Motivate The Mature Employee To Embrace eLearning

Posted by 24x7learning on May 16th, 2014

Organizations face training challenges every day; and one of the most exigent demands is the ability to motivate its working staff to take up the mandatory online training courses seriously, and ‘learn’. This comes as a surprise to many of us because one would think that it would be easier to get an adult to learn, rather than a child or a teenager. In fact, most L&D professionals who have shifted their organization’s training from the classroom to online learning wonder at this ‘stubborn’and defiant attitude of adults in the workplace (employees), to not learn, forgetting that we fail to take one important factor into consideration – age.

There is no denying the benefits of technology enabled learning or eLearning. According to the annual Towards Maturity benchmark study carried out across over 500 organizations, including eLearning has helped business’ reduce staff churn by 9%, speed up new product roll-out by 24% and reduce learning delivery time by 22%.
With this exponentially large advantage of eLearning that cannot be ignored, how can an organization motivate its employees to embrace and love eLearning, and thereby derive maximum benefit from it?

The first step, perhaps, is for L&D to recognize that employees are not just adult learners, but mature learners as well; and teaching a 45-year-old employee is far different from teaching a 22-year-old employee. The ages of employees vary from 22 to 55; and with such a great difference in the age of employees, there are bound to be differences in opinion regarding learning of any kind.While one does not need to force a 22-year-old to embrace eLearning (given that he has literally grown up with the same technology), it’s impossible to take for granted that the mature, 45-year-old learner will take to technology enabled learning, graciously.

Here are 5 of the main characteristics of the adult, mature learner that organizations must keep in mind while training employees.

The adult, mature learner:

• Most probably thinks that he is beyond the age of learning
• Will view technology enabled learning as a very complicated system
• Will learn only if the matter is relevant to him
• Will seek education that relates or applies directly to his perceived needs
• Is often skeptical about new methods of learning and would prefer to stick to the old

Keeping in mind that employees are ‘adult learners’ whose ages may range from 25 to 55, and who probably think that they are well past the learning age, the following steps can be used to entice employees to use and gain maximum benefit from online courses.

Individual Training Styles: Each individual’s learning style is as unique as himself; this is true for both young learners as well as mature learners. For the adult learner who is way past his prime, learning in front of younger employees may be embarrassing. Give him the opportunity to learn in privacy – when he wants to and where he wants to and providing Game Based Elearning techniques to keep them more engaged.

An Online eLearning platform company that caters to individual learning styles and provides accessibility to all employees- anywhere and everywhere needs to be provided to them.This will go a long way in getting your employees motivated to learn.With companies promoting the BYOD policy, it is important to make learning available on all devices – mobiles, tablets, laptops, notebooks, desktops, etc. Given the varying sizes and types of devices in the market, content needs to be kept short, crisp and relevant, and should be available both online as well as offline.

Unique Training Needs: Your employees have unique training needs that are aligned to their job profile. Make sure that your learning management system caters to placing employees on a forward-looking development plan. This shows your employees that the company has a vision for their future in the organization – no matter how old they are. Ensure that an employee is automatically enrolled in an appropriate training and development program based on ongoing performance and career aspirations.

Relevant and Engaging Training: Add real value back to the business by providing employees with access to more tools to innovate and inspire learning. Provide the latest insights into effective practices. This will keep the content relevant and therefore engaging as well – thus motivating them to learn.

Regular Feedback: Through the learning management system implementation, it allows regular feedback to employees to be aware of how much they have learned and what more they need to learn in order to perform to the best of their ability, by using the skills learned, and thereby achieve their career goals.

Face-to-Face Interaction: Using eLearning alone will leave your employees feeling detached.A combination of eLearning with face-to-face interaction (blended learning) is a boon to both managers and employees: The blended learning approach promotes a reduction in travel costs; a reduction in facility costs, and a reduction on training costs, while at the same time increasing availability, reusability and learning effectiveness for employees, thus keeping them motivated.

Rewards & Incentives: When courses are made mandatory, they can rob the fun out of learning and demotivate employees. For a more positive motivational slant, use award and recognition programs to motivate employees to complete courses. Rewards can be monetary and non-monetary. Non-monetary rewards can include a free lunch at the cafeteria, flexible working hours, recognition by seniors, and even a change to an office location of their choice.

With these steps in place, and with employees motivated and ready to take on mandatory training to the next level, a significant increase in performance, a positive change in behavior toward online learning,and an increase in productivity can be expected.

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Joined: April 4th, 2014
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