elearning psychology

There comes a point in time when our inner voice starts whispering:

“You are not clever and interesting enough. You’ll undergo degradation if you don’t start learning anything new right now!”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

It’s not about learning how to prepare for life. It’s about learning a set of new skills or improving the existed ones to succeed in career and stay competitive on the market.

We shouldn’t expect to stop, and we need to retool ourselves all the time to stay on top and have enough knowledge to survive in this fast-paced world. It often appears that the things we learned at universities a few years ago become outdated, new trends come calling the shots, and eLearning seems the only savior to help us stay the course.

It’s a challenge for both corporations and educators:

  • To make sure their employees are efficient and able to achieve business goals, corporations are ready to embrace their need for learning, providing opportunities for corporate training.
  • To understand why adults are ready to embrace corporate eLearning and how to develop insightful and useful courses for them, educators should consider traits, habits, and mindsets of their learners.

Corporate eLearning strategies should be developed with adult learner psychology in mind because their motivation and fears are much different from those of the youngsters.

These several moments behind the psychology of corporate training can help eLearning creators to come up with interesting online courses:

1) Don’t explain WHAT they will learn. Tell WHY they need it.

Unlike high school students, corporate learners will hardly learn something for the sake of learning. They should know why they need this exact information and how they can benefit from it. Emphasize this moment from the very first day of your course to engage people to the learning process.

Without a clear understanding of what your course brings them besides theoretical knowledge (productivity boost, practical skills of time management, step-by-step techniques to plan projects, etc.), your learners will simply waste their time.

2) Help them overcome the fear of change.

We all are afraid of changing the current state of things because it would mean we were wrong when accepting them. As for corporate learners, they have obviously spent a lot of time on getting familiar with everything they do now; and the bare fact they should change the approach and start doing a job in different ways means nothing but failure for them.

Your task is preventing them from thinking you are going to change them. Make them understand your course will help to expand knowledge and become more productive.

3) Don’t let them release their “inspectors.”

Learning is hard. Moreover, this process associates with nothing but evaluation. When in school, teachers evaluated every step we took; and now we have our inner “inspectors” in heads, not allowing us to deserve high grades for our deeds. There will always be “I don’t try enough,” “Others do it better,” “I need to force myself to do that,” and many other thoughts of this kind, including the feelings of shame, guilt, and destructive rage.

It’s one more reason why adults are afraid of learning despite the clear understanding why they need it. Don’t give any grades, and make them feel it’s they who controls the process of learning.

4) Explain practical benefits of a course.

As mentioned above, corporate learners are not interested in theoretical aspects of your courses. All they need is a clear understanding of what they will do with your information and how they can practically apply it for better work.

Tell them why your eLearning course is relevant, explain every piece of its content and every activity you are going to implement by describing the practical benefits it will bring to learners. Focus on their goals, offer them practical value, and demonstrate you do value their time.

5) Figure out their motivation.

Corporate learners want to reach their goals rather than get a reward from you, so you should know and understand their real motivation before creating a course. To make them active participants in the eLearning process, respond to their intrinsic motivators.

How can you figure them out?

Conduct interviews or surveys to use the information when designing the course. As we know, motivation is fuel for every process, so it would be wrong to ignore this aspect when working with corporate eLearners.

How can we help our learners overcome those barriers and add psychological flow to our eLearning courses? Besides the well-known psychological tips to incorporate into eLearning, try the following:

  • Create challenging goals.
  • Remove distractions from your course.
  • Provide them with self-guided activities.
  • Give constructive feedback.
  • Engage every member of your course, keeping their motivation in mind.

The psychological aspect is significant when it comes to corporate training of adult learners. Extrinsic motivators, such as grades and rewards don’t work with them anymore. To create insightful eLearning courses, you need to understand why your learners need them, what prevents them from fulfilling potential, and what practical benefits they expect to receive after finishing the eLearning process.

By Lesley Vos, a freelance writer and content creator behind many publications on education, college life, and career. A big fan of bizarre things in learning, Lesley supports non-trivial approaches to educational process, applying them to her private teaching of the French language for high school students.

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