6 Real Reasons Why Employees Fail Their Online Training Certification


Certification is a mark of excellence within an industry, and there are professional and financial rewards that come with obtaining certification. A certificate is proof of employee skill level and provides credibility to progress within the organization for roles with greater responsibility. A certificate offers employees a feeling of accomplishment and motivates employees to keep up the good work. 

Certification promotes a learning and growth culture within the organization. With industries undergoing frequent changes, employees need to constantly update their knowledge and skills, which is accomplished through certification programs. It enables organizations to quickly augment their resource base for new market opportunities. Certification also presents companies as employee-friendly and cares about employee development and growth. It helps them to improve employee retention since the lack of career development opportunities is one of the reasons cited by employees to leave the organization.

There are industry-standard professional certifications available externally and role-based certifications issued by organizations internally. The industry-standard certifications are recognized globally and are acceptable to companies across the globe. The role-based and competencies certification offered internally by the organization may have limited acceptance externally, but is considered a hallmark of individual excellence internally. Even though the internal certification has limited appeal, it is important for progress within the organization and learning new skills, for receiving opportunities to work on client projects. 

The learning and development (L&D) team put in great efforts to create and organize online certifications for employee progress, but still, employees fail their online certification. The top six real reasons for employees failing their online training certification are:

1. Irrelevance to the employee job profile

The main subject of your certification course may not find resonance with employees for its disconnect with their job profile. Besides the mandatory certification courses that are required as part of compliance, you need to be diligent in selecting subjects and content for your online training certification. 

Even if your online training certification course may be the latest industry trend, if it doesn’t have relevance to your employees’ current professional obligations, then it may not appeal to them. The employees won’t sign up for an apparent lack of interest, and even if they do, they may not put adequate effort to complete the online training certification. The lack of effort from employees is an apparent cause for them failing the online certification training certification. To reduce employee failure in online training certification, you should assess the demand for a course among the employees. You should evaluate where the online training certification course content helps to overcome the knowledge or skills gap for target employees. You should emphasize real-world applications, benefits, and repercussions related to the course. 

2. Limited application of the course

The objective of an employee enrolling in the course may be to get a promotion or switch roles within the organization. The underlying motive can be even to find a new job elsewhere after acquiring skills. The question is how relevant the online training certification course will be for employees’ professional development. If the course content is of high quality, that will enable employees to develop knowledge and skills that have value in the industry. Is the course worth the employee’s time that they should divert their productive work hours for learning? If the course adequately does not address the employee concerns, then they grudgingly sign up for the course, but they won’t make the required efforts required to clear the certification. 

Another reason is the poor quality course content or complex content that employees find difficult to understand. They don’t have clarity about the real-world application of the course, which is the cause of the low-interest level in completing the course and the certification. 

3. Longer course duration

The length of the course and steps for achieving the certification is another contributing factor to employees’ failure in online training certification. Employees are pressed for time as they have to balance their work commitments and online learning requirements. If the course duration is too long then employees may not be able to attend all sessions due to preoccupation with client work which at times can be demanding, leaving little time for employees to devote time to learning. Additionally, the employees may not be able to give sufficient time for preparation for the certification exam, which may result in them failing the exam. The longer course duration may even lead to employees dropping off from the certification. 

You can create shorter duration courses and even include micro certifications to complement these courses. Additionally, you can also use notifications to remind employees about their learning schedules. 

4. Obsolete content

Technology innovation has altered the business landscape, which is evolving at a fast pace. Your online training certification course content should also evolve to mirror the changes in the external business environment. However, the frequency of updates is less, which makes the content obsolete. The obsolete content doesn’t interest the employee who may drop off from the course or is not fully engaged. Thus, the employee doesn’t clear the certification exam, leading to a high failure rate.

You should periodically review the content to keep it updated and relevant to the current technology and business landscape. You should do a comparative evaluation of your course with other similar courses to assess if your training content is in sync with the current requirements. Your employees are an important source to gauge if the content has been obsolete and needs updating. You can do a survey among employees, which will be the most credible input for decision-making about the obsolescence of the content. 

5. Inappropriate design and lack of engagement with the content

Your online training course should not be just a recycled version of your offline training modules. The inappropriate course design and lack of engagement with content is another factor for employees’ disenchantment with online training certification, leading to lower participation and high failure rates.

The preparation of an online training course requires diligent planning and creativity to meet employees’ expectations. The employee expectations are a high degree of readability, interaction, and engagement similar to other popular websites. With the attention level reduced, the online training course should be visually appealing and user-friendly. You should not create learning modules based on PowerPoint presentations. 

Instead, create short-duration videos and include quizzes and assignments to engage employees. You can make your videos interesting with graphics and animation. You can enhance engagement through discussion forums, and facilitate peer-to-peer (P2P) learning and collaboration. A state-of-the-art Learning Management System (LMS) will enable you to create visually appealing and engaging courses.

6. Lack of Motivation

Motivation is an internal drive that encourages individuals to act in pursuit of a goal. It helps individuals overcome challenges and difficulties to persist with their efforts to achieve the desired goal. You can create or facilitate an enabling environment for motivation but it is something that comes from within and can’t be taught.

A motivated employee always strives for excellence and enables the organization to move forward. They help to increase productivity and create a strong bond for the organization with their enthusiasm and willingness to go beyond the call of duty to delight the client. 

A motivated employee is constantly looking for opportunities to upgrade their knowledge and skills and be prepared for future opportunities. A motivated employee is fully engaged in the online training certification course and ensures that they complete the certification test.  

In contrast, employees who lack motivation are not fully engaged in certification courses which leads to a higher failure rate in certification tests. Such employees fail to recognize the value of certification courses for their career and organizational growth. You can motivate employees to actively participate in the course through the use of gamification and social features in online learning modules and create a personalized learning path. You can conduct awareness sessions to enable employees to understand the value of the online training certification courses. You should highlight top performers of these courses and information can be put in the company online forum and bulletin boards.


Online training certification courses are important to keep organizations ahead of the competition in a fast-evolving business landscape. Besides, these courses keep employee engagement high, and reduce the turnover which saves money on a replacement, and also avoids disruption to the business.

It benefits employees by enabling them to update their knowledge and skills to be relevant to the organization and the clients. It provides employees with a sense of accomplishment and helps in career development and progression. However, despite seeming advantages, employees still fail in their certification courses. The reasons are courses being irrelevant to employee job profiles, limited recognition, and application of courses, longer course duration, obsolete content, and lack of motivation. 

You should diligently plan your certification course with content that is relevant to the current business and technology environment. You should constantly review and update courses to align them to employee expectations and organization requirements. This will help you reduce employee failure rates in online training certification courses.

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