Keeping employees up-to-date on their organization's newest products, policies, and procedures is critical to remaining competitive, but hiring a trainer to come in and teach a seminar during the workday is costly, disrupts productivity, and may be entirely impractical if a workforce is geographically spread out. An eLearning program that allows employees to learn during their free time and at their own pace may be a better solution, though some challenges exist that must be addressed for maximum utility from an eLearning solution.
Challenge #1: Resistance to change
One challenge to eLearning implementation is its unfamiliarity to many employees and managers who need to work with it. People commonly resist disruptions to the status quo, even if the changes are superior to what they had previously. They might not trust that a technology-based learning program will be as effective as interacting with an instructor.
It's a fact that eLearning implementation can create enormous change within a company, so implementers can expect to face some resistance.
- Sell them on the benefits: The learning material will be at their fingertips when they want a refresher. They won't take huge blocks of time away from their work to attend a class. They can focus on specific needed items, rather than the whole syllabus. Multimedia learning makes the material more engaging and easier to assimilate.
- Develop an effective communication processes: in order to incorporate an eLearning programme effectively, communication is the key. Communication will help your audience understand and accept your eLearning program quickly. What to communicate? Trainees need to know what eLearning offers them, how they will benefit, what are the objectives, among other aspects.
- Promote the eLearning program: Engage and prepare your audience from the beginning through an internal marketing campaign. Use emails, posters or event host an event.
Challenge #2: Motivation of learners
Classroom-style seminars have one advantage – supervision and accountability. One of the common challenges in eLearning is that, left to their own devices, employees may not explore the course material. Even worse, employees may resent using their own time to do coursework, rather than enjoying the "vacation" from their everyday responsibilities afforded by an in-person seminar.
Therefore, the big challenge is how can we keep our students motivated enough to complete the course and moreover, how can we make them enjoy the learning experience?
- Establish incentives: Courses designed to lead to an accreditation or certificate give employees a tangible goal that benefits themselves as well as the employer. More broadly, any job training that can lead to career advancement or resume building is valuable to today's employee.
- Appealing: Perhaps the best way to motivate your audience is to make sure the eLearning courses you develop are visual and very appealing to the eye. Take a look at this infographic, where you can get ideas on how to make eLearning more attractive.
- Tell a story: Stories are powerful tools in motivating your audience because they help students see why something is relevant to their experience by making it more concrete for them. Watch this presentation: Storytelling 101 and get the best insights in storytelling.
Challenge #3: Learners' technological skill
Any eLearning implementation will be limited by the computer literacy of the employees using it. The learner's ability to access and interact with the course material dictates the utility he will get out of the program.
- Adaptability: This eLearning challenge can be mitigated by scaling the complexity of the system to the needs of the course and of the employees. When the content being taught is fairly basic, a simple interface can be used to impart it; the complexity can be scaled up as the course material and technological expertise of the learner demands.
- Offer them help: when students run into problems when using the eLearning courses, there has to be acess technical support services. Live chats, auto-help buttons, emails, discussion boards, are just some examples you can offer. Having e-learning tutors/facilitators available will also make them feel they are supported in the programme.
Challenge #4: Content
Once the learner is on board with the eLearning implementation, the content of the course takes center stage. A well-designed course will impart its information clearly and effectively, while a poorly-designed program will be hard to use and understand. Content needs to be interactive enough to keep students engage and actually have an impact.
- Using the right eLearning development tool: Using an eLearning development tool that allows easy and secure collaboration and built-in review and bug-tracking makes it less likely that clunky errors will slip into the program. An eLearning tool like SHIFT, with an extensive library of ready-made interface interactions makes it easy to assemble a simple and engaging e-learning program in just a few minutes.
- Make the learner pull content: Creating "pull" eLearning is a must. Content needs to be designed in a way that learners are not forced to review all content that they already know, instead they can just access or pull what they need in order to complete the course. It's a ver flexible format of delivering content because this enables learners to select and choose only what they need.
- Above all, Make content relevant! Find creative and different ways to place the course content in a context that is relevant to the learner. Remove unnecessary information or content overload so that the learners can remember only what is truly important.
Challenge #5: Evaluating effectiveness
One of the oft-cited eLearning challenges is the task of determining whether the course is having the intended effect. In the absence of pop quizzes and report cards, how can an employer tell whether the eLearning implementation is achieving its goals?
Look at the results. How many employees are using the eLearning program, how long they spend on it, and how many complete the course are all important figures, but most important is whether their performance reflects their newly-acquired knowledge. If they display the skills and information gleaned from the eLearning program in their work, then the eLearning implementation has been effective.