to training & learning (which is what many EduTech startups will make you believe)…

…it’s about whether the student retains, knows how to apply the learned skills and achieve the desired outcomes.

Which sales person would you prefer to keep?

  1. Sales person A, took your online on-boarding/training course through a shiny, new EduTech learning platform, passed a multiple-choice test OR
  2. Sales person B, took your learning optimized on-boarding/training course, and actually sold something

Online But Not Digital…

Whaaaat??? What does this mean?

Our ever-increasing reliance on our digital devices is actually hurting us in terms of learning.

As Jim Kwik, famously known as the Brain Coach, writes,

“The less we use our brains, the less we remember and retain.”

Your brain is a muscle – either use it or lose it definitely applies here.

While we use online/digital channels to deliver materials to you, we suggest analog methods to consume the learning materials.

For Serious Learners Only

As you can see, there are many nuances and methods to optimize your learning.

Some people only want the piece of paper at the end of a course to check that box off, and there are the serious learners who understand that learning, retaining that learning and knowing how to apply that learning in your life and job are the desired outcomes.

Over to you…

…which type of learner are you?

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