E-learning: challenges and solutions! Part One

After publishing the first article on the difference between distance learning and E-learning, I received many messages about the problems facing people in the process of electronic education in the world in general and the Arab world in particular, especially Syria, given the weakness of available technologies and the difficulty of electronic payment, not to mention the weakness of satellite internet quality. In this article, I introduced some of the challenges facing all of us in the process of e-learning and offering some solutions to it, from a personal point of view based on years of experience in the field of training and education over 20 years, in addition to some solutions and advice that I got from experts through written and electronic references.

There is no doubt that the world of teaching and learning is moving towards online training, especially after the series of crises the world is witnessing on the globe stage. To be fair to the online training, we must admit that it has undeniable multiple benefits such as low costs, great flexibility for the trainee, and the ability to train thousands of people around the world at the same time, and it also allows supervision of what the trainee is doing at any moment. However, e-learning is not without its flaws. Ultimately, it has its specific characteristics that can interfere or limit the success of the training process. Therefore, e-learning should not be viewed as a panacea. And I say in the context of this conversation that only by knowing the problems faced by other companies and institutions we can implement programs that achieve the desired benefit from them. For example, when companies, especially large ones, think of factors such as cost, schedule, and training of geographically dispersed staff, you will realize how difficult it is to conduct training. Therefore, in most cases, e-training is an effective and quick solution to these problems through which employees can receive training at the speed that suits them and in their spare time. We must not forget that e-learning comes with many challenges that must be addressed while presenting it online. In this article, I have identified the top ten major online training problems for you, and I’ve come up with suggested solutions for them all. In order not to prolong your reading time, I will show you 4 challenges with their solutions in this article, and we keep the other 6 for the article next week.

Challenge 1 – Lack of awareness of the importance of e-learning

One of the main challenges for e-learning is that learners do not realize the effectiveness of this type of learning. They may feel that e-learning is not as effective as training within training centers and that trainees will miss the opportunity to interact face to face.

The solution:

  1. E-learning enhancement: E-learning promotion can be an effective way to start an e-learning program. Arrange a marketing campaign and use it as a base to create awareness among the public. Other methods can be through publishing e-books and blogs and even by hosting an e-learning event.

  2. Developing communication: Developing effective communication between the public can be another approach towards creating awareness. Your audience will quickly accept e-learning once they know what e-learning is and how it can be useful to them.

Challenge 2 – Boring online training

Although online training aims to provide a solution to boredom learning based on training sessions in centers or classes, this is not always the case. Many e-learning courses consist of endless texts followed by a long list of multiple-choice questions that fail to engage the learner, and it looks like an electronic reading rather than e-learning. These types of courses make the learner bored with online training, and this lack of participation and motivation is one of the main reasons why e-learning courses fail. Students simply do not care about taking training, they do not enter the platform and do not complete the course. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is a good example: only 10% of students enrolling in a course they already complete.

The solution:

In order not to get bored, search for a dynamic, fun and interactive online course. It may be difficult for you to cope in the early days with e-learning, but over time it becomes easier. A wide range of e-learning platforms is currently available that offer all kinds of interactive training, with challenges and adventures, video clips, storytelling, innovative solutions and simulators to ensure practice and learning based on play and exercise. And if you, as an online platform host, want to add an additional motivational touch to the training, you can offer other incentives. Experience has shown, for example, that when students obtain a formal qualification or certificate at the end of the course, they become more involved in training. You can also boost competition by including rankings and prizes for winners (cash or other rewards). All of this will enhance participation, and participants will not only likely finish the course, but also search for additional courses.

Challenge 3- Technical difficulties faced by the learner

Technical problems are one of the main barriers to online training. Often, there are compatibility issues (with operating systems, browsers, or smartphones), the courses are not broadcast in high quality, or the student does not know how to proceed. All this increases frustration and reduces participation, the learning experience is disrupted and the learner may give up completing the course.

The solution:

Providing courses that suit multiple devices and applications, in addition to having a follower to take care of the technical problems the learner faces, and also make sure to try the course on many smartphones, browsers, and operating systems, and you should pay attention to the sound quality (a problem that is often ignored), this, on the one hand, the administrators of the educational platform. As for the learner, he must choose courses that do not require much internal memory or a high-speed internet connection, with a strong and simple script. Prioritize courses where you do not have to download any programs or print documents, and choose courses that have a simple, comprehensive help page, detailed FAQ section and excellent student care service. If the online course contains a chat service, email address, or forum for sorting technical errors, this will help a lot and therefore there will be no technical problem hindering the learning process.

Challenge 4 – The learner does not have time to train online

In general, e-learning provides students with a great deal of flexibility, as they can join training courses whenever and wherever they want, at the speed that suits them and without physical restrictions. However, too much flexibility often leads to inaction. Time passes and the trainee still has not entered the training platform or has not completed the course (you have so much time and flexibility that you can never find the time to do so).

The solution:

  1. Make sure that the training courses are divided into several parts and consist of brief units that can be completed in a short period of time. If it becomes known that if students encounter significant learning barriers, they will likely not have time to address them.

  2. Set a time limit and send reminders to yourself. Create a clear and simple calendar (agenda) that shows when you must complete each part of the online course.

Did you like the article? Do you have any questions about e-learning challenges looking for solutions? Please share it with me if you have any.

Prepared by: Roula Hamwi

Managing President

Ousos Training and Human Resource Development LLC.

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