This past January I moved across the country from Kitchener, Ontario to Vancouver, BC. It was a pretty big move! I was so excited to live in a new city and start a new job. But goodbyes are never easy. If you’ve ever moved to a new city, you can probably relate to the number of times I had to go to an event and share my plans and future living arrangements with close friends and family.
There was no shortage of dinners, coffee dates and family get-togethers where I was put on the spot and told to explain where I was going and what I would be doing. When we got to the topic of my new job, I was ready to rave about elearning and Learnkit – the awesome company I was joining. But the raving was almost always cut short and to my surprise, my friends and family didn’t share my passion for elearning!
Many of them looked at my in disgust! “Elearning is horrible” was a common response I received. Most people couldn’t wait to vent their elearning woes. All this negativity made me realize that despite the advances in technology, elearning research, and experts in the field, it’s common for many learners to be frustrated with their digital learning experiences.
Why do people have negative feelings towards elearning? Everyone had their reasons but many of the people I spoke to were adults who didn’t grow up with smartphones and high-tech devices. They found the elearning they had been exposed to, difficult to use and frustrating. They felt like they didn’t understand what they were doing and worst of all, they thought it was all a waste of time.
To give you a taste of some of the feedback I received, I asked a few of the complainants to summarize why they disliked elearning. Here are some of the responses that I got:
I like the flexibility that online learning brings, but the actual learning experience really made me mad. I felt like the way the course was laid out online made for a lot of extra work and unnecessary steps to get to the end goal. I think they were trying to make it fun, but it ended up being really annoying and felt like a waste of time.
We had to do compliance training online at work. It was awful, so frustrating. I kept clicking the wrong thing and had to start over, again and again. I didn’t really feel like I learned anything, I just wanted it to be over!
I had to do online learning at work and I just clicked ‘next, next, next’ to get through it. It was so boring I had a hard time focusing and actually taking in what was being taught.
As you can see, a lot of the feedback I received involved a lack of control over the learning experience. Many of my friends and family members were exposed to digital education that didn’t let them work at their own pace or take control of their learning. The modules either moved too slowly and lost their attention, or too quickly and made it difficult for them to retain new knowledge. Many of them felt that the learning experience was very poor.
I’ve been in the elearning industry for a few years now and I truly believe in elearning and its potential to create incredibly powerful learning experiences, so hearing all of this negative feedback was hard. I quickly realized that as elearning professionals it is our job to invest our time and energy into creating online learning that is engaging and effective.
This is where elearning development agencies like Learnkit can help. We specialize in partnering with organizations to create engaging, pedagogically sound elearning. If you’re struggling to make your elearning effective for your people, we can help! And if you’re still an elearning skeptic, check out our post “Why online learning is better than in person” – it might just sway you.
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