One well-known rule for an engaging e-learning course is to design it with the learner's needs in mind. In other words, a course instructor needs to know his/her audience. While almost all instructional designers agree with this, more often than not, getting to know your audience is easier said than done.
Chances are that your audience is a mingle of extroverted and introverted individuals. While extroverted people are usually more straight-forward, it is generally assumed the introverted people are harder to work with. But this is not always the case. In fact, thanks to your modern LMS, introverted learners can show their engagement more easily in an online environment.
Before we get to the benefits of e-learning for introverted people, let's set the stage on how introverts and extroverts are different.
Introverts vs. extroverts
There are lots of scientific theories about introversion and extroversion and how these affect people’s personalities. One such theory focuses on the way people get their energy. In social interactions, extroverts get energized, while introverts give their energy away. That’s why introverts need some alone time and quiet places to recharge their batteries from time to time.
According to Susan Cain, author of Quiet - The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking and TED speaker, there are one third to one half of introverted people in the world. This means that one out of two or three people is an introvert.
The problem she rises is that introverts are living within a culture that tends to reward and favor extroversion. Schools and workplaces are all about social interactions and group projects and rarely about individual flights of thought.
Offering introverted people the same chance to thrive in a learning environment, no matter if it’s traditional or online, should be a major concern for all teachers and trainers. But if you’re an instructional designer who’s using a cloud-based LMS to create and organize your training materials, you’ll be pleased to know you already have the upper hand on this.
Benefits of e-learning for introverted learners
Now that we're clear about how introverts interact, let's dive into some benefits an LMS can have for them.
The virtual classroom
Tens of employees, hundreds even, can be enrolled in the same training course. This would be a very crowded place in a brick-and-mortar room, but all the learners are not actually physically in the same place. The virtual classroom is beneficial for introverted learners because they don’t need to make contact with more co-workers than necessary.
Everything can be edited
The virtual classroom is based almost entirely on written words. From essay-like assignments to chatting and using a forum, learners need to write down everything they think. Since writing in general takes more time than speaking, introverts enjoy the fact they have time to think and can polish their answers before submitting. What’s more, the possibility to edit everything and correct all the mistakes complements their strive for perfection.
Self-paced course modules
Accessing an LMS on their own time and at their own pace means that peer pressure is almost nonexistent during the learning process. Introverts usually have an easier time learning on their own, so they always appreciate it when they can move on to the next module without having to wait for others. Also, when they struggle with something, they can spend more time on it or seek help — all without interfering with fellow learners’ schedules.
Variety of training materials
Online training courses have the advantages of blending various learning materials, from the omnipresent text, images and audio files, to more interactive content, like videos, quizzes, games, polls and so on. Being able to pick and choose the most comfortable option of learning offers introverts a contented atmosphere for class participation.
To sum up
Instructional designers need to create a thriving learning environment for all learners, no matter if they are extroverts or introverts. An online learning management system is a very useful tool for this, as it offers a better way of supporting introverts’ needs than any traditional course could.
“The Internet, with its online communities, is a place where
we can be alone together — and this is precisely
what gives it power.”
— Susan Cain
Would you have something to add to this list, as a course instructor or maybe as an introvert learner? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.