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eLearning Pitfalls to Avoid in 2022

The emergence of virtual and remote work over the last two years has led to radical changes in learning and development strategy. In-person instructor-led training has become nearly impossible to conduct, and many organizations are opting for fully digital development strategies in the wake of office closures and permanent remote workers. As with nearly all business areas, this shift came quickly and without proper time for planning and strategy. The reality is that many organizations are still relying on makeshift learning and development strategies they formed in early 2020, which is now two years ago. As we move into 2022, it is essential that your organization not only has a plan for learning and development, but also avoids common mistakes that can stall progress, waste money, and create dissatisfied employees.

Every successful eLearning program starts with solid, actionable goals. One of the most detrimental mistakes your organization can make is developing a learning solution without setting clear goals beforehand. Goals allow both you and your eLearning partner (or your internal L&D team) to level set objectives and work toward building the correct solution for your learner needs. If you fail to define learning program goals prior to development, you can run into issues with learner satisfaction, engagement, and retention. If you want to start the new year off right, make sure you are working with your learners, partners, and management to create realistic, actionable learning goals.          

Another common mistake that organizations make when creating learning programs is underestimating and failing to challenge their learners. Creating an eLearning course that simply does not challenge your learners can lead to a slew of problems that are easily avoidable. It can be tempting for organizations simple and easy in order to expedite the training process and appease learners. The reality is that learner retention is based on stimulation and engagement, and most learners will find little appeal in a click-through training course lacking accountability. There are many ways in which you can make eLearning courses more challenging without frustrating learners, some of the most common being branched learning and gamification. If you want to ensure your employees are getting the most out of their development, avoid the common mistake of making training too easy for your target audience.

While making training programs too easy for learners is an issue, you can also create a negative experience by overloading learners with data and content. Many organizations make the mistake of creating learning solutions that read like textbooks; long passages crammed with information, few or no breaks between content, and a lack of visual and auditory support. It goes without saying that text-heavy learning programs can fail for a variety of reasons, but mainly because they can cause cognitive overload and bore learners. Unengaged learners will not retain information well, and even if some learners are engaged, they will still struggle to remember an overload of information. If you want to create a learning program that is both educational and engaging, consider breaking up large chunks of content and data into more digestible modules.       

As learning and development strategy has progressed in recent years, it has become more and more realistic to build targeted, tailored learning solution for specific audiences. eLearning programs are more scalable than ever, meaning that solutions can be developed and customized for specific audiences without overwhelming cost increases. Nonetheless, many organizations are still failing to create L&D solutions for specific target audiences. This starts with one of the most detrimental mistakes that can be made when developing a learning solution: not having a clearly defined target audience. In order to create effective learning outcomes, you must create a solution that is specifically designed for a set of characteristics or background that your learner possesses. If you want a leg up in the L&D world in 2022, avoid cookie-cutter learning solutions and strive to create experiences that align with your learners.

Another important eLearning mistake to avoid is poor or nonexistent navigation. As many organizations make the shift toward fully online learning experiences, it can be difficult for learners to become accustomed to how they are meant to interact with new media, and this can lead to poor completion rates and negative learner experiences. Building eLearning solutions with simple tools such as navigation menus or job aids will help your learners feel more conformable when completing their development courses.

Finally, there is one more common pitfall that you can avoid when creating your next learning and development program: underutilizing effective assessment metrics. eLearning has made it easier than ever to track learner progress, habits, and performance, and your organization should be leveraging that data to create better learning experiences. In fact, effective assessment metrics are some of the best ways you can continue to engage leaners and create a culture within your workplace that values development. Furthermore, you can supplement learning and development metrics with employee feedback, which will do two things—help you create better learning experiences and show your employees that you value their input.

As you move into the new year, it is important that you reconsider how, why, when, and where you are training and developing your employees. As mentioned above, many organizations were forced to create makeshift learning solutions (or eliminate training programs altogether) in early 2020, and many have been using those same programs since. If you are in need of an L&D revamp, there is no better time to start than in the new year, and avoiding these common pitfalls is the first step in ensuring your employees are receiving the development opportunities they need.

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