Learning and the mode of consumption and accessing information is undergoing a paradigm shift. The learners are no more the passive entity in the process, owing to the ability to pull information from the corners of the web. Hence, qualifying eLearning as a push technique or a pull technique is debatable, and as far as the learner is concerned, completely conditional.

Why Qualify eLearning as a Pull Technique?

The ability of the learner to “pull” content and information from the repository available is what makes eLearning a pull technique. eLearning provides the learner autonomy in terms of convenience and accessibility of the learning content. This allows the learner to access information and learn without an external agent acting upon him/her. The decision to learn, lying with the learner, is a major factor qualifying eLearning as a pull technique.

Why Qualify eLearning as a Push Technique?

For push learning, there is a need for an external agent to be acting upon the individual as a cause for learning. Consider an example where students in school need to complete a project. They access information online through the available eLearning channels. This action is conducted owing to the external agent, i.e. the project which needs completion. Hence, a push is generated to access the eLearning content which qualifies eLearning as a push technique.

How can eLearning be a Pull Technique?

The main motive behind eLearning is to let learners access information at their own discretion. Yet, it doesn’t help if the learners require external motivation to access the information. The answer lies in the content. If the content is interactive and simple to understand, the learner will be attracted towards the course. This will result in a push being generated and the motive of eLearning accomplished.

eLearning as a “Pull” Technique

The above case supports the point of eLearning being a pull technique of learning. When designing an eLearning course, special attention needs to be provided to the content. If the course is dry with only text-based content, the learner attention will fade at a rapid pace. Here, the learner will have access to the information owing to an external factor. This will result in the eLearning course being deemed as a ‘push’ technique. On the flipside, if the content is engaging, the learner will want to keep proceeding ahead. The learner will be pulled towards the content, which is the motive behind the eLearning course.

The importance of content does not lie only in the information, but also in the delivery method. Adopting audio-visuals in the mix is helpful to gain learner attention. This helps boost learner interest in the course due to interactive nature of the content. The learner when able to connect with the content, is voluntarily attracted towards the course and proceeds further. This results in a pull action being generated.

This concept is applicable in case of our earlier example.  The students who wish to complete their class project are accessing information online through the eLearning course. In case the course was only text based information provided in a digital format, the students’ interest will fade. The result, class projects with low levels of imagination and creativity in it. Conversely, the eLearning course for students makes use of presentations, videos, and images to depict the concept. The students can then reproduce the concept in the project with increased effectiveness. This would result in livelier projects and better understanding of the concept.

The example proves the importance of content in making an eLearning course a ‘pull’ technique. Making an eLearning course a pull or push technique, lies in the hands of the designer. Opting for multimedia resources can result in a ‘pull’ generating eLearning course. Lack of it could result in an eLearning course which might requires a push. Your content should abide by the two golden rules of an eLearning course:

  1. Fulfil the need of the learner
  2. Can be found by the learner with ease.

Switch your focus towards a learner centric course design and your courses will pull in the learners you are targeting towards. Keep it simple, lively and unique; the rest will follow.