What is a learning zone? Learning zones can mean two things: the zone in a physical space where learning is accomplished or the emotional and mental space where people step out of their “comfort zones” in order to learn.
We will go through how to foster both types of learning zones on an online platform.
Fostering Online Learning Zones
There are two key challenges when trying to implement learning zones through an online platform like a web-based learning management system.
Physical Learning Zones
It is difficult to define a physical space for trainees to learn because it is web-based. This means that a student can learn in the office, at home, on the train, or even on a boat if they have a Wifi connection.
But do you really need a physical learning zone in this capacity, then? No and yes. No because one of the key features of eLearning is the ability to receive training anywhere, at any time, on any device. This makes information readily accessible and thus more efficient.
However, a physical learning zone can also help people focus their attention to ensure they are getting everything they need out of the training. So how can you create this physical learning zone?
- Blended learning enables a physical space, such as a classroom, to augment online trainings. This can help learners mentally segment their trainings based on location.
- Offering quiet, available areas for employees to do their trainings within the building can create a space where learning can be cultivated.
- It is possible that employees will accomplish their training on their commute or while doing something else, not really paying attention, simply because they are able to have the courses running the background. Offering paid hours or time during the work day to do these courses will give the opportunity to create a proper learning zone to sit down and interact with the training program.
Mental Learning Zones
The second challenge when working with online learning zones is trying to get people to step out of their comfort zones through a computer screen. Many people are resistant to change, especially when teaching new skills or new processes. This resistance can deepen when they feel that trainings are thrown at them via an online platform.
So how can you overcome this and create productive mental learning zones?
- Offer support. Having a virtual or in-person instructor to explain techniques and processes will allow learners to feel more comfortable and supported.
- Explain the purpose for the training. Every employee should go into a lesson with a clear understanding of what they will be learning, why they will be learning it, and how it will benefit their growth and the success of the overall company. This will put employees in the “zone” to feel as though their training is of value.
- Use differing forms of multimedia. If you vary the methods in which content is delivered, your learners will feel less like it is “training” and more like it is just information. This can help put them in a more receptive and engaging mindset in which they will want to interact with the learning program.
Creating physical and mental learning zones for students and employees can be a challenge through online platforms, but it’s certainly not impossible. Understand the barriers to training and you will be able to overcome them by helping your learners step out of their comfort zones and into their learning zones.