eLearning For Adult Learners: 6 Obstacles To Overcome

eLearning For Adult Learners: 6 Obstacles To Overcome
Summary: Adult learning is daunting for both adult learners and their online instructors. However, is it possible that the biggest challenge to adult education exists right inside the online learner’s mind?

6 Obstacles To Overcome When Creating eLearning For Adult Learners

We haven’t yet discovered how to read minds, so we don’t know what adult learners are thinking. They are often too mired in doubt to express their problems. We can’t fix what we’re not aware of. A major step in making eLearning courses for adult learners accessible is to identify and resolve adult learning obstacles. Let's explore 6 obstacles to overcome when creating eLearning for adult learners.

eBook Release: Designing eLearning Courses For Adult Learners: The Complete Guide
eBook Release
Designing eLearning Courses For Adult Learners: The Complete Guide
This Free eBook can help you design engaging and inspiring eLearning courses for adult learners.

1. The Online Instructor Is In Charge

The conventional idea of school is that an instructor guides the process as an authoritarian figure. Adults see their teachers as peers and they may have a hard time taking orders from an equal. Therefore, self-guided eLearning courses are often the ideal approach. The adult learner needs room to make decisions. Interactive, autonomous approaches are far more effective than pedantic education.

2. Physical Limitations

As adults get older, their bodies may not be as cooperative as they were in the past. Ensure that font sizes and types are legible. Adults have also spent a large amount of time using the Internet for leisure. In addition, many people may have a hard time focusing on long prose. For this reason, eLearning courses need to use short bursts of text and plenty of diagrams. This ensures that adult learners absorb the relevant knowledge before their attention span gets compromised.

3. Memory Challenges

The older we get, the harder it is to remember things. This can be especially problematic when it comes to adult learning and it constitutes one of the biggest adult learning obstacles. Adults have no interest in reciting facts. They often lack the capacity to remember infinite details. This is why they learn best through demonstrations and a hands-on approach. The issue of memory can be resolved with some careful structuring of the eLearning course. Develop eLearning courses that have self-monitoring units. Adult learners can proceed at their own pace and review past eLearning modules with ease. The learning materials should be presented in simple, memorable packages. These include brief audio clips, mnemonic systems, flow charts, Venn diagrams, photographic examples and so on.

4. Teaching Tasks Instead Of Subjects

Younger learners assimilate information on a broad scale. Adult learners, on the other hand, aren’t really interested in overviews. When an adult takes a particular eLearning course, they want to acquire a specific skill set and complete a particular task. An adult would be more interested in specifics. "How do I raise capital? How to do I seal a deal? What are some good negotiation skills? What business should I start?" eLearning courses for adult learners need to be more niche-oriented in order to hold their focus.

5. Too Mature To Learn

Some adults have a hard time resuming training. They have an in-built attitude that challenges their desire to learn. The advantage of eLearning courses is that they are very discreet. Adult learners can study in the privacy of their own homes or offices. They can also work at their own pace. They don’t have to worry about competing with their online classmates.

6. Tech Know-How

Adult learners weren't raised with mobile devices, as is the case for younger generations. As such, they may not be as tech-savvy as their Gen-Y peers. That said, many adult learners realize the importance of tech tools. For example, how mobile devices can help them solve everyday challenges and provide moment-of-need knowledge. Adult learners who are resistant to change may need some extra encouragement, such as online training tutorials and guides that show them how to access and utilize the Learning Management System. Give them all the online training resources they need to make the most of your tech tools so that they feel comfortable and reassured. In addition, research your audience to identify problem areas and create personalized walkthroughs and demos.

Adult learning comes with a unique set of obstacles. In many ways, the older we get, the harder it is to learn. We are challenged by simple things like reading small lettering or remembering facts and figures. We are less theoretical and more task-oriented in our approach to life and ongoing training. Sometimes, we even feel too "old" to engage in eLearning courses. Each of these adult learning obstacles has a workable solution. With time and patience, we can find a way around them. We just have to give ourselves a chance.

Would you like to learn more about creating eLearning courses geared toward adult learners? Download our free eBook Designing eLearning Courses For Adult Learners: The Complete Guide to learn about the characteristics of adult learners, what motivates them, the most appropriate Instructional Design models and Theories for adult learners, as well as additional facts and stats you need to know about this particular audience.