Technology-aided learning programs allow employees to work on a more flexible schedule as it provides the flexibility of time and location. At the same time, such training programs require greater effort and skills as most of them are self-paced. The learner needs to have considerable personal organization and study skills to engage in fruitful e-learning. With the aim of gaining professional excellence, most employees are willing to engage in lifelong learning, if only they find a way to manage work and learning commitments.
Examining barriers to success in online learning, studies have found that the main issues that stand in the way of successful e-learning are social isolation, followed by administrative issues or lack of instructor support, learner motivation, and time management issues. Working around these issues, e-learning enthusiasts within the corporate structure can make sure that learners are duly motivated and equipped to utilize the best out of e-Courses.
- Motivate Your Learners: While corporate learners have different proficiency levels as well as varied experiences in their area of work the, common constant is the learning program’s content and curriculum. This remains the most important push for and the main motivator to complete an e-learning course. The content has to be useful in the learners’ professional context with implicit gains out of the learning endeavour being the constant reminder of ‘why am I learning?’ The gains could be many – including the possibility of a promotion, a raise or monetary gains of other kinds, job security as well as professional recognition.Another contributor in getting learners motivated is the opportunity to immediately apply newly learned skills and competencies in the work environment. Many learners find that the opportunity to build relationships in the face-to-face classroom sessions that are included in a blended learning approach or interaction with instructors or peers on a virtual discussion boards to be a strong motivational factor for utilizing a technology-aided learning program. The online learners gain a lot of academic support as well as a social support to help to stay focused, and dispels the isolation that often creeps in with e-learning devours. Thus it is evident that the emphasis of social presence and connection cannot be over-stated as a key motivating factor for online learners.
- Strengthen Time Management Skills: The emphasis of time management skills and techniques is also important in the success of an e-learning endeavour. While providing support, learning managers need to help out learners in ways that empower them to manage their workload. Learning managers have to guide learners to set their learning goals, prioritize and plan as well as provide scheduling techniques that can help learners utilize all aspects of the learning curriculum. Though having spent considerable time in the corporate sector, many learners have no experience or knowledge of time management concepts or theories. This can be a reason why many e-learning endeavours fail to make an impact as many learners simply cannot make the time to complete them or utilize them fully. The importance of time management techniques as a support to achieve a balance between studying, working and leisure is thus an important factor in the success of online learning.As more and more learners are realizing the need for lifelong learning, they also realize that a lot of time within their workday goes unproductive as they often have to leave their workstations. In this context, the introduction of mobile learning is a huge boon for learners who are often away from their desks but are keen on making time for learning. Mobile learning provides them the opportunity to learn whenever and wherever they want – as per perceived need. This increases the impact of learning a lot as the biggest benefit it provides is that it gives the learner the opportunity to make tie for learning – no matter where he or she is.
- Improve Study Skills: In addition to ways to manage time better, learners also need support to increase learning skills – both cognitive such as recall strategies and in terms of format such as recording findings or achievements for sharing with peers. It is important to note that learners have preferences for varied learning styles. While a lot of them can remember things by heart better, many do not find an inclination for rote learning. For them classroom or peer discussions help to create and contextualize knowledge. Many learners are motivated to know more or research a topic when it is discussed by fellow peer. Discussions also help learners reflect on content more and even help in the process of desired change in behaviour that can be triggered by an overtly simple online discussion post. For some learners online discussion boards help to concentrate as there is less distraction and ‘noise’ in online learning environments. Providing ample opportunities to improve skills – personally and along with peers, should be part of an e-learning program. It can be an important factor that catapults it to success.
Work and Learning have to go hand–in-hand. It is not just enough to create compelling learning material for your employees – it is equally important to make sure that it is relevant to them and their nature of work. Support to help learners gain the most out of online learning opportunities is also important for success as is continuous ways for learners to enrich their experiences. Keeping in mind the immense increase in the number of employees and the need for learning, e-learning is surely the way to go for modern learners – though its success depends on how well we are able to support learners and align the learning as per their needs.