As most of the business world has moved away from the office during this pandemic, the employee development has translated into online training programs in order to keep up with the professional developments and to encourage reskilling and upskilling in a world demanding this more than ever.
And as every change comes with a series of challenges, here’s one: digital fatigue. According to medical definitions, this type of visual fatigue is the physical discomfort that is experienced after prolonged exposure to a digital screen such as a laptop, computer, mobile phone, e-reader or tablet (source). But in reality, it is more than a visual fatigue, it is rather a sense of excessive stress or anxiety that employees feel while being exposed to numerous online calls, meetings and training programs.
Also, according to research, this adds up to other challenges that employees have to overcome when it comes to online training programs, such as interruptions, background distractions from other participants, staying focused, Internet speed or connectivity, meeting setup, etc. Also, most people feel that they can multitask during online meetings, and they tend to fulfil other tasks while attending online courses, such as responding to emails, surfing through open tabs or even paying attention to what happens around them in their own homes. Thus, what do we do with all of these distractions? How do we overcome this digital fatigue?
As you already know, we are social beings and we need interaction and connectivity, especially in a period where we are looking for ways to overcome the feeling of isolation that appears while working remotely. Thus, while organising online training programs, you should keep this in mind and come up with contexts that bring people together in learning, even if they are behind their desktops. Knolyx, for example, provides you with the communities of practice tool, where you can bring people together to talk about different topics, to have some hands-on experience with the theoretical information while putting it into practice along with their coworkers.
The attention span has decreased a lot lately and people cannot focus on a topic for a long time, especially when they are so easily distracted as it might happen while working remotely. Thus, during the online training proggrams, the information should be divided into pieces that can be easily grasped such as short videos and other short-term learning activities. Also, this results in an increase in the retention rates, as the shorter a piece of information, the easier it is to focus on it.
Learning is hard enough in front of the computer anyways, but if it involves passive learning, then it’s almost impossible to deliver knowledge that sticks with the learner. That’s why you should make sure that you deliver active learning, which involves higher rates of engagement, delivered by means of interactive elements such as quizzes, branching scenarios, work through applications and even simple elements like drag-and-drop, typing in words or just clicking on pop-ups. Also, you can just be creative, as there are many formats in which the learner can actually interact with the content, delivering active, dynamic learning programs.
Online training programs do not have to be static, on the contrary, technology comes with many ways to add value, especially if you can keep up with its evolution.
Some (final) thoughts
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