4 Tips To Prevent Learner Procrastination In eLearning

4 Tips To Prevent Learner Procrastination In eLearning
Summary: Some online learners may abide by the old adage: “why put off to tomorrow what you can do today.” However, there are others who always seem to wait until the last second to complete the learning task. In this article, I’ll explore 5 types of procrastinators that every eLearning professional should know about, and I'll share 4 tips for preventing learners' procrastination in your eLearning course.

How To Prevent Learner Procrastination In eLearning

Procrastination has a variety of far-reaching effects. It can decrease learner motivation, engagement, and participation, as well as hinder them from achieving their goals. Instead of being excited self-starters who give it their all, procrastinators hurry just before the deadline and never truly absorb the subject matter. In fact, they may wait so long that they don’t have time to complete the eLearning course at all. This is why eLearning professionals must be aware of the different types of procrastinators, the traits to look for, and how to prevent it through intuitive eLearning course design.

5 Learner Procrastinator Types

No two procrastinators are alike. However, most of them fall into specific categories with specific traits. eLearning professionals can use these general guidelines to examine the reasons WHY your online learners are procrastinating during their eLearning course.

1. The Time-Rope Walker

These procrastinators live for the excitement and thrill of waiting until the last second. They enjoy the anxiety, adrenaline, and stress that it brings. The Time-Rope Walker is a daredevil, of sorts, who is proud of the fact that they can "work well under pressure". However, these individuals may not be giving it their all. They are only dedicating a small amount of time and attention to the learning task, which means that the finished eLearning deliverable doesn't reflect their true interests.

2. The Worrier

Everyone worries from time to time, but The Worrier procrastinator lets fear and anxiety prevent them from completing the learning task. The fear of failure prompts them to wait until the eleventh hour. They also worry about the opinions of others and how they "stack up" against their peers. These procrastinators usually believe that not participating at all is more favorable than trying and not succeeding. In some cases, they may even be so indecisive that they aren't able to make a choice until the deadline is at hand. This all stems from worry, anxiety, and fear.

3. The Clock Optimist

This type of procrastinator tends to look at time differently. They think they always have plenty of time to complete the learning task, and that there is no need to worry about a milestone until it's just around the corner. This leads to unnecessary stress because they have to hurry to complete the learning task all at once, instead of breaking it up into smaller sub-tasks along the way. These online learners prefer not to schedule anything in advance and prefer to take care of tasks as they come up. In other words, they aren't the most effective planners and organizers.

4. The Idealist

Certain online learners are always striving for perfection, and this causes them to become procrastinators who overthink every step. They may plan well in advance, but they'll second their decisions and redo every phase of the eLearning course until they think that everything is just right. In some instances, they may not even begin the learning task because they are so afraid of an unfavorable outcome.

5. The Busy Bee

There are some procrastinators who have every intention of staring the eLearning course or tackling the learning task, but there just "aren't enough hours in the day". They run out of time and end up pushing the task to the side so that they can take care of more pressing matters. These are the Busy Bee procrastinators who may need to focus on their time management and prioritization skills.

4 Tips To Prevent Learner Procrastination In eLearning

1. Eliminate Common Distractors

Procrastinators tend to look for distractions that can take them away from the task. For example, they will spend a half hour searching social media sites just avoid the eLearning scenario. As such, you should eliminate common distractors from your eLearning course design, such as cluttered page designs and loud background music. If you are using collaborative tools in your eLearning course design, like forums and social media groups, moderate the online discussion to ensure that it stays on track.

2. Create Training Contracts

In some instances, procrastinators may just need to be held accountable. Creating a training contract helps them stick to a schedule. They can also personalize their goals and develop a timeline that works best for them. A training contract typically consists of milestones and a list of online resources and eLearning activities that online learners will use to achieve their learning objectives. Contracts also increase learner commitment and motivation because they know that there will be consequences for their actions, even if those consequences are disappointing themselves or their online instructors.

3. Incorporate Regular Breaks

Online learners who procrastinate often require regular breaks to refresh and reflect. This gives their brain a chance to catch up and get ready for the next eLearning activity by taking a breather. For example, playing an eLearning game or engaging in an online discussion can be a fun and exciting way to collect their thoughts and step away from the subject matter.

4. Put Procrastinators' Cognitions Into The Spotlight

Procrastinators may not even realize they are procrastinating. Those that do might not know why they are putting things off until the deadline. This is why it's important to put their beliefs, opinions, values, and assumptions into the spotlight. Encourage them to analyze the reasons why they are waiting to complete the eLearning assignment. For example, are they afraid of failure? Are they always running out of time? Do they believe that all of their hard work will be in vain? Help them get to the root of their procrastination so that they can remove the obstacles holding them back.

Procrastinators often lack time management and organizational skills, which prevents them from reaching their true potential. It's important to focus on these abilities in your eLearning course design, such as offering them eLearning simulations, branching scenarios, and serious games that facilitate soft skill development. You can also stress the benefits of meeting milestones and prioritization so that they are more motivated to learn.

Are you looking for ways to improve your time management skills? Read the article 8 Ways Busy eLearning Professionals Can Improve Their Time Management Skills to learn some time management tips that can boost your productivity and help you stay organized.