The global eLearning market was worth US$165.36 billion in 2016 and according to figures from Statista, it is projected to surpass US$243 billion in 2022. The flexibility and convenience eLearning offers can’t be understated. However, eLearning professionals often face certain challenges in ensuring their courses are a success. While solutions can be found to the roadblocks, it is important that organizations know to look out for them. This way, they can put strategies in place from the outset to counter them.
In this post, we describe what we consider the top problem areas and offer solutions for fixing them.
1) Students' Limited Time and Competing Priorities
Employees generally have too many things to do on any given day. Between their regular duties and meetings, training can get neglected. You can make them click start a two-hour-long course, but it is hard to make them to sit through the whole course. If an employee has to choose between serving a customer and studying a training module, studying will probably lose out.
Solution: Micro & Mobile Courses
The best way to respond to employees’ limited time and competing priorities is to create flexible, bite-sized courses. Make modules short and ensure they are available on demand on a wide range of devices. This allows workers to “attend” whenever they have time. If things slow down during the workday, they can take in a lesson. Otherwise, they can catch up on a module while they commute on public transport or at the end of the day.
Bite-sized learning modules instill confidence in learners; they are more motivated when they know that they are not staring at a hour-long course and can go back to whatever they were doing after finishing the module.
If you think about it, people today get most of their information in bite-sized chunks. They watch one-minute videos, read a tweet or look at Instagram posts. Their brains are conditioned to only focusing for short periods. A hour-long instructional video may, therefore, be too drawn out for them to watch.
When you take a micro approach to course delivery, workers will be more likely to consume the content. Merely knowing that the modules are short will encourage them to check them out. If the content is interesting, they’ll stick around. You will achieve more this way than by trying to get them to spend hours at a time studying.
2) Lack of Marketing
When workers don’t see the value of eLearning programs, they tend not to be interested in them. They may quit halfway through or stop logging into the learning management system. Some may never even start looking at the course material if the benefits are not immediately apparent.
Solution: Push the Benefits of the Program Upfront
You may never get everyone interested in your eLearning course. However, excitement will grow if you implement a marketing strategy across the organization and get managers onboard. You need to tell employees how the training will help them personally and professionally, so they place it high on the list of things they have to do. You can give them a preview of the course to build enthusiasm or share how useful other organizations found similar training.
3) Forgetting about Post-Training Activities
Research shows people forget half of what they have learned within an hour of learning it. You need to put systems in place to ensure employees put what they have learned into practice. If they don’t use the skills in the everyday work environment, they will quickly forget what they learned.
Solution: Host Follow-Up Events and Make Materials Available On-Demand
More critical than what you do before learning is what you do AFTERWARD. This post-learning stage is known as the “sustain” phase where ideally, cascading levels of integrated performance-support solutions are provided to employees just when they need to apply the knowledge.
To keep the discussion going following the course, you can host a live discussion event or start a social media group. You can also send out a monthly newsletter with refreshers and practical tips. At the very least, as soon as the training ends, the course materials should be made available to participants. When a situation arises in which the information would be helpful, they can refer to it for guidance. Placing the course materials in a central location makes it easier for the entire organization to benefit.
Make sure you make your online courses are searchable. Include powerful search features in your modules or in your LMS, and help employees know how to navigate through the central repository of information. This improves accessibility to knowledge.
4) Undefined or Poorly Defined Learning Objectives
An eLearning program will only be effective if everyone knows what it is intended to achieve – including those creating it. Sometimes courses are designed based on a topic but with no concept of how it is linked to organizational goals. This is the only way to know if the time and money you are investing in the training are worth it. Training only makes sense if it improves the work of employees and contributes to the business’ overall plans. You, therefore, need to be able to measure the outcomes.
Solution: Outline Objectives Clearly
Making the training goals clear to everyone helps to keep things on track. These goals should be kept in mind when deciding which modules to include in the course. Setting clear objectives also allows learners to understand just how the program will benefit them. It can be challenging to get excited about a course if you don’t know how it will help you or your work. If employees know ahead of time and agree to sign up, they will likely be more engaged. You should also establish at the outset how you will evaluate the success of the training. Will you conduct quizzes, ask for case studies or look for improvements in work processes?
5) Too Much Content
There is no doubt a lot of information that you can include in your course. You may think all of it is important. If multiple people are involved in course creation, they may also want their ideas included. However, you need to do some editing and cutting. Learners tend to shut down when they are faced with too much information – otherwise known as cognitive overload. Moreover, a module that is too long is unlikely to be completed by many people.
Solution: Determine Which Information is Most Valuable
You must do a training needs analysis. Without a training needs analysis, you can expect to have other projects suffer due to employees’ attention being taken up by the unnecessary training. Employees who are forced to relearn information may become bored and stressed, letting their work suffer as well. You should also speak to those high up in the organization about what the skills which they want to develop. A subject matter expert can help to refine things further. Depending on the findings, you may want to separate a particular subject into two levels. This way you can do offer more information but still, keep the modules short. Those who really found the first level of the course interesting can move on to the second one.
6) Working with Dry and Dull Subject Matter
Sometimes the information you need to impart is essential but not very exciting. It can be hard to get people interested in boring topics, and they may take a long time to work through the course material. This is understandable since no one wants to take a boring class, whether in person or online.
Solution: Make Things as Visual as Possible
Now is the time to roll out listicles, infographics, and animations if you haven’t been using them. Engaging visuals are the best way to liven up dull subjects. Graphics become even more critical. Interactive polls and discussions can also help to keep learners engaged. You can also encourage social media interaction on the subject matter and include a dedicated hashtag.
For all its perks, eLearning can bring some challenges. However, if you plan for them ahead of time, you can nip them in the bud. Generally, tying courses to everyday activities and producing engaging content in easy to digest modules can help to ensure success. Be sure to get feedback from course participants so you can make tweaks as necessary.