Virtual learning and working from home continue to be a reality for many of us as we transition into a post-pandemic future. Some days we are Bill Murray in Groundhog’sGroundhog’s Day, spending each day doing the same tasks, staring at the same screen. Companies exhaust their employees with an overload of online training materials, depriving them of in-person interaction and increased resentment towards their computer screen.
On the other hand, e-learning is on a solid growth trajectory. This trend is growing because people cannot travel, but also due to its flexibility, making it more affordable and accessible from a user perspective. E-learning allows people to go beyond their immediate work circle and engage with a global audience in a way that was not possible before, increasing the diversity pool of e-learners.
While some may love your e-learning course, others might hate it. Why is this? Welcome to reality — where we are all unique and complex with different preferences and needs in life, making it difficult to find a well-balanced solution that suits all employees’ contrasting learning styles. In every organization, you find a diverse group of people who see the world differently through their lenses. When creating an e-learning program, one must be vigilant of employees’ personality types and avoid designing a program based on one person’s perceptions. E-learning needs to be an open yet structured environment that engages and makes everyone feel comfortable to share their ideas and grow.
Take a step back and observe people’s varied learning styles and how each class takes on a different approach to e-learning. In doing so, organizations can strategically find the best ways to meet each employee’s needs and achieve the best results. How do you make e-learning material that satisfies the mix of learning styles? The key is to design the learning material in a way that pleases each personality type and provides something that resonates with each person. As such, ensure you include pieces of each of the following aspects.
Find a connection
It is important to note that people respond better to a blend of educational and interactive components with asynchronous learning.
With the lack of in-person accountability, people start asynchronous e-learning and often never see the finish line. On its own, asynchronous learning robs workers of the chance to communicate and share ideas with their fellow peers. Therefore, mixing asynchronous self-paced e-learning with interactive live discussion calls is best. This makes it more compelling to go through the asynchronous e-learning modules promptly and engages the audience.
The design of these live online synchronous sessions is critical. When people are forced to sit and listen to someone talk, listeners slowly lose focus and begin multitasking. Keep content relatively short, with interactive components to keep learners actively engaged in the material. Weave in different creative learning elements to provide a blend of diverse range that employs a variety of people with varying styles of learning.
Many people struggle to find a meaningful connection to e-learning. Before the pandemic, workers could hold a genuine interest in others’ views and perspectives and enjoyed sharing their own experiences and stories to find connections. In the virtual workplace, it is difficult to thrive on creativity and improvisation when faced with mundane, redundant tasks. Since social interaction is a crucial component to learning, group work is an excellent solution to provide an opportunity for workers to make emotional connections with one another. Introduce people and have them share some personal anecdotes about themselves. It’s crucial to note that the material should have meaning and purpose that will strike a chord with people. If the learning material is overly structured, it may be ineffectual and cannot touch people emotionally — leading them to find the material rather dull or unimportant.
Make an impact
E-learning can go beyond traditional knowledge-gathering courses and include real-world elements to bring the material to life. Create well-balanced content that allows people to digest the information independently, then come back together with a group to brainstorm and share their ideas or views on the material. Provide quick, impactful learning material to retain workers’ attention and focus, providing them an informational base. Include assignments based on the information that require real-world applications, encouraging learners to take what they have learned and apply it in real-world scenarios that pertain to their careers.
A blend of information and application material provides people an opportunity to practice the information allowing them to grow. Once real-world applications have been completed, learners can return to e-learning and reflect with a group on their experiences. This is an excellent opportunity to provide experiential learning modules to allow workers to tackle information at their own pace and create their problem-solving solutions. With repetition and practice of these experiential exercises, people will form solid habits and continue to grow in their careers.
Provide structure and clarity
To also attend to some people’s needs to feel well prepared, ensure you provide a logical and clear structure that allows them to go through the learning material step-by-step. Participants follow defined steps one at a time, then absorb and apply the material. Offer self-paced learning and reading materials before the live interaction that provide sufficient context and research background for the content and plan interactive experiences in the middle to the end of the learning session for a deeper connection. Be sure to give a clear explanation for the reasoning behind all exercises and practices.
Once people have had the time to digest and reflect on the content, provide ample time for people to ask questions for clarification. Keep the material straightforward with minimal interruptions from things unrelated to work at hand. Make sure each element of the content builds off the other and has a clear progression, allowing learners to see how the material ties together and applies to their real-world careers.
Human behavior is incredibly complex, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to meet each person’s unique needs. E-learning should not be a solo practice but instead a piece to a more extensive, dynamic learning program. While the pandemic surges on, virtual learning and work will continue to be the reality for the foreseeable future, so making it a positive experience is essential. With an exciting and well-balanced e-learning module, each day on the screen will no longer be redundant.
Almost all of the learning material is absorbed by students on their own. This requires developed willpower, responsibility, and self-control. Not everyone can maintain the proper pace of learning without control.
Distance education is not effective in developing communication skills.
In distance education, personal contact between students, teachers, and teachers is minimal, if possible. Therefore, this study form is unsuitable for developing communication, confidence, or teamwork skills.
Lack of Practical Knowledge
It is challenging to teach a field of study remotely that involves much hands-on training. Even the most advanced simulators will not replace “live” practice for future doctors and teachers.
The problem of user identification
So far, the most effective way to check whether a student has passed exams or tests honestly and independently is video surveillance, which is not always possible. Therefore, students must attend the university or its branches in person for their final exams.
Discussions about the new digital reality and the transformation of the social sphere have been going on for quite some time, but it is now that these changes are being felt most keenly. Learning as an essential social practice is being redefined before our very eyes. Accelerated digitalization is becoming a test of teachers, institutions, national educational systems, and, perhaps most importantly, humanity’s ability to cooperate in the face of significant challenges.
It remains to be seen what lessons each educational institution, the educational system as a whole, and all of us who, in one capacity or another, are facing this system and the new social reality that the pandemic is shaping around it will be able to draw from this forced, rapid digitalization. Perhaps this is precisely when the institutions of education and society are in the best position to work out comprehensive development strategies. A certain “lull” caused by temporary isolation will allow us to take a fresh look at what is at the heart of modern education, to better understand what tasks we are setting for it shortly, and, most importantly, to answer the question of whether its total transformation into digital form is really necessary.