Developing a Learning Culture

Quiet and Quite Insightful: Tailoring eLearning for Introverts

Introverts can sometimes get a bad rap, especially at work. While the extroverts are showing off their talents and eagerly giving input, it’s the introverts that sometimes seem more subdued and even less invested in their jobs. But nothing could be farther from the truth: While quiet and less likely to speak up to superiors, introverts are often highly committed and willing to learn.

If you have members of your team that could be described as introverts, play to their strengths: While they may not be the most outgoing, chances are that they’re creative, independent and thoughtful. Use those to your advantage to make eLearning more effective – and more comfortable.

Independent, Not Indifferent

While it might seem like introverts don’t always play well with others, it’s probably due to an innate need for independence, rather than a lack of team spirit. Introverts often prefer to work alone, and struggle with programs that require reading along with the group. Instead, independent learning is more comfortable, which is where individual eLearning access can play a role.

When an introvert can read ahead or even complete the course material on his or her own time, you get not only a happier learner, but one who is able to better absorb information. Without the constant drain of staying with the group, introverts have an easier time learning on their own terms.

Comfortable Communication Via Social Media

Ask an introvert his opinion point-blank during an office-wide meeting and you might get a shrug or a one-word answer. Introverts need to be able to throttle communication to their own comfort level, so verbal questions, answers and teaching don’t always work well. While, as the administrator, you might feel like you’re giving the introvert a chance to speak up, he might feel like he’s being put on the spot.

That’s where social media can really come into play. While an introvert might get tongue-tied in a large meeting, he’s probably more than happy to voice his opinion from the comfort of his computer screen. Connecting via social media helps reduce the pressure for more casual interactions, which a quieter employee will appreciate.

Flipped Approach

Don’t make the mistake of using the terms “shy” and “introverted” interchangeably: They aren’t the same. In fact, introverts aren’t always shy, but rather thoughtful and independent. Instead of answering questions without thinking, they prefer time to mull over issues, concepts and techniques completely.

A flipped classroom model works especially well for both extroverts and introverts alike. While extroverts still get the chance to get involved during class time, it’s the introverts who will go home, absorb the material, and come prepared to participate on more comfortable terms. Giving introverts time to read up on a topic before class can help them feel better prepped to ask questions, understand concepts and even participate in role playing.

Introverts can be a serious asset to your team, even if they can be puzzling at times. By indulging their independent and thoughtful natures, you harness the best parts of an introvert while proving that you understand their needs.