4 Types of “Problem” E-Learners and how to deal with them

In an increasingly tech-savvy and budget driven age, the potential for E-Learning is limitless. The key to a successful E-Learning strategy is buy-in by people at all levels of an organisation. Sadly, anyone who has ever delivered an E-Learning programme will know that there will always be people who find transition difficult. We’ve identified four types of E-Learners to watch out for and how to deal with them when you spot them:

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1. The Technophobe

Who? Often, but not always, this person is of an older generation and has limited experience with technology. They are timid as a mouse around the computer and if they had their way, they would print out the whole E-Learning course and complete it manually.

How to bring the best out in them: The greatest tool at your disposal for a technophobe is buckets full of encouragement. Every time they complete a task, make them feel like a champion. User interfaces should be simple and designed intuitively, with the learner in mind. If your organisation has a high concentration of technophobes, consider introducing blended learning or providing equipment so that these E-Learners can meet in groups and help each other out with the technological side of things.


2. The One with Great Intentions (but not much else)

Who? This particular character is enthusiastic and excited about all of the new facts and lessons they can learn with all of the beautiful online content you have created. However, when it comes to actually completing online modules, they fail at even the first hurdle of logging in.

How to bring out the best in them: Expect that you will have to sell your learning content to them. An enthusiastic person like this one will have many different interests competing for their time. When you release a new course, create a short description that tells the learner how much of their time they will need to spend and give them two or three returns they will gain from investing their time. If you can engage this learner and get them to take part in and enjoy your E-Learning, you’ll find that their enthusiasm is infectious.


3. The Shortcutter

Who? This type of E-Learner is their own worst enemy. They would like all of the benefits of hard work without actually having to do any. In their constant rush to the next achievement to add to their trophy cabinet, they have little more than superficial knowledge in any particular area.

How to bring out the best in them: There are three keys to slowing down this student long enough for them to learn something. Firstly, you can make it mandatory to spend time on each page of learning. Secondly, consider integrating assessments into the learning content to identify knowledge gaps and diagnose additional learning material to fill those knowledge gaps. Last but not least, try to create spectacular E-Learning content that distracts them from racing on.


4. The Spoon-fed Student

Who? This individual has always consumed superior quality, highly personalised learning content, which is certainly no bad thing in itself. However, because they have always been looked after so well, they tend to lack the initiative to further explore external learning content that would supplement and improve their learning experience.

How to bring out the best in them: The first step to creating a great E-Learning experience for this student is to communicate expectations. If he/she knows from the beginning that it will be beneficial to read supplementary materials, then that will hopefully plant a seed in his/her mind. We recommend that you include regular prompts throughout your E-Learning course that refer learners to relevant websites or repositories of valuable information. Try creating a social platform for learners to communicate and grapple with difficult questions. To kick-off conversations in these online forums, you could set a project which requires students to interact. If you succeed with this type of student, you won’t only have taught them something new in your subject area, but also the value of taking initiative.


We’d love to hear about difficulties you have experienced when delivering E-Learning and successful techniques you have used to overcome them. Join the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #elearningwin. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

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