Online learning fatigue: an overview
When the pandemic hit us, technology came in help and remote online learning has become the new reality. People tried to adapt to the new context, organizing online meetings, online learning programs, online feedback sessions. Some like it, others do not, but most of us are thankful that when in need, there has been an alternative way to keep performing our work and developing ourselves. However, remote work has led to a new phenomenon called the online learning fatigue.
Basically, online learning fatigue refers to the feeling of exhaustion, and even burnout, that employees feel due to continuous online meetings and training programs. As the eLearning Industry explained in one article, there are various factors that lead to this phenomenon:
- Corporate pressure to constantly upskill/reskill which comes from a need of having a competitive advantage;
- The lack of work-life balance that appeared as a result of working from home, with the majority of employees taking new tasks and working more hours than they used to. When working from home, especially at the beginning of this remote work, people tended to multitask, starting to respond to emails, for example, while being in an online meeting.
- Focus on compliance over substance, with so many mandatory training programs that employees need to attend.
How to overcome the online learning fatigue
There are some practices and behaviors that could be implemented in an attempt to deal with this phenomenon.
- Always focus on the accessibility of learning. There are many ways to do this and they are all correlated with the way in which knowledge is delivered to learners. For example, you can enable pull-based learning, offering employees a variety of learning resources from which they can choose the ones that best fit them.
Also, you can implement eLearning tools which help answer learning needs whenever they occur, which usually happens during an employee’s workflow, when there’s no time to go through hundreds of learning materials. You can do that by means of knowledge graphs, which are a good way to structure all the information across an organization, to make it easier for employees to find whatever they need in no time.
- Social learning all the way. We have always promoted the benefits of collaborative learning, and social interaction and the remote work has repeatedly shown us that people need this kind of learning. Thus, build a sense of community across your organization, there are many eLearning platforms which can help with this. Practice learner-moderated interactions, where you bring a few people together and choose one or two of them to deliver knowledge to the other, making the most of each other’s expertise and experience. You know that people feel more comfortable learning from one of their colleagues than from a trainer they have never met in their life. You can also encourage breakout sessions in your online learning approach, which allows for collaboration and interaction.
- Work on that user interface, by making the content pleasant for the reader’s eye. For example, you can use minimalistic fonts, or use more visual learning content, such as infographics or videos. Fortunately or not, the social media channels impose some kind of content that people consume the most at certain times, which are the short videos nowadays. People are used to this kind of content, and what not make the most of it during the online learning process? You can use the microlearning technique to deliver bites of information at one time, and you can also use videos to deliver it.
- Work on the learning programmes too. According to this article, immersive learning leads to better engagement, because online learning techniques such as “branching scenarios, gamification, and next-gen strategies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) relieve online learning fatigue rather than exacerbate it.” You can also encourage experiential learning, which offers relevant and interactive learning experiences to online learners.
Thus, to wrap it up, there is no doubt that online learning comes with its challenges, as well as with benefits. But you can always work on making it better and avoid online learning fatigue, by making learning accessible, collaborative, and convenient.