ELearning is a format that makes sense for all age groups, particularly as more and more demographics gain access to digital content and devices. But where it really shines is in the corporate realm. Adults are capable of being great learners, but sometimes (especially for eLearning programs) obstacles may arise. Here’s a quick look at some of the most common learning barriers older learners encounter, and a few tips to help you overcome those obstacles.
eLearning Challenges that Adults Face
Challenge #1: Physical LimitationsAs people age, inevitably many of them become less mobile. They may experience issues with reading small font, understanding complex audio, or hearing soft or subtle audio cues. Understanding how these limitations may impact the consumption of your learning content can make a big difference in helping your audience overcome any age or ability-based obstacles. Make sure you are planning for accessibility when designing your eLearning programs. Ensure that font sizes and types are legible. Break large amounts of text up into manageable chunks. Include plenty of diagrams and visuals to help adult learners find and absorb the relevant knowledge from the experience.
Challenge #2: Earning TrustAnother key barrier many adult learners face is the simple fact that they likely have many years of background experience that will influence their perception of the content being presented. They are unlikely to respond well to authoritarian instructors who are unable to recognize that there are other perspectives or ideas of value within a training space. It negates the trust of the trainee and will quickly close them off to the content you are trying to share. Often, a self-guided eLearning course is a strong approach with adult learners. It allows room for the trainee to make their own decisions, become more interactive, and autonomous in their own education.
Challenge #3: Finding Value in ContentAs mentioned before, adult learners often come to the virtual classroom with a breadth of hard-earned experience and knowledge that will preclude any broad overviews or subjects that are difficult to act on. Think about how you can teach tasks rather than subjects to your adult learners. Get specific. Show them how they will likely experience the value of their new-found training in their lives and jobs. What does your training mean out in the real world? This takes a certain niche-based orientation that will help you highlight the value of your broader content goals within the context of an older audience demographic.
Challenge #4: Technical SkillsELearning can be a challenge for adult learners simply because they may not be as well educated in the latest technologies as your recent graduates or younger demographics at large. They weren’t raised with personal computers or mobile devices like younger generations. Learning new software programs comes less intuitively to them than to other audiences. But that doesn’t mean eLearning isn’t the right choice for them. What it does mean is that you need to be thoughtful and strategic in how you present new technologies and content forms to older demographics. Keep the user experience simple and clear to deliver high impact content.
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