3 Online Learning Barriers and How to Navigate Them

Andrew Brown ·

Feb 08, 2022

A lack of intuitiveness, a failure to help them solve their immediate challenges and not accounting for different learning styles. These are the 3 biggest online learning barriers you’ll face when training your customers, employees, partners and gig workers

Thankfully, you can navigate them. I’m here to show you how.

The Content Isn’t Easy to Follow 

If something’s too difficult, hard to handle or doesn’t make sense, you don’t do it — or at least not at the same level you would if it was easy. The relationship between your customers, employees, gig workers, channel partners and the content you present them is the same. If it’s not easy to follow, they won’t use it the way you want. 

To overcome this online learning barrier, make your content, courses and any other related materials easy to understand. If you want someone to be successful with your content, make it abundantly clear the learning outcome you want them to achieve. Don’t make assumptions or leave anything to chance. Be crystal clear and reap the benefits of online learning.

The best way to do this is by working with a subject matter expert (SME) and an experienced instructional designer (ID). Working with an SME will allow you to understand the topic and what information they need to master a topic. Teaming up with an ID helps you translate that information into structured courses that actually make sense and improve knowledge retention. If you do both of these, consider this online learning barrier out of your way. 

The Content Doesn’t Address Current Challenges

In the simplest way of thinking, the purpose of learning is to become better at something. For example, I recently took a course on the Adobe Creative Suite because I wanted to become better at the visual part of content marketing. During my baseball days, I went to practice to become a better player. In some way, shape or form, learning stems from a desire to improve.

This is preciously what your customers, employees, gig workers or channel partners expect when you present them with an opportunity to learn online; they expect to improve and navigate challenges standing in their way of being successful (e.g., using a new feature or generating revenue). If you fail to provide that value, your online learning program, and your learners’ progress, will hit a wall. 

To make sure that doesn’t happen, it’s critical that your content addresses immediate needs or challenges preventing them from achieving a beneficial outcome. For example, if their success and ultimate retention hinges on their ability to master a new product feature, the content you put in front of them must do that. An easy way to accomplish this is to source feedback via online surveys, face-to-face meetings and other methods that ask questions that help you understand the value your learners are getting from your content.

The Experience Doesn’t Match Their Learning Styles 

No two customers, employees or channel partners will learn in exactly the same way. Some may like to sit down and spend a good chunk of time learning after work while others may prefer to take in chunks of content (aka microlearning) when on the subway. Similarly, some may get more out of the content when they can actively listen to it while others fancy reading something and rounding out their knowledge with an online quiz. Said another way, if you create a one-size-fits-all experience that you assume will serve everyone equally, you’re bound to run into a barrier. 

To make sure that doesn’t happen, take advantage of multimodal learning and the VARK learning styles when crafting or optimizing the experience. VARK, an acronym that stands for “visual,” “aural,” “read and write,” and “kinesthetic,” will ensure that you’re providing content options for peoples’ varying learning styles. Similarly, you should consider blended learning to appeal to people who prefer in-person tactics over online ones or need extra guidance to master a topic. 

Tearing Down Online Learning Barriers With an LMS

You can take all of these barriers out in one fell swoop with a learning management system (LMS). With the right LMS, you can build structured courses that lead your learners toward an impactful learning outcome, all while mixing and matching content mediums to ensure you’re meeting every possible learning style. 

Want to see how you can do this with Northpass. Reach out today to schedule a demo with one of our online learning experts. 

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About the Author

Andrew Brown

Andrew is a Content Marketing Manager, helping position Northpass as the utmost thought leader in the industry. When he's not creating content, you can find him watching the Buffalo Sabres, obsessing about Scandinavia (he's learning Danish!), or exploring NYC.

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