eLearning has a negative connotation for many people. For one reason or another eLearning courses are associated with boredom, frustration, and utter confusion. However, if you know why eLearning has gotten a bad reputation over the years, you have the power to overcome the stereotypes and create an unforgettable eLearning experience.
Let’s be honest, the thought of taking an eLearning course does not usually fill online learners with joy and anticipation. In fact, dread and reluctance may describe their emotions more accurately.
Unfortunately, eLearning’s reputation is bad in some circles, especially in the corporate training sector. The great news is that there are ways to eliminate this stigma and get online learners excited and intrigued by your next eLearning course. You may even have the opportunity to turn them into lifelong learners who jump at the chance to participate.
1) eLearning takes a “one-size-fits-all” approach
Many individuals are under the assumption that eLearning does not offer a personalized approach. This is primarily due to the fact that it lacks the human element that is present in face-to-face learning environments. However, this could not be further from the truth.
eLearning courses can be customized to fit the learning needs and preferences of the online learners, as long as the eLearning professional behind them is willing to conduct research beforehand. Every member of your eLearning audience has their own goals, objectives, and expectations that must be discovered through extensive task analysis, surveys, focus groups, and eLearning assessments.
If you are able to figure out exactly what they need out of the eLearning experience you can custom tailor every activity, exercise, and piece of content to align with their goals.
2) Learners are forced to keep pace with their online peers
People do not want to feel as though they are being made to keep up with their colleagues or peers. Even those who are more competitive will avoid eLearning courses that don’t give them control over the eLearning experience. This is why it’s so important to develop online training programs which are learner-centric, preferably self-guided.
Let your online learners choose when they participate, which eLearning module they are going to complete next, and how they are going to receive the eLearning content. If done correctly, an eLearning course can allow them to go at their own pace without having to worry about falling behind their peers.
Bear in mind that there is difference between keeping up with their peers and good, old-fashioned competition. Leaderboards, for example, can tap into their competitive nature and actually motivate them to learn. Just make sure that they don’t feel forced to participate.
3) eLearning courses are only for tech-savvy learners
This is one of the most common misconceptions about eLearning. The truth is that you don’t have to have a great deal of tech know-how to participate in an eLearning course. There is a caveat to this, however. The eLearning course must be created with ALL learners in mind, not just the ones who know their way around a computer.
It’s wise to offer online tutorials, walkthroughs, or detailed instructions for individuals who may be new to eLearning, especially if they are unfamiliar with the eLearning platform. For example, you can create a quick online video that shows them how to login to the eLearning course and use the navigation controls.
If you do have more interactive elements, such as simulations, be sure to provide explicit directions beforehand so that they know what to expect. They key is to make your online learners feel as comfortable as possible so that they aren’t out of their element and can focus on the task at hand, which is acquiring the key takeaways of the eLearning course.
4) eLearning is boring and text-based
I have to admit that I’ve participated in my fair share of dry and dull text-based eLearning courses. So, I can completely understand why some online learners might believe that all eLearning courses fall into this category.
The truth is that eLearning gives you the opportunity to develop immersive and interactive eLearning experiences for your learners. Thus, if you are making text heavy courses and not offering fun and engaging eLearning content, you are missing out on a major opportunity. Humans are visual beings, which means that we need a healthy dose of graphics, images, videos, and presentations to grab our attention. Otherwise, you run the risk of having them click away before they’ve even really begun.
Again, this is when eLearning audience research becomes an invaluable asset, as it allows you to determine the ideal level of eLearning interactivity and which online activities are best suited for their training needs.
5) eLearning courses take too much time to complete
Nobody wants to sit through an hour-long eLearning course, particularly those with busy schedules, which is a vast majority of your eLearning audience. This is why it’s essential to break your eLearning courses up into “bite-sized” modules that online learners can access when it’s most convenient for them.
For example, that hour-long eLearning course can become 6 ten minute modules that reduce cognitive overload and keep your online learners fully engaged. You can also develop online activities, such as eLearning games, interactive scenarios, and online presentations that give your online learners the knowledge they need in a fraction of the time.
This makes it easier for them to fit the eLearning course into their schedules and receive all the benefits, without having to worry about boring and lengthy online lectures and online training sessions.
eLearning can offer online learners a wealth of knowledge and help build their skill sets. This can only be achieved, however, if they are willing to experience it for themselves. As eLearning professionals we have the power to persuade them that our eLearning course is worth their time and effort, and that it can offer them real value in their personal and professional lives.
Modern corporate learners, in addition to working long hours and having stressful duties, are often weighed down with tech obligations that they feel may stand in the way of their skill development and knowledge retention. Read the article 7 Success Factors To Win The Bet With Overwhelmed Corporate Learners to learn more about how to design effective online training experiences for overwhelmed corporate learners, so that they can acquire the skills they need to improve work performance.