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Tips for creating a stress-free eLearning environment

In order to learn in the best way possible, creating an environment that allows for focus and concentration is essential. Find out more with the experts at Go1.
Mike Jeavons, Content Writer

By enabling students to take control of their own learning experience, eLearning can already be a less stressful way for employees to upskill and improve their knowledge. But, eLearning doesn’t necessarily remove all the general stresses that can come with the learning process.

However, your business and your employees can take steps to create a stress-free learning environment.

Why is a stress-free environment important for learning?

Employees may already feel a certain level of pressure from their day-to-day responsibilities. When that pressure is then added upon with training, particularly if it’s a lengthy or mandatory course, it can lead to burnout, stress, and anxiety.

With that unnecessary stress, it can hinder how an employee retains information. A 2008 study found that “exposure to a social stressor impaired working memory performance”. That means that students may potentially experience the stress associated with learning without even the benefit of learning a new skill or knowledge.

If employees feel stressed and don’t retain what they learn, then they’re not going to progress throughout your business and it may impact employee retention.

Similarly, the ROI of your learning and development strategy will be negatively affected because employees won’t be able to put new skills into practice.

For more information, check out our blog post on learning how to manage stress.

What can you change about your workspace?

The first step toward creating a stress-free eLearning environment is to provide employees with the ideal learning environment. While your business can’t control the environment of employees who learn remotely, you can make changes to shared spaces to limit stress-related triggers. Remote learners can also make these adjustments themselves, too.

Below are six ways to adapt workspaces and lessen stress.

1. Give employees space to learn

A change of scenery can help employees get into the right headspace for learning. While they work at their desk, stepping away to a secondary workspace can help improve engagement.

2. Remove clutter

Working can be challenging enough without having to fight around cluttered desks. A messy workspace isn’t only difficult to work in when it comes to organization and making notes, but doesn’t put students in the right headspace to begin with. Ensure there are tidy workspaces free from unnecessary clutter, such as poor cable management.

3. Add plants and pictures to workspaces

Adding color and personality to workspaces offers a far better learning environment than one that appears sterile and lacking personality. A 2014 University of Exeter study found that productivity increases by 15% when there are plants in the office. Similarly, having photographs and artwork can boost productivity and creativity.

4. Add in soft background music

Music goes a long way in creating a good learning environment. Nothing too heavy or with distracting lyrics, but soft, instrumental music can be relaxing. A study by Stanford University found that “music moves [the] brain to pay attention”, so why not put together a learning playlist?

5. Make sure employees aren’t disturbed

Constant interruptions are a guaranteed way to disrupt the learning process. Make sure employees are given space for personal development and reiterate how this time is critical and should be respected.

6. Ensure managers help reduce stress

It’s important that managers help reduce stress within your business by managing time well and ensuring teams are organized.

How can employees prepare themselves for learning?

As well as creating the best environment for learning, there’s plenty employees can do to give themselves a stress-free learning experience.

1. Get comfortable

If employees aren’t comfortable then they’re not going to be able to concentrate. They should ensure they have a comfortable chair, the correct lighting, and the option to raise their feet, such as by using a footstool. At home, sitting on the sofa is fine, but students should try and learn while sitting at a desk as this will improve posture.

2. Remove distractions

Distractions can have a huge negative impact on eLearning, so these should be limited where possible. For example, learning shouldn’t be attempted while watching television, and students should try to find space away from other colleagues. Instant messaging platforms should be muted, and social media use should be limited, or preferably not used at all.

3. Set a learning schedule

One of the major advantages of eLearning is it can be done at any time, any place. So, setting a learning schedule will allow students to ensure their learning never stagnates - even just ten minutes a day will go a long way to developing new skills and knowledge.

4. Take regular breaks

Taking regular breaks for students to recharge, stretch their legs and grab a drink is imperative. The UK government website advises that everyone should take a 5-10 minute break after every hour of screen time. This can help with fatigue, eye strain, and posture.

5. Set your expectations

While students will want to progress quickly, they should set realistic goals and expectations. Learning is a marathon, not a sprint, and demanding too much can lead to stress if overly-ambitious targets aren’t met.

6. Don’t overload your day

Where possible, students should avoid learning on top of a full day of doing day-to-day responsibilities. Because eLearning is flexible and self-directed, it can be picked up during periods of downtime or scheduled development sessions. Learning should be a positive experience, not one that means the working day has to continue longer than it should.

7. Allow time for complications

Sometimes things don’t always go to plan. Students should prepare for obstacles, either from a schedule point of view or other unexpected issues.

8. Be prepared to ask for help

Asking for help and asking questions should always be encouraged. Doing so reduces stress and helps students to retain information.

From a business’ perspective, if you use an LMS you can monitor how employees are engaging with eLearning and offer additional support where needed.

What else can help employees learn more effectively? 

As well as creating the best environment for learning, there are additional ways employees can learn more effectively. These include:

  • Allow employees to control their own learning and development journey so they can learn something they’re passionate about
  • Ensure they don’t try to learn when tired. Getting a good night’s sleep prior to learning will help with concentration and retention
  • Healthy drinks and snacks are a great accompaniment to learning, whereas foods high in sugar, such as soda or chocolate, should be limited
  • Encourage blended learning by having students come together following the completion of eLearning courses to discuss what they’ve learned
  • Incentivize learning and introduce gamification to make learning more rewarding

Where can you learn more about eLearning?

One of the keys to stress-free learning is letting students choose their own paths. Go1 has a wide range of online courses available to access right now so employees can get excited about their growth within your business.

For more information about how Go1 can help your organization, book a demo with a member of our team today.

Go1 helps millions of people in thousands of organizations engage in learning that is relevant, effective and inspiring.
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