Who Would’ve Benefited from Online Learning in Another Time?

woman reading ipadSeptember 15th is a little-known day in American history. It’s National Online Learning Day! Three cheers!

In 2016, the holiday was first recognized as a national event. It’s fair to say that the holiday remained out of the spotlight until 2020 when the pandemic hit and the demand for online learning increased greatly.

In honor of this holiday, it seemed like a fun idea to look at events and characters in history and fiction who would have benefited from the online learning resources that we have today.


Fiction – Charlie Brown (Peanuts – Comics)

This one is for fans of the popular “Peanuts” comics. How many times in the comics did we see Lucy dupe Charlie Brown into sprinting to punt the football, only for Lucy to pull the football away at the last second? Too many to count. I feel for you, Charlie Brown. If Charlie had access to today’s eLearning software, he would’ve been able to learn to be a better football player in addition to a prankster. If he became better at football, maybe Lucy would’ve respected him enough to not pull out the football, risking injury to a key player. And if Lucy were to keep at it with the antics, surely Charlie Brown would’ve gathered enough inspiration from courses adjacent to “how to be a prankster.”

History – Christopher Columbus (Italian Explorer)

What if Christopher Columbus, upon discovering the Americas, had opened a language course when encountering the Natives Americans he encountered in his travels? He would’ve simply made the effort to inquire about what language they were speaking, opened his device of choice, then headed back to his study in order to effectively communicate with the people. Columbus, taking a much more diplomatic approach to his discovery escapades, could’ve drastically changed the relations between the Europeans and the Native Americans for the better.

Fiction – Ross Geller (Friends – TV Series)

If you didn’t see the spoiler alert at the beginning of the article, here it is again! I must touch on a key plot point to convey the use that online learning would’ve played in these characters’ lives. It has been 25+ years since the TV series was introduced to the world, so no excuses here.

For those of us who watched the show, we know that there were storylines at play which spanned several seasons. One of them is the Ross and Rachel romance. It was such a pure love story, one that you couldn’t help but root for. The loveable nerd Ross getting together with the beautiful and popular Rachel? Yes, we wanted that. We did get this pairing – but for what seemed like a very short period. “We were on a break!” is a timeless line which fits in the middle of this drama.

There was too much unnecessary drama at play here though. I think Ross would have benefited from an introduction to mindfulness and meditation course. In the show, he gives into his emotions too quickly. Meditation and mindfulness would’ve taught him how to slow down, take some deep breaths, think through the situation, then proceed – or completely clear his mind altogether. A “clear and effective communication” course would’ve been beneficial as well!

History – Stonehenge (English Monument)

What if the creators of Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument that consists of large pillars of rock placed in a circle, had access to an LMS so they could “tag” the artistry digitally with a QR code? There is no evidence as to how and who created the monument. It would be a boon for everyone if the creators left a QR code that people could scan off to the side of the monument, with a URL backup of course, and read a log of how and why the monument was created in the first place.

Fiction – Darth Vader (Star Wars – Film Franchise)

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… there was once a Jedi named Anakin Skywalker that became cyborg villain that is Darth Vader. In Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Vader reveals to Luke on cloud city that he is in fact is his father.

I personally think Vader could have handled the situation better. He could have approached it from a different angle. Even though the technology in the Star Wars universe is light years ahead of where we are – I still think that Vader would benefit from some online learning courses on “effective parenting strategies.” Yes, he was there in the final moments for Luke in the showdown versus the emperor on Death Star II, but he could have rebuilt some bridges along the way using force communication.

History – The Titanic (British Passenger Ship)

What if the operators of the Titanic had access to modern safety courses which could have been taken online? A ship that big and there weren’t enough lifeboats? If the decision makers aboard the ship had taken courses on “preparing to embark: streamliner edition,” perhaps they would have been so enthralled and horrified by the realistic examples presented in the training that more lifeboats would have been added.

There are so many examples in history and fiction that I could have chosen for this article. So many that I might write a second edition of this topic. There are many that could have benefitted from an online learning platform like Litmos. If you are reading this, you are on the right track in your celebration of the holiday. Take some time to open your favorite Litmos courses, grab a refreshment, and learn something new!