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Many organisations have chosen to adopt eLearning over the past couple years, as it offers a flexible and scalable solution to the challenges of traditional learning. While there are many benefits to implementing eLearning programs in the workplace, there are also a number of drawbacks that come with eLearning programs. So whether you already have eLearning courses in place or are planning on bringing programs in, you’ll need to know about the difficulties you may face with eLearning and how to overcome them.
One of the biggest and most obvious challenges when it comes to eLearning is the virtual experience. Many of us prefer - or have only ever had - face-to-face learning experiences. The face-to-face experience can prove to be better for some types of learners, who need more coaching or find the energy of the in-person learning environment to be the most engaging for them. With that being said, it doesn't have to be a major barrier to introducing captivating eLearning experiences. If your training is instructor-led, you’ll really need to focus on developing a connection with your learners. Spending just a little time during the course to engage on a personal level can be really helpful for those learners who need that interaction to learn better and really absorb the content.
Engagement is one of the hardest tasks with any learning experience, virtual or in-person. This is particularly the case with eLearning, where it is far easier to disengage and get distracted by other things, particularly when the learners are in their own home. Gaining a learner's attention is certainly a hard task, but it isn’t impossible! Learning and development (L&D) managers should focus on creating beautifully designed and interactive content. Another strategy that can be used to overcome learner disengagement is by creating course content that reflects learners interests and aligns with their goals. By doing so, they are able to see the value in the eLearning course and are more likely to engage and be motivated to continue learning.
An inability to use technology or only very basic tech skills can prove to be somewhat of a barrier to many learners (particularly with older generations). Some people can view technology to be quite intimidating if they aren’t familiar with it, but overcoming this is possible. L&D managers should make sure the systems and materials they are using are accessible for all learners and have a simple learning curve to use. Ensure the systems are highly user friendly even for the most novice learners!
Many learners find that there is not enough support for them in the eLearning environment and this can prevent them from enrolling in or engaging with courses. It is important to have a strong support system in place in order to nurture the learning experience and provide learners with the help they need. This can be in the form of providing allotted time to email or message learners in response to queries or by encouraging peer collaboration. Peer collaboration can prove to be very beneficial for learners who do want that support. It gives them the opportunity to ask for advice and get some guidance and feedback in a more casual environment.
Finding a balance between content overload and shortage of information is no easy feat. If you provide them with too much content, you can overwhelm your learners and leave them feeling frustrated and exhausted by the enormity of the task and information. Alternatively if you don't provide them with enough content, learners may struggle to understand the materials and underperform on assessments. It’s crucial to find that happy medium between the two in order to provide the best eLearning experience possible. One way to do this is to get others involved in the course development process. By getting them involved and having their eyes over the course content, they can help you recognise where it may be too content-heavy or not heavy enough before pushing the course out to your learners.
The most common misconception with eLearning is that it can’t be personalised. While it is not necessarily as personalised as face-to-face experiences often are, that doesn’t mean it can’t be personalised at all! With smart systems, you can actually be provided with really great insights into what is working for learners and what isn’t, allowing you to tailor the content on an individual basis. The best systems will also allow you to deliver many different types of training to your learners and therefore give them the opportunity to learn in ways most comfortable with them.
Every great eLearning experience starts with the right Learning Management System (LMS). There are so many different systems out there that offer a number of different things. It is important to recognise what you need in an LMS in order to find the right one for you and your business. Make sure you start the search by thinking about the needs of your business and your learners. Any system that you choose should have a few important features like; flexible assessment types, detailed and customisable reporting, the ability to integrate with other systems and SCORM compatibility. Ensure you take the time to do a lot of research into Learning Management Systems and pick the right one to deliver the best eLearning experience for you and your learners.
Implementing eLearning doesn’t come without its own set of challenges, but none that can’t be navigated. By identifying the challenges and having amazing systems and networks in place to overcome them, you’ll be able to deliver top-notch eLearning every time!