For organizations hoping to develop more training for their employees or create a fantastic onboarding program, eLearning is the optimal tool. Like with any type of learning, however, sometimes people can be resistant to it. After all, their workdays are already jam-packed and adding training on top of it - even if it’s critical to their job function - can be seen as an additional stressor.
For others, it’s not necessarily the time commitment that puts them off but rather flashbacks of their days in school. According to the American Test Anxiety Association (ATAA), roughly 38% of students experience some level of true test anxiety. So, when presented with an eLearning opportunity, some adult learners may think back to when everything hinged on being able to learn the information, complete homework assignments, and do well on tests. Adding this layer of expectation on-top of existing role-based performance targets can send an employee into a cold sweat. We’ve got 6 suggestions that could help your organization combat disinterest (or outright fear!) amongst your learners and encourage your employees to embrace eLearning opportunities.
1. Start Off On the Right Foot
In most organizations, nearly every new initiative is kicked off with an email - and that includes eLearning. In fact, in order to invite learners into their specific modules and courses, you’re probably going to start off by sending an email with a link, username, and password. Don’t think of this email as a means to an end - use it to set the stage!
Of course, you want your email to convey the necessary information (they still need to get those usernames and passwords, after all), but you can also include some insight into why users are being tasked with taking this course and how it will directly benefit them.
If it fits your company culture or the type of content they’ll see in the courses, you can also make your email more candid. You can use bright and cheery graphics and casual (but appropriate) language so that the course doesn’t come off as stuffy or boring right off the bat.
2. Connect It to Goals
Jumping off from our first point, the second tip is to ensure that your learners are aware of how eLearning connects to various goals - either personal or company-wide. If everyone in an organization needs to complete training to meet certain compliance regulations, let them know that. Or if there’s optional training - for example, sales or soft-skills training - explain how those things could help them achieve personal performance goals. When individuals can see what’s in it for them they’ll be less likely to resist the initiative. Training may not be something they’d prefer to do with their time, but if they value the potential outcomes, then you’re one step ahead.
3. Make It Quick
If your employees are already swamped with work, none of them are going to love the idea of mandated learning. Here are a few tips to encourage learning:
- Embrace just-in-time and mobile learning
- Keep modules short and to the point
- Make sure everything is responsive so that it can be completed on a mobile device
When you’re trying to keep morale and enthusiasm up, you need to do your best to work with people, and if what they want is convenience, do your best to deliver. It's also important to set expectations of time investment early - mention that modules will be quick in that intro email!
4. Drop the Quizzes
For many people, the day they walked across the stage and collected their diploma was a big moment - because it means no more homework, no more tests, and no more of life being defined by a grade.
Online training could send them right back to that world where they dread taking a test - except in their mind the stakes are now higher because their job depends on it.
As we mentioned earlier, some people experience test anxiety - and that doesn’t just stop the day they graduate. It carries on for the rest of their lives. It’s also possible that their anxiety could be more severe as an adult because their coping mechanisms, which they learned in school, are now out of practice.
So, don’t test everything! You will, of course, want to reinforce concepts throughout the content, but every single new definition doesn’t need to mean there’s a quiz coming up. You can also do away with traditional quizzes completely and implement more gamification features that still check up on acquired knowledge but do it in a less imposing way.
5. Trigger Prior Knowledge
Obviously, your learners are going to be learning new material in their modules. This shouldn’t feel like they’re jumping into the deep end. Throwing everyone into the “expert” level is going to be daunting and could make them feel like the entire process is useless because it isn’t geared towards them.
Instead, build on prior knowledge to get them into a positive, productive mindset rather than starting them off feeling as if they’re already 10 steps behind.
Conversely, you don’t want to make everything so basic that those who should be at the “expert” level are also left feeling like the coursework is useless, which brings us to our final point.
6. Use “Scaffolding”
This is a tip used in traditional teaching methods that plays off of the above. Rather than overwhelming students, help increase their confidence by easing them into the material and providing instruction at various levels. Here’s how.
Break things into easily manageable steps so that their knowledge builds on itself rather than leaving them with a sink or swim feeling. If there’s content that some learners will be introduced to for the very first time - while others are quite familiar with it - consider breaking the courses and modules down so that users can start in the appropriate place.
You can allow users to self-select their starting point (you never know, someone at a more advanced level may appreciate a refresher course on the basics). Or you can assign specific courses/modules as starting points.
Are you ready to get started on creating excellent eLearning opportunities for your team?