The 20 something workforce typically is heavily into some form of online activity or the other and needs no special orientation to online learning. At best, they demand an equally engaging and entertaining experience from it as they do from their various online activities such as gaming, blogging, surfing and the use of social media. Fair enough. But how do you tackle a target audience that may be slightly less tech-savvy or whose daily work does not involve working on computers and hence they feel hesitant about using them? It’s not just learners who may be averse to eLearning, it could be a lot of different groups of people within your organization who need to be oriented to this medium.
The need to arrange for orientation programs for various people involved in the eLearning initiative could be easily overlooked when planning an eLearning solution. The first step is to recognize that this is a legitimate need – for learners, for instructors who might be involved in live eLearning classes, for top leadership to see how powerful this medium is, for training departments to get a feel of the benefits of this mode and how they complement their regular face-to-face training sessions and maybe even for you as a learning practitioner to remember why you are doing this in the first place!
The next step is to begin to take small steps to address it so that by the time the eLearning is actually rolled out; a lot of resistance to this mode from various quarters is reduced. To begin with, you could plan to introduce eLearning in a classroom situation – except that learners do not start taking the course individually, but get acquainted with it through the instructor taking them through a highly interesting, engaging course projected on the screen, pausing and eliciting feedback at important points in the course or to get the audience to appreciate any powerful or unique way of presenting content. A couple of years back, I had the privilege of conducting an eLearning workshop for the Distance Education department of a leading Central Institute that wanted to take the eLearning route. I still remember how the slightly older faculty came alive after seeing a demo of an engaging course and what was possible with this medium. This made them more inclined to try switching to this medium (they were slightly skeptical and reluctant to go in for eLearning initially). Concrete ways in which the Institute supported their future transition into eLearning was to arrange for new systems and the use of highly interactive CDs with interesting topics of general interest. Similar tactics, I believe, would also work in organizations that had a workforce that didn’t use computers on an everyday basis such as shop floor employees in the manufacturing worldor supervisors in a pharmaceutical company etc.