Top 5 Challenges of Online Learning and How to Solve Them
Online learning has a unique set of challenges. Mimicking the brick and mortar set up and making up for the absence of a trainer is no mean feat. This blog discusses the common challenges of online learning and offers the right solutions.
Let me guess. You have run from pillar to post to position online learning as your corporate training strategy. During this process, you have left no stone unturned to persuade your learners, your management, and all your stakeholders about the benefits of this strategy. Nonetheless, your training initiatives are not achieving the desired results. You are facing umpteen challenges in creating effective online learning courses for your employees and all your efforts have gone in vain. It happens to the best of us.
What’s the solution you might ask?
Well, in this blog I will be discussing a few common stumbling blocks to online learning that can ruin your corporate training sessions and the solutions that can help you overcome them.
Challenges to Online Learning that Your Employees Contend With
Here are a few common challenges:
- Negative past experiences
- Low Level of motivation and interaction
- Mediocre digital literacy
- Online distractions
- Substandard design of courses
Read on to explore the solutions to these challenges.
Challenges in Designing Online Courses and Proposed Solutions
1. Negative Past Experiences
Your employees already have negative perceptions of online learning. The key reason is that they have participated in many boring online training sessions in the past. They think that your online course will be another such session and therefore they show the least interest in taking up your online course.
How to solve it?
Make your online learning courses visually appealing. Provide them with engaging and personalized content. The use of gamification can be extremely helpful in increasing active participation of learners and enhancing their learning experiences. When you add simulations to your online learning course, you provide your learners with the opportunity not only to learn a new skill but also the scope to practice it. This significantly enhances their performance at work.
2. Low Level of Motivation and Interaction
Online learning usually places learners in an isolated environment, and this sometimes leads to demotivation. Unlike classroom training where they get an opportunity to have face-to-face interactions with the trainer and with their peers, online learning is all about self-learning. Learners often feel your online course is yet another training session that they need to take up as an added obligation at work.
How to solve it?
Tell your learners what’s in it for them. State the benefits that learners are going to gain from when completing the course. Also, engage your learners in a socially active learning environment for an immersive learning experience. Plan for interesting interactivities throughout the course and provide your learners with opportunities to interact with the content. Make your courses visually appealing by including infographics, videos, and animated GIFs. All of these strategies draw your learners’ attention, and they facilitate better comprehension.
Invite your learners to contribute to question boards, chat rooms, and forums to exchange ideas thereby promoting collaborative learning. Strategies such as leaderboards help instill a competitive spirit among disinterested learners and they also help motivate them to learn. In addition, leaderboards track learners’ progress and reward them regularly with scores and badges for a more interactive learning experience.
3. Mediocre Digital Literacy
Today’s workforce is a mix of baby boomers, Gen Xs, millennials, and Gen Zs. This confirms that not every learner is acquainted with the latest technology, and it can sometimes lead to frustration amongst coworkers resulting in an unpleasant learning experience.
How to solve it?
Before designing your online learning courses, it’s important that you conduct a detailed analysis of your learners. You can mix and match various blended learning formats to ensure that meaningful learning occurs. For instance, infographics or quizzes can be used instead of complicated interactivities that require continuous interaction with the course.
Ensure your online courses are easy to log in to and offer seamless navigation. A user-friendly LMS (Learning Management System) is the key. It’s better not to assume your learners’ comprehension. Provide them with detailed guidance on how learners should interact with every aspect technical or otherwise and how they can steer through their online learning journey.
4. Online Distractions
It happens to the best of us. Whenever we attend an online training session that does not have much scope for interaction, we begin to lose interest. Learning becomes passive, and we often get sidetracked and indulge in cleaning up our inboxes, scrolling through our mobile feed, or surfing the internet.
How to solve it?
Design online courses that are highly engaging and entertaining. When you make room for your learners to interact with the content, you promote active participation. Draw your learners in by giving them ample opportunities to interact with the course. Give them opportunities to take quick polls, quizzes, and tests.
You can also use interesting instructional design strategies such as simulations, gamification, scenarios, and guided learning using characters and avatars that make your content more engaging. You can also present microlearning modules as a timely addition to your online courses where content is delivered in the form of “bite-sized learning nuggets” to make learning easy and fun and promote longer retention.
5. Substandard Design of Courses
A poorly designed online learning course can make learning experiences take a turn for the worse and it creates a negative impression in the learners’ minds. It is important to structure the content of your online courses carefully to draw and retain the learners’ attention throughout the course to help them learn better.
How to solve it?
Make sure your content is not outdated and specifies the learning objectives clearly. Decide upon the instructional strategy based on your content, learners, and the learning environment.
Here are a few popular instructional design strategies that can enliven your online training sessions.
Do not get your learners to read lengthy paragraphs. Make the content interesting by interjecting short and long sentences and use a conversational tone. Also, create titles and subtitles that are catchy and use them to highlight the benefits of your course.
Online learning is the latest trend in recent times, and it offers many benefits. It is cost-effective as well as it offers your business scale and speed. Design online courses that are engaging and interactive so that you draw your learners’ attention and encourage active participation. Make sure that you have a robust LMS that provides a user-friendly and intuitive interface and fulfills your dynamic corporate training needs.
Technical glitches can lead to declining online learning experiences. Problems like low-bandwidth and browser incompatibility are common if your learners are doing the course remotely from home or other locations. Make sure that you design your courses keeping these technical parameters in mind. Also, you need to keep your content concise and downsize your media files to shorten loading time. You can include chatbots to provide chat support to address your learners’ technical issues and ensure smooth learning experiences.
If you want your online learning to be learner-centric, we bring you the perfect solution – Rapid eLearning. Explore more by reading this eBook “Rapid eLearning and the 4 Rs”.