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8 Must Have Elements in an E-learning Course

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8 Must Have Elements in an E-learning Course

As instructional designers, our ultimate goal is to make learner-centric eLearning courses. E-learning has now become a global phenomenon and designing an eLearning course that engages the adult learner is a challenge for us. In eLearning courses, there are certain things you shouldn’t miss which may force your learners to drop out.

In this blog, I would like to share 8 things you shouldn’t miss in your eLearning course.

1. Course Description

The course should start with a course description slide. It gives a brief idea about the course and its target audience. It also specifies the duration of the course. The first page of your course should motivate the learner to take up the course and learn something. So, it is very important to write good eLearning course descriptions. If this is missing, then your learner may not be clear with what the course is all about and why he should take up the course.

Course Description

2. Learning objectives 

You shouldn’t miss learning objectives in your course because they are used to specify the intended outcome of the course. In other words, they specify what you want your learner to learn. If this is missing, then your learner may not have an idea of what is being taught, what are the key learning points, and what is expected of them after taking the course.

Learning objectives

3. Intuitive GUI 

The Graphical User Interface (GUI) enables learners to navigate intuitively through the course. It tells them where they are in the course, how many slides they have completed, how many more they need to complete and so on. If this is missing, then your learners may not be able to navigate through the course in a hassle-free manner. They may not be clear where they are in the course and will not be able to learn what they want, when they want.

Intuitive GUI

4. Images

It is well said that “A picture is worth a thousand words” and this quotation applies very well in the context of eLearning too. One can make use of images that are self-explanatory – images that represent content in a simple way. Images not only enrich the look and feel of the course; they also help the learner retain information for a long time. If there are no images on the screen, the course becomes lifeless, and this may reduce the learner’s interest.

Images

5. Interactivities

Interactivity does not mean just clicking on buttons; it should help learners actively participate in the course and enable them to learn at a faster pace. One can convert dull and boring online learning content into an engaging and interesting material, by making use of interactivities. You can choose the right interactivities based on the content. If these are missing, you may fail to engage your learners, attract their attention, and motivate them to take up the course.

Interactivities

6. Assessments

In an eLearning course, you need to frame questions that are challenging enough and enable you to measure the comprehension of your learners effectively. There are two types of assessments – formative (which help build the learners’ knowledge) and summative (which help assess learning at the end of the course).

It’s important to design assessments basedon the answers to the following questions.

  • What are the learning objectives?
  • How is the content being approached?
  • How are the learning activities woven into the design process?

If assessments are missing, the learner may not be able to knowthe level of knowledge he has gained from the course and the trainer cannot evaluate whether the learning objectives of the eLearning course have been met or not.

Assessments

7. Feedback

In an eLearning course, it’s important to provide instant and explanatory feedback. For example, when the learner gets a question right, you need to tell him that he is right and why he is right. You need to provide a brief explanation as to why his answer is correct. This goes a long way in reinforcing the key concepts of the topic, on which he is tested. Similarly, when the learner answers a question incorrectly, you need to tell him why his answer is incorrect. If the learner is partially right, it’s better to tell himthat he is partially correct rather than telling that he is wrong. If the feedback is not explanatory in nature, learners may not know why the selected option is correct or wrong and get a clear understanding of the concepts.

Feedback

Feedback

Feedback

Feedback

8. Summary

In the summary of an online course, it’s important to recap the course by listing the main points. It helps the learner memorize the important points. If this is missing, your learner may not get the gist of the course.

Summary

I am sure there are many more things that you shouldn’t miss in an eLearning course. Please add on to the list.

View eBook on Instructional Design101: A Handy Reference Guide to E-learning Designers

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