Digital learning fatigue: What is it & how do you prevent it?

Digital Learning Fatigue

The digital workplace has given rise to many new phenomena. Perhaps you have participated in a "virtual happy hour", or suffered first-hand from "zoom fatigue"? Within learning and development, one recent challenge is known as digital learning fatigue, or e-learning fatigue. So what does it really mean? And how do you prevent it in your organization?

Digital learning fatigue -

2020 brought with it significant change in how individuals and organizations share knowledge. The digital workplace combined with rapid change resulted in a growing demand for online training.

According to new research [1], there has been a big increase in both off-the-shelf and bespoke content. Both for self-paced learning and virtual classrooms. This development has come at a cost of poorer learning experience and the new L&D challenge: digital learning fatigue.

David Perring, Director of Research at the Fosway Group, says:

“We have seen a significant shift in how organizations deliver content. Many take traditional learning formats and switch them into a virtual environment, without considering the learning lifecycle. There is a heavy focus on pushing content out to people, which has created a surge around digital learning fatigue.”

Organizations need to adopt a “human-kind” approach to technology

So how do you prevent digital learning fatigue? According to Perring, organizations need to adopt a “human-kind” approach to how they use learning technology. Many tend to buy content and delivery mechanisms, but neglect the richer learning experience.

Instead of solely pushing information out to individuals, companies need to incorporate reflection, feedback, coaching and peer-to-peer activities into the learning process.

Learnster’s approach: make learning a two-way street

As developers of the LMS of tomorrow, we share Perring’s learner-first approach to knowledge sharing. At Learnster, we believe that interaction improves the learning experience. We suggest using the following methods to spark motivation among learners:

  • Quizzes. Boost interaction by inviting your learners to fun and challenging quizzes. By answering questions, you force the brain to “retrieve” stored information, which is an effective learning technique.
  • Feedback. Engage your learners and gain valuable insight at the same time. Feedback forms allow the learners to reflect and speak up, whilst you as an instructor can identify areas of improvement for future training interventions. Quick reactions (emojis) and integrated comment fields are effective feedback tools. Both are available in Learnster’s LMS and provide valuable insights into course quality and learner results.
  • Involve the entire organization. People learn better and feel empowered when teaching others what they learn [2]. This is a great reason to involve internal subject matter experts in the course creation process. In addition, you leverage valuable knowledge from within the entire organization.
  • Through Learnster’s various Admin-roles, you can invite the experts within your organization to create, update and take ownership of selected courses.
  • Virtual gatherings. Online meetings create more opportunities than simply digitalizing classroom training. Use virtual gatherings to support, motivate and check in with your colleagues. Meeting online is also a great opportunity for discussion and making new information business relevant.
  • Choose an LMS that supports online meetings and webinars. Learnster allows you to host and attend meetings directly in the platform or via the app Learnster Roundtable. The platform also supports external meeting software such as Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and Zoom.

Use digestible formats

The Fosway Report highlights the importance of content delivery. Lengthy, text-dense documents may be hard to digest. Instead, we at Learnster recommend using a combination of the following elements when building your course:

  • texts
  • images
  • videos
  • voice recordings

Not only does the combination make the information more digestible, it also makes the learning experience more dynamic and fun.

Using Learnster’s user-friendly authoring tool, you can create content through a simple drag-n-drop interface and combine the above elements.


[1] Digital Learning Report, Fosway Group (2021)

[2] The transformer CEO, Harvard Business Review,  Abbie Lundberg and George Westerman (2020)

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