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6 ways to deal with e-learning apathy

This is a guest post from TechnologyAdvice.com's Jessica Barrett Halcom.

It’s easy to see how the e-learning environment has grown and evolved into the platforms we’re seeing today. Not only is it simpler, but learners are able to take courses in their own time, without being in a training room, and the learning process moves faster than it would in a traditional environment. What’s more, with so many learning management systems (LMS) on the market, companies can easily find something that matches their training needs and budget.

Despite all the benefits of e-learning, learners are sometimes apathetic toward it. Truth be told, some e-learning is just plain boring. When learners spend hours clicking through screen after screen of a dull course or watching long, ancient videos of unenergetic speakers, they’re bound to tune out.

Some traditional e-learning can be lonely, even if learners know other people are also participating in the training. If you can’t interact with other students, ask questions, or engage with a trainer, the experience becomes passive and unengaging. This is prime breeding ground for boredom. The end result is a low retention rate of the material, or a low completion rate when students abandon the course all together.

We have a dichotomy here of an excellent delivery system, and a poor deliverable. What can you do about e-learning apathy? Let’s explore a few ideas.

Choose a mobile option

Our smart devices have changed the way we live and work, and e-learning is no exception. In fact, mobile technology has made learning more accessible. When people know they can take a course from their mobile device, it’s easier to fit that course into their lives and complete it sooner. Smart phones and tablets also provide the opportunity to interact with the course through an LMS, making the learning experience more organised and trackable.

Make e-learning social

Consider an LMS platform that provides a social option. People are engaged with social media several hours per day, and being able to engage other learners provides the opportunity to connect in a familiar way. Not only does this help learners communicate, but some platforms include leaderboards so students can see how they’re ranking against others, how much progress their peers have made, etc. 

Personalise the experience

The e-learning experience should be personalised to each learner. Coursework and lectures should be tailored to the work the learners are doing, the company they work for, the mission they’re working toward, or the problems they solve. Brand the learning to match that of the organisation so users are working within a framework they know.

Gamify the e-learning experience

Gaming is one way to not only make the e-learning experience more fun, but to help learners retain more information. Attaching a challenge/reward sequence to learning objectives helps create a stronger neural link to each new piece of information. Not only that, but gamification keeps learners engaged because they’re participating in a hands-on way. Many millennials and Gen X-ers are already huge gamers and now comprise the majority of the workforce.

Keep it short and sweet

Much like a college professor who drones on for 90 minutes about the driest material without directly engaging the students, e-learning courses that last too long can easily lose the attention of their audience. It’s important to keep courses short and filled with rich, meaningful content.

Make e-learning meaningful

The e-learning course needs to connect with its learners in a meaningful way. Explore goals and ideals your learners may have, and see if you can tailor the material in a way that opens a deeper level of significance or value for them. What are their career aspirations? Why are they taking this course? How does this course connect them to a bigger picture?

Take a look at your current e-learning LMS and course offerings, and see if there are ways you can adapt it to include mobile features, a social and personal experience, and gamification. Consider making courses shorter and easier to consume, as well as more meaningful and engaging. There’s no perfect science to a successful eLearning program, but if you know your audience and do your best to serve their needs, you’re bound to see positive results.

Jessica Barrett Halcom is a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com, with specialisations in human resources, learning management, and gamification. 

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