As an Instructional Designer, it is very essential that your e-learning course is absolutely perfect. As humans, we tend to overlook many areas while designing an e-learning course. While taking an online course if learners spot a mistake, then they lose interest and will ultimately drop out of the course.
In this blog, I’ll share five reasons why your online course gets killed.
1. Unclear instructions
Instructions are the road map of your course. An error in instruction can confuse your learners. They may feel frustrated and so skip the slide. It is always better to direct the learner properly with instructions for interactivities, quizzes or assessments. For example, the correct way of giving an instruction in this regard is ‘Click each arrow to learn more,’ ‘Drag and drop the correct options in the spaces provided and click Submit,’ and so on.
2. Too much text onscreen
If an e-learning course consists of too much text on screen, it immediately puts off your learners and also leads to much confusion among the learners. It’s advisable not to dump too much content on the screen by including lengthy paragraphs. Every course should have its content well-structured and organized, so that your learner can remember the key points. It is better to chunk the content in a logical way if you feel that the text is dominating the screen because this will help the learners stay focused and recall information quickly without wasting time. Another effective way is to use images and this helps the learner to understand the content easily.
Here is an example from one of our courses. The clients’ requirement was not to chunk content, but to represent the text-heavy content on a single slide. The content was broken into smaller parts and presented using a slideshow.
3. Too many learning points in one screen
An instructional designer generally tends to keep an eye on the number of screens while preparing an outline and sometimes this leads to “merging” two or more heavy learning points in a screen, which creates cognitive load. A ‘learning point’ or ‘learning unit’ is a chunk of content that can’t be broken any further. Each screen should have one ‘learning point’ and if it’s too small, you may merge 3-5 learning points. But, make sure that a screen does not contain more than 5 points at a time.
For example, if you teach 3 learning points – what is Panic Disorder, symptoms of Panic Disorder, and the causes of Panic Disorder in one screen – it will create load on the learner. I suggest we represent these three topics in three independent screens, so that the learner has ample time to go through each screen and finds it easy to understand each topic and then move to the next topic.
4. Not being conversational
In an e-learning course, it’s important to make it engaging by making the script conversational. A good narration sounds as if a person is talking to another and this helps the learner get connected with the course at an emotional level. The narration should be informational as well as motivational because the audio enhances the interest levels of the learners and in order to motivate the learner with narration; we can use certain phrases such as “Wow,” “Oh! No,” “Really,” “Sorry,” “That’s Great,” and so on.
For example, let’s compare two different sets of tones:
Option 1: This course ‘Supply Chain Management’ explains the basic concepts of supply chain management.
Option 2: Hi…I’m Alex, the Supply Chain Ant, your guide for this course. As some of you may be aware, as a part of an ant colony, I am an expert in all aspects of Supply Chain Management – materials planning, manufacturing, sourcing, material handling, delivery, and quality management. I will take you through the basic concepts of supply chain management. Let’s get started!
Which one do you find is more friendly and in a conversational tone? I’m sure option 2 is more friendly and conversational and is more likely to keep the learners interested.
5. Assessments not aligned with learning objectives
Many instructional designers, after analyzing the content start developing the storyboard, keeping the learning objectives in mind and starts presenting the content. At the end, they start framing the assessments and this leads to misalignment because there is a lot of gap between the time they wrote the learning objectives and prepared the assessments. This can be avoided by framing the assessments right after you have framed the learning objectives of the course.
For example, in the below screenshot, learning objective says, “You will be able to handle and dispose the data based on their type”; we have used drag and drop asking them to drag and drop the documents to their respective trays based on how you should handle them.
If every e-learning professional keeps these 5 reasons in mind before developing e-learning courses, then the training material will be of great use in achieving the most encouraging result. What do you think?
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