How to Help Learners Struggling with E-Learning
There are many objectives for developing e-learning training courses but high on the list for most organisations is to improve employee performance. What happens, however, when employees struggle with the course?
This can result in a downward spiral where the employee loses self-confidence and/or reacts negatively to your entire training programme.
In some situations, of course, the cause for this might be general incompetence. These situations are typically in the minority, however. In most cases, learners struggle with e-learning courses simply because something isn’t clicking with them.
It’s in them to be able to achieve the standard you require, but something is blocking them from getting there.
There are steps you can take to get these learners back on track. By doing so, you will increase motivation and productivity levels while also building back confidence.
You can help learners who struggle with your e-learning courses with the following eight tools.
Set Achievable Goals
This primarily involves not overwhelming learners with lots of modules that they have to get through in a short period of time. This can be daunting even for those who usually do well.
Instead, be realistic based on not only the length of the course, but also the level of difficulty and the level of familiarity the learner has with the topic. In other words, learners should get more time to complete topics that are more difficult and/or less familiar.
It’s also important you take into account the workload and responsibilities of your learners. Are they not reaching a satisfactory standard because they are rushing through the course so they can get back to delivering on their KPIs or achieving their targets?
Get Feedback and Act on It
The barrier that is preventing some learners from achieving could be the structure of the course or the way the content is presented. A good way to identify these issues is through learner feedback.
So, make sure you have a strategy in place to ask for honest feedback from all learners who complete the course.
You then need to act on that feedback. This means not taking the feedback personally. Instead, you should look at feedback as a constructive way to improve the course.
Change Your Training Approach
Using a tried and test training approach could help struggling learners improve. Two examples are:
- Microlearning – this is where you present the course in bite-size chunks. Each chunk contains something new and can be completed quickly – usually in a few minutes.
- Spaced repetition – this is where you continuously go over previously covered content to reinforce it with learners. The time between each repetition should then get longer as the knowledge starts to bed in.
Another strategy you can use is to empower learners as much as possible. This includes letting learners complete the course according to their own schedule (within a wider timeframe, of course), but it goes deeper than this as well.
For example, you can let learners decide on the order they complete training modules. You can also give them a say in their learning path, plus you can allow them to skip through sections of the training they are familiar with so they can spend longer on other sections.
By empowering learners in these ways, you will increase their levels of motivation, helping with the learning process.
Add Scenarios and/or Simulations
One reason that learners struggle with any type of course, including e-learning courses, is because the course is too theory-based. Adding scenarios or simulations makes the content more real and relevant for the learner.
Scenarios are where you create a mock situation and then get learners to make decisions on the best way to deal with it. You can even use branching scenarios where decisions made by learners change the scenario and create a new set of options the learner must decide on.
Simulations are similar, but they involve using a new skill or knowledge rather than making a decision when faced with a situation. An example is using a new piece of software. So, instead of simply explaining the steps, simulate the software in the training module so the learner can do, rather than just learning the theory.
Assign Mentors to Struggling Learners
There are times when people need something explained to them in a different way. Mentors will also provide motivational support as well as being available to answer questions.
Make it Easy and Fulfilling for Learners to Communicate with Trainers
There are also people who feel detached from the training module. Giving them easy access to a trainer will alleviate this. The trainer doesn’t have to be physically present and they don’t even need to respond to queries or questions immediately.
Instead, the learner should know someone is available if they need them, and the method of communicating with the trainer should be simple.
Create a Library of E-Learning Training Modules
Having a library of training modules that learners can refer to whenever they need it can relieve some of the pressure of completing an e-learning course.
You can even explore going down the route of just in time learning where the learner doesn’t complete a training course until they need to. Either way, providing a library of e-learning training modules will give learners confidence.
Turning the Situation Around
Most training is about bringing everyone on the team up to the required standard. With the above tools, you can get those struggling with e-learning to the standard you need.
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