SHIFT's eLearning Blog

Our blog provides the best practices, tips, and inspiration for corporate training, instructional design, eLearning and mLearning.

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What Are Some of the Biggest  Challenges eLearning Professionals Face?

All over the world, eLearning professionals are tossing and turning in their beds. They’re waking up in cold sweats, muttering things about ‘compatibility’ and ‘M-Learning’. The constant winds of change are taking their toll on our psyches. We couldn’t let you suffer in silence any longer. So we set out to do some research and find out what’s playing on your minds. 

We all know that training has shifted, shifted, and shifted again. It’s changing at such a pace that we can’t even keep up. As soon as we think we’ve nailed a way to engage employees, improve performance, and retain good talent, a new method, new technology, a new study, or a new concern pops up.

We decided that to tackle these problems effectively; we have to prioritize. That’s why we took a survey asking hundreds of eLearning professionals at the front lines of the industry what challenges they’re preoccupied with, and what’s keeping them from getting their head down at night. Here’s what we found:


We asked:

“What's your biggest eLearning challenge?”

They answered (these are the top answers):

  1. Getting our SME's to buy into the instructional design process.
  2. Style guides and consistency (being consistent in the visual design of the course).
  3. Keeping learning fresh and engagement high.
  4. Nobody is doing the ANALYSIS phase.
  5. Too much content!
  6. Knowing how to storyboard and get started….
  7. Finding the balance between page-turner eLearning and fully interactive at a reasonable cost.
  8. Building in learner engagement.
  9. Working with SMEs and never-ending rounds of edits/changes.
  10. Finding inspiration, or new and innovative ways to design courses.
  11. Working with minimal resources to create competitive online courses.
  12. Making engaging courses from dry material.
  13. Getting regular access to my subject/content experts.
  14. Having the proper tools to do my job.
  15. Grabbing learners’ attention quickly.
  16. Teaching content learners think they already know -- "They don't know what they don't know."
  17. Getting started. This is a brand new position, for a company that has never had any eLearning. There are SO many ideas and SO many needs. It's difficult to decide where to start, and how long it will take to get to the end result.
  18. Knowing when to call it done!
  19. Meeting the multiple needs of learners.
  20. Holding their attention for the entire course.
  21. Keeping current with emerging eLearning technologies.
  22. Using storytelling in my design.
  23. Time constraints - deadlines!
  24. Changing the Company Culture.
  25. Falling into the trap of using the same techniques over and over again.
  26. Mandatory use of the company's corporate color scheme.
  27. Putting the most relevant info in the most visible location.
  28. Training and Facilitating to vastly different Age groups. i.e. Baby Boomers to Millenium.
  29. Showing/explaining complex and complicated information.
  30. Condensing technical heavy courses into fun eLearning.
  31. Creativity with lots of information.
  32. Delivering a high volume of content in a short amount of time.
  33. Being a first timer. Having lots of ideas but struggle with putting them "on paper."
  34. Getting clients to progress from "death by powerpoint".
  35. Make eLearning courses visually attractive
  36. Not having a graphic design background and having to use a learn-as-I-go approach.
  37. Taking a lot of information and condensing it down to what's necessary to know.
  38. Authoring software.
  39. Making boring topics (i.e. compliance, process, etc.) feel interesting and valuable and engaging.
  40. Effectively integrating content with the appropriate technology.
  41. Making sure it flows to the course objective.
  42. Finding good images and animations that help learners conceptualize content.
  43. Writing for a variety of audiences and making it relevant.
  44. Getting the right proportions between pictures, graphics and text.
  45. Not having a design background, time and lack of experience.
  46. Getting stakeholders to understand instructional design.
  47. Keeping it simple.
  48. Need to adapt for various screens.
  49. Finding creative ways to introduce content.
  50. Engaging the learners to want to come back for more while satisfying Millenials and Baby Boomers in the same course.

Phew! We’re done. Reading this is almost enough to make you lose hope. It really sometimes feels like we’re up against it – do all jobs have to deal with this relentless change in technology, balancing so many stakeholders, while producing things that make a meaningful difference to an organization? Maybe. But our challenges are definitely specific and different to those in other sectors. 

So what can we do about this growing list of sleep-losing issues surrounding our livelihood? Well, to beat these challenges it requires not only extraordinary people skills, dedication, knowledge of how the brain learns, instructional design, and organization…it requires resilience, reflection, and help from the community. And we’re here to support you.

That’s why our blog is going to continue to develop answers to these topics and helpful strategic guides to navigate those concerns raised above, by over 200 of you who are all feeling a bit overwhelmed at times. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get you sleeping a little more soundly in future. 

Last but not least, here we recommend some of our best blog posts that'll help you tackle these challenges:


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