The Top 10 E-Learning Challenges L&D Pros Face Every Day
Article originally published by Tom Patterson In Learning Technology Trends
1. Transforming Dull Subject Matter Into Amazing e-learning Experiences
Dry and dull subject matter is the bane of every e-learning professional’s existence. You have to use a healthy dose of innovation, creativity, and every resource you can get your hands on to transform it into something engaging and exciting.
But sometimes it isn’t so much the subject matter that’s troublesome, but instead, where the information you’re using to build it comes from.
Social learning tools enable learners to ask questions and get answers directly from other users and internal subject-matter experts and then share this knowledge across the organization.
Handing some control over to your learners and encouraging them to generate their own learning content (that is then reviewed and validated by SMEs) is a major mindset shift, but it can produce valuable results.
In fact, one of Docebo’s customers, a major telecommunications company used this method to increase learner satisfaction because learners found the content to be more relevant, authentic and applicable to their jobs.
2. Lack Of Learner Motivation And Engagement
Unfortunately, not every online learner is going to be 100% committed to the e-learning experience. They may be distracted, busy, or simply unmotivated. We live in an age where attention is at a premium and learners have access to more information than they can consume. All of these hurdles prevent them from actively engaging with learning programs.
To counteract this, you must provide them with an interactive and immersive e-learning course that includes their interests and aligns with their goals. They have to see the value in the e-learning course if you want them to actively participate.
As a start, three key ways to drive engagement are; microlearning, gamification and building hype for upcoming content.
3. Staying Up-To-Date With Modern Tech
Every year welcomes new tech tools, gadgets, and software that you can use to improve e-learning delivery. But which technology is really worth the investment?
Attend tech conferences, e-learning events, and trade shows. Read articles, blogs, reviews and even case studies related to these technologies. Doing so keeps you up-to-date with what is being developed and, most importantly, helps you determine whether these modern e-learning tools suit your needs.
4. Designing e-learning Courses For Different Generations
Learning content isn’t one-size fits all. Your audience is now comprised of four different generations – Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z, which can make it challenging to create generic e-learning experiences for all since each generation has its own unique traits and needs.
Overcome this by learning as much as you can about your learners’ goals, preferences, and backgrounds through surveys or using a learning platform that collects data on behavior, which you can then analyze.
Use your new, in-depth data to create learner personas that allow you to customize the learning experience based on the experience level and tech-savviness of each learning group.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) can bring automated and personalized learning to life by enabling your learning experience to be truly responsive to your learners’ needs. An AI-powered platform will adapt intelligently to users’ requests and allow them to take control of their own learning.
5. Unrealistic Deadlines
We’ve all had to deal with next-to-impossible deadlines that made us lose sleep and deal with unhealthy amounts of stress. No matter how many times we tried to shift things around and allocate resources, we just couldn’t seem to make the timeline work in our favor. The secret to overcoming unrealistic deadlines is full transparency and honesty.
Make sure that those setting these deadlines (directors or senior management) are aware of every step involved in the e-learning process so they know just how much work goes into delivering learning outcomes that provide value to the entire organization and align to business objectives.
6. Inexperienced partners
The cause of tip 5 can often be linked back to this point. If people aren’t familiar with e-learning initiatives, they won’t be aren’t aware of how difficult the design and development process can be. This is why it’s so important to sit down with them beforehand and explain what you’ll be doing, how you’ll be achieving goals, and how often they can expect a progress report. If they know what’s going on behind the scenes they will usually be much more cooperative and understanding.
7. Subject Matter Experts With No Prior Instructional Design Knowledge
From time to time, you will come across a Subject Matter Expert (SME) who is new to the world of e-learning and doesn’t know much about instructional design models and related theories.
Equip experts with a list of online resources that they can use to brush up on the basics. But also remember, as mentioned above, that it doesn’t always have to be your SMEs who create the learning content. Lean on your workforce to contribute content, such as bite-sized videos about a common pain point they face and how they address it, and enable doing so by adding a social learning module to your technology platform.
8. Balancing Tight e-learning Budgets
Not all e-learning projects are going to come with unlimited e-learning budgets. In fact, most will be restricted to limited financial resources and you’ll have to get creative to work with what you’ve got. Before starting any e-learning project, draft detailed budget that includes any and all expenses. Make sure to have a realistic estimate of what the e-learning project is going to require before you turn in your proposal. Otherwise, you may have to dig into your profit margin to deliver an e-learning product that lives up to expectations.
9. Whittling down the “Need To Know” Info
There are instances when it seems like there is so much e-learning content that you don’t even know where to begin. However, bringing an experienced SME on board and doing some audience research can help you determine the information that is most relevant to your various audiences. It’s also important to consider cognitive overload when you’re creating your e-learning content. If it doesn’t align with the goals and objectives, it may be best to just leave it out.
10. Finding The Perfect e-learning Authoring Tool or Learning Platform
If you’ve had to choose a new e-learning authoring tool or Learning Management System in the past, then you already know how challenging the selection process can be. There are so many e-learning authoring tools and learning platforms to choose from and so little time. It’s wise to narrow down your list of must-have features and then take full advantage of free demos and trials. Doing so helps you choose the tool that’s just right for the needs of your learners and your e-learning development team.
Fortunately, the pros by far outweigh the cons when it comes to being an e-learning professional. There is the potential for big returns in engagement, productivity, efficiency and innovation when e-learning is is done well – and the right technology is used to support your objectives.
How do you ensure e-learning and development programs are aligned to help achieve your organizational goals?
Interested in Learning More?
If you're interested in exploring these challenges, and potential solutions in more detail, then join us at the Online and E-Learning Summit 2019 held in Melbourne on the 7th - 8th of May.