In my previous blog, I mentioned 5 reasons which are responsible for the high dropout rate seen in online courses. In this blog, I would like to share some definitive steps that organizations can take to ensure that their eLearning courses have high registrations and low dropout rates.
Have Professional eLearning Developers Design the Content:
In face to face classroom training sessions, learners can interact with SMEs or trainers in person and get spontaneous answers to their queries. However, online training is largely self-directed and there is no handy help available to learners when faced with doubts or queries. The absence of an instructor needs to be compensated by well-designed eLearning modules that take into consideration the learning behavior and preferences of an online user. The design elements, content, audio and video elements have to be planned and presented based on a well-thought out learning strategy in accordance with learning design principles.
Break up Courses into Small Chunks that can be Independently Accessed:
One of the deterring factors why people avoid taking online courses is that they are unable to devote a big chunk of time due to prior work commitments. Therefore, if courses are broken into short independent modules of say 10-15 minutes duration, it becomes easier for learners to make good progress on the course. It is a lot easier for any busy executive to devote 15 minutes a day on four days than one full hour on the same day.
Make Courses Multi-Device and Multi-Location Compatible:
The whole purpose of an online course is to ensure that the employee is not restricted to a time and location. So, ensure that this freedom is available to employees such that they can login to the courses not just at their work place but perhaps from another location, such as from home or from mobile or portable devices. Another factor that needs to be taken into account is the bandwidth that is available to users. If users do not have access to high bandwidth it is important to ensure that courses do not have unnecessary graphics and rich media interface that may not work in low bandwidth areas.
Get a Senior Executive to Introduce the eLearning Initiative:
It is important that employees get the big picture – understand WHAT the initiative is all about. That, however, is not enough; you also need to share WHY the initiative has been introduced and HOW it is going to benefit the employees individually, and the organization in general. An orientation program for all employees on the above mentioned aspects, ideally by a senior executive of the organization, is extremely important to gain employee support for the program.
Engage a Coordinator or Facilitator for Each Course:
One of the benefits of classroom training is having the person right in front of you to address any queries or issues. Absence of personalized interaction is the main drawback in an online course. However, this can be compensated by having a dedicated coordinator or facilitator who will be the one-stop contact point for learners. So, if they have a question for the instructor or SME, this coordinator will be responsible to forward it to the right person and make sure the query receives a response. If another user requires additional learning resources, the coordinator could help. This person will also address the login issues and other technical matters by coordinating with the technicians. The learners do not have to deal with multiple contact points but a single point for all their needs.
How do you ensure your eLearning initiatives do not fail? Do you have any suggestions to ensure that your employees complete the online courses assigned to them without dropping out mid-way? If so, please share them with us.