The top 7 corporate eLearning challenges & limitations—and how you can overcome them
Digital training tools can revolutionize your workplace training, but there are eLearning challenges that shouldn’t be ignored. If you want your employees to engage with the content, learn what they need to know to perform at their jobs and retain the information, you have to understand the common limitations of eLearning tools and have a plan to overcome them.
1. Limited time
One of the most common challenges is delivering training to people who are constantly on the move, especially those on the frontline. Time management is a constant struggle, and people just don’t have the bandwidth to sit through comprehensive online courses that pull them away from their duties while on the job.
Solution: Opt for a training solution that supports microlearning. In doing so, you can make learning a matter of minutes instead of hours. So there’s limited disruption to the workflow. People have been proven to learn better in small increments over time anyway so help employees fit development into the few free minutes they have and build over time.
2. Limited access
How do you ensure that everyone has access to eLearning tools, especially if they’re using different equipment in the workplace? Many eLearning tools are limited in the devices or operating systems that they accommodate, and this can create serious access problems when you’re trying to push training to hundreds or even thousands of employees—some of whom have remote learning requirements.
Solution: Accessing the content is the challenge, so make sure that both the content and the delivery platform are designed for use on any device. This is typically easier for office-based employees, where a cloud-based solution that’s universally accessible online can be the answer. But if you have team members who aren’t sitting at a computer, you need to ensure that the solution is accessible on the devices they do use, whether that’s a point-of-sale terminal or even a smartphone. Mobile-based learning technologies are helping to reduce the access problem because 85% of Americans now own a smartphone—and the number is much higher among younger Americans. So if you have a mobile-friendly learning solution coupled with a flexible bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, you’re in a better position to solve the access problem altogether.
3. Limited resources
One of the biggest challenges of eLearning is the infrastructure itself. Building an eLearning solution can require significant resources. You need L&D experts to oversee everything. You need supervisors to track participation, trends and results. You need IT resources. You need content developers. This can all be costly and time-consuming.
Solution: The solution lies in a balance of creation and curation. Curate resources on the fast-changing, lower-priority topics that are already widely covered. Focus your internal resources on addressing the biggest priority topics. To make this easy, use a learning solution that supports built-in content curation. For example, if you need a retail LMS for your company training, Axonify has a complete Content Marketplace where you can access dozens of professional, ready-made training courses related to customer service, safety, loss prevention and other universal topics. You can select the courses you need and then focus on creating the more targeted content that’s specific to your retail business.
4. Limited practical experience
eLearning is great for teaching concepts, but it doesn’t provide practical expertise. For instance, you can’t learn how to drive a forklift simply by reading a tutorial (nor should you). If you’re trying to teach something that has implications for workplace safety or customer satisfaction, eLearning will only get you so far.
Solution: Create a blended learning experience. You can teach the fundamentals and offer scenario-based learning and reinforcement with your eLearning tool, but you should combine foundational concept training with hands-on practice and coaching.
5. Limited learner engagement
It’s not enough to assign training to team members. If you want the learning to be effective, it has to be engaging to the end user. When learners are engaged, it makes a massive difference for participation, retention and results. So how do you get employees to actually care and participate willingly?
Solution: Engagement begins with value. You have to deliver solutions that solve problems people actually have or address important knowledge and skill gaps. Tailor the learning to each individual, make it short and make it relevant.
6. Limited retention
People forget most of what they learn in an eLearning environment—at least when they’re initially exposed to the information. So how do you make the information stick?
Solution: Part of the problem is that traditional online learning programs are too long—and then the information is never revisited. Even content from a 10-minute video is unlikely to be retained if it’s not immediately reinforced. Add reinforcement so people have the opportunity to practice applying what they learn, even if it doesn’t come up on the job very often. When the information is repeated at regular intervals, the knowledge transitions from short-term to long-term memory.
7. Limited data
Far too many eLearning tools focus on scores. Traditional tools will tell you that a person completed the e-learning course, and it will usually tell you the score. Some of the more sophisticated tools will even tell you if the participant enjoyed the course and which aspects of the course clicked for them. But your typical eLearning solution doesn’t tell you if the learning content actually made a difference, changed the employee’s behavior or improved outcomes in the workplace.
Solution: Use an eLearning tool that offers more in-depth reporting on participation, trends, rankings, areas of mastery and other key data. The tool should also have features that make it easy for supervisors to log on-the-job assessments and incorporate those results into the reporting. Axonify has both knowledge and behavior metrics that you can track over time, and you can set specific training-results KPIs based on business outcomes like customer satisfaction, sales or revenue.
You can overcome these digital and online learning challenges
Though there are challenges associated with digital training, the problem isn’t that eLearning is inherently limited. The real problem is twofold:
- Not all learning platforms are equipped to give you what you need, so you have to be discerning about the technology you use.
- eLearning itself will only get you so far. As a manager, supervisor or L&D professional, you still have to do your part to ensure that the platform is used effectively and that the data doesn’t go to waste. You also have to take the lead on certain aspects of content curation and hands-on training; don’t expect technology to do everything for you
So choose a training solution carefully and make your training program a priority. You can overcome the challenges of eLearning—it’s about delivering the right solutions to the right people.