Purpose: This paper aims to present an alternative and critical view of online learning for and by HRD professionals. Design/methodology/approach: This paper is positioned as a conceptual reflection regarding practical implications not frequently considered with regard to implementing online learning systems. Findings: This paper contends that many of the practical reasons for implementing online learning (accessibility, power equalization, and cost reduction) have fatal flaws. Research limitations/implications: This paper suggests that researchers broaden their perspectives beyond the assumption that using online learning is the goal to be achieved with regard to teaching and learning HRD. Both traditional and critical perspectives of online learning should be more thoroughly explored through empirical research. Originality/value: Few conceptual or empirical works challenge the unquestioned hegemony of the appeal of online learning, especially within the field of HRD. This reflection will hopefully serve as a catalyst for research that challenges unquestioned assumptions about online learning as a cutting edge innovation for teaching and learning HRD.