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Copycats: Tackling Problems of Plagiarism and Training


Tackling plagiarism when you use online learning as part of your training packages is sometimes a sticky topic. In the business world, it isn’t unfair to assume that the adults who occupy your workplace should be beyond cheating. However, it’s a legitimate concern amongst many of those who use our packages. Therefore, we feel it’s one that needs addressing.

Although there’s always a risk of plagiarism in any learning setting and not just in online courses, there are ways to prevent it. At Darlo Digital, we’re here to provide you with anti-plagiarism tips so you can roll out your eLearning packages worry-free.

First, Why Is Plagiarism a Problem?

When a student asks someone else to sit their exam or complete their work, they’re not benefiting from the training you’re providing. In some instances, this may just make them slightly inept. In many, it makes life difficult for you and their fellow colleagues. When they don’t reach the same training standards as those they work with, they could slow their progress as well as their own. Additionally, they may also spend money on a training package that doesn’t deliver the results they need.

Provide Participants with a Plagiarism Policy

While it may seem obvious that you shouldn’t plagiarise another person’s work, those who do so and get caught could use a lack of policy to their advantage. Make it clear what you consider to be plagiarism, as well as the consequences for those who get caught. The policy will act as a deterrent for many and will allow you to take a uniform approach to those who choose to take the risk.

It’s also helpful to tell your course’s participants what plagiarism is. As university professors will tell you, the number of students who plagiarise is small compared to the number enrolled. For some of those students, the mistake is genuine. While it’s obvious that asking someone else to sit your test or write your paper is plagiarism, failing to correctly reference a quote is a new skill for some.

Understand What Plagiarism Looks Like

As time goes on, you’ll start to understand what plagiarism looks like for each student. For now, there are some key tell-tale signs you can look out for:

  • Does a portion of the text look unusual compared to the rest? For example, does the style of language suddenly change?
  • Has an otherwise lacklustre participant started producing amazing grades?
  • Is there evidence to suggest that they’ve used an online plagiarism service? For example, inconsistent English?

If a student uses the actions above despite you providing clear instructions on what constitutes plagiarism, it’s fair to present them with consequences.

Use Appropriate Software

With the Internet’s capabilities going from strength to strength, the same technologies that allow for online learning can reduce the chances of someone successfully cheating. For example, many distance learning course providers now use a software called Turnitin. Said software will detect similarities between the submitted essay and millions of other texts worldwide. When it finds similarities, it flags them to the course provider, giving them the chance to speak to the student. Reassuringly, Turnitin is also acting as a deterrent.

While there’s no way of preventing plagiarism entirely, you can take the right steps towards significantly reducing it. At Darlo Digital, we want to ensure our online learning platform always benefits your products. If you have any queries, tweet us directly at @darlodigital or contact us.