There are two types of organizations that use eLearning. The first includes companies, who use online courses to train their internal staff members and improve their skills and competencies. Another category of organizations consists of training firms that use eLearning to generate revenue by selling digital courses to corporate customers and individuals. As far as learners are concerned, there are 8 different types.
1. Wisdom Seekers – These learners use eLearning to enhance their knowledge. They are interested in learning new things, about new developments and would like to learn anything that comes their way. They are ready to take any course that gives them knowledge. They are primarily interested in courses about leadership, time management, project management, agile process and health/fitness.
2. Networkers – These learners want to collaborate with other learners and enjoy collaboration and social networking. These people are advanced leaners who learn through sharing knowledge. Marketing and sales teams can be one such example; where the teams can be trained on selling skills through eLearning, but learners can share their experience and the group can learn in a collaborative way.
3. Diploma Holders – These are people who get their sense of achievement when they get certificates and degrees. They love acquiring new degrees and diplomas to improve their qualifications. E-learning can be used to deliver certification programs on project management, quality management systems and these days, you can also do a PhD online.
4. Trainers – Now-a-days, if you want to become a good trainer, there are many online courses on “Train the Trainer” to help trainers deliver good training in the classroom.
5. Completion Fanatics – These are learners who wish to complete digital courses just to meet compliance requirements. They are not really interested in learning and enhancing their skills, and their motivation levels are quite low. They take online courses only because these courses are mandatory.
6. Job Hunters – These are learners, who take up eLearning courses to get a good job. For example, some experienced engineers and accountants take up SAP courses in order to get better jobs.
7. Achievers – These learners look at eLearning courses as means to enhance their skills. They are interested in how things work and what they can master. Enhancement of skills can be achieved through eLearning simulations. The most popular of these are software simulations, which allow the learner to perform tasks in a secure environment. Skills can also be developed by using eLearning to impart training on processes and compliance. The online medium can also be used to impart training on certain soft-skills such as e-mail etiquette.
8. Career Escalator – Some people take eLearning courses to enhance their careers in their current organizations. Many companies conduct Career Advancement Programs, and the curriculum of these programs is designed for personnel of all levels in the organizational hierarchy – from the most junior staff member to the most senior executive. Each employee can chalk out his learning path and enhance his career.
So, as you can see, these are the eight types of learners who take online courses. While creating eLearning courses, we need to understand the motives of the audience and create an appropriate solution, based on sound instructional design principles.