Like any training medium, online learning can be misused.  It is so quick and easy to put something online that even well-meaning people could fail to employ instructional design principles when creating their materials.  I understand that their are times when project constraints require hard decisions to be made.  However, if you are allocating time and resources to a learning project it is important to employ best practices.

The image above demonstrates the need for instructional design principles when creating online learning.  In short, the more engaged a learner is, the more he or she retains.

Much of what passes as online learning involves lots of reading and seeing. Very rarely does it require the learner to contribute anything.  If you want your learners to retain more you must involve them.  That takes effort, expertise, and a desire to create a more meaningful experience for your audience.