E-learning is becoming the go-to platform when it comes to educating and training workforces and project professionals. The changing demands of the workplace and modern day project management have made it necessary. But how effective are the e-learning programmes that are being deployed? Our tendency to default to what we, the creator, find familiar means that content can often be developed that has made little attempt to understand the needs of the learner or understand what makes them tick.
Just as the best project management approaches are agile and utilise processes that allow them to adapt to changing market dynamics, so should it be with e-learning. Implementing a one-size-fits-all e-learning programme that is inflexible to the varying needs of your audience is not going to engage them for long and will yield unfavourable results. Getting to know your learner is absolutely crucial, and in doing so, you will be able to avoid these common pitfalls:
Information irrelevant to the learner’s needs
Arguably the biggest problem with e-learning, there is almost a sub-conscious tendency to focus on the presentation of information at the expense of ensuring that the learner will process it. This can be overcome through adopting a more engaging approach that places them in real-life work situations where they need to make decisions that require the use of the course’s information. But, this will only be possible if you spend time with your learners to gain an understanding of how they will use the information in the course of their work.
Over-reliance on your own intuition or experiences
Falling into this trap will inevitably result in developing a course programme that is one you would want to hear, rather than one that is in tune with the needs of your audience. Particularly common if you’re the subject matter expert, it can be easy to lose sight of how you got to where you are and the experiences required to get there. Speaking with new or recent learners will increase your understanding of what is relevant and enable you to get a better feel for the course design.
Unnecessarily large course programmes
Avoiding the temptation to cram everything you know on a subject into the content will save you a lot of time and make the programme a lot more focused and easy to digest. The message is to keep it simple and give them what they need when they need it.
Viewing e-learning as a replacement for social interaction
Another huge disconnect with e-learning is that it tends to be used to replace the time a person needs to learn from others in a social environment. Sometimes it’s not about the training; it’s about giving them the opportunity to interact with other people.
Being unaware of learners’ needs
Whether it’s technological limitations, physical disabilities, or a work environment that’s not conducive to taking e-learning courses, being unaware of your learners’ needs when designing your course is one of the worst mistakes you can make.
Misinterpret learner motivation
You may have every reason to be proud of the e-learning courses you produce, but remember they are your creation and that the learners are unlikely to be quite so enthused. With this in mind it’s important to tap into what motivates them, and a good starting point is to focus on performance and help them to do something better.
Understanding the needs of your audience and how the course material you plan to deliver will impact them in their job roles is crucial to building better e-learning courses. You don’t need to do this on your own though. ILX Group has a wealth of experience in helping companies utilise project management best practice to create more agile and effective e-learning.