According to the neuroscientist, Dr. John Medina “all human beings are excellent at remembering pictures”. It means we all retain and learn more when we SEE, rather than when we HEAR or READ. Quite a simple psychology, isn’t it? No wonder when, as children, we learnt the alphabets – they all had a picture to associate each alphabet! Can we think of ways we could make eLearning courses as outstanding as the visually rich books of pre-schoolers?
Thankfully, due to the variety of authoring tools that we have to work with, we can truly make eLearning courses outstanding. Here are some of the elements that would help in the process:
GUI: The very first entity that catches learners’ attention is an attractive GUI. A template has components like modules, units, assessments and certificates, which makes it a foundation on which the course is built. A course template should be designed such that it reflects the characteristics of an organization and at the same time makes it interesting for the learner to get up the course.
For one of our clients, a leading supplier of precision instruments, we customized the GUI to suit the requirements of the client. The GUI had restrictions between slides and buttons that highlight on mouse over among other features. Here is a screenshot of the same:
Scenarios: E-learning sometimes becomes dull because we do not have any person to interact or converse. This limitation can be addressed by making it lively and appealing through scenarios.
A scenario can be created to demonstrate a classroom environment, training hall, manufacturing plant and many more depending on the context. This helps the learner to get involved with the situation discussed in the scenario and solve problems as in the real world. The other way of making the eLearning courses appealing is through storytelling. In this method, possible incidents are explained to the learner in a creative way. This type of approach will lead to longer retention of learning. Other approaches, such as the use of discussion boards and case studies, can also be used.
Here is the snapshot of a scenario which we created for one of our clients, a leading automotive components conglomerate in India:
Videos and Images: Images are the most attractive elements that we can use in an eLearning course. Additionally, we also have ‘Videos’ as a new mantra to enhance the visual appeal of an eLearning course. Images are indeed quite attractive options to make the learner remember. Usage of images like vectors, clipart, real images, etc. makes eLearning interesting. Videos can be created with moving images that combine text, images, sound and animations.They make learners experience a higher level eLearning, by enabling them to connect with the subject.
For one of our clients, we made a video for the content that explained the history of NASA. Here is the snapshot of text and image that we used to make it interesting:
Infographics: Infographics are now magical tools to make your huge content look attractive and visually appealing. We can present any form of content attractively, using an infographic with different colors, charts, notes, etc. They are now being increasingly used to provide quick learning and more prominently to recall the knowledge gained.They give ‘at-a-glance’ preview of the complete content and help in reinforcing learning.
Here is a snap shot for the usage of infographic as an appealing tool:
Interactive Games: Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I remember, Involve me and I learn”. I am sure you would agree with him, as even we must have experienced the same situation at some point. Maximum learning of a learner takes place when he is involved actively. So, involving learners in the course will make learning interesting. The use of interactivities and games is the most powerful way of making eLearning appealing.
For example, using rollovers, tabs, click on icons, flipbooks and many more exciting interactivities, enables learners to absorb the content better.
When it comes to assessments, we should always try to erase the fear factor of test and quiz from learners’ mind. We can avoid traditional single and multiple select questions and use interesting games, riddles, puzzles, etc.
Have a look at the screenshot, where we have used a game for assessments.
These are some elements, which I think, when added to eLearning courses will surely make your learning outstanding. Do you have some more to add to the list above? Please do share with us!
Subscribe to Our eLearning Design Blogs
Get CommLab's latest eLearning articles straight to your inbox. Enter your email address below:
Medical representatives face many problems while promoting their companies’ products to doctors. It’s a well-known fact that doctors are more knowledgeable about medicines than the pharmaceutical sales representatives. So, how can a representative gain as much knowledge as the doctor about the medicine? Well, e-learning is the best solution for this problem because it helps to impart highly effective training.
As instructional designers, we always aim to design courses that reach the target audience effectively. We would never want to hear our learners say that the course was boring. We put all our efforts to make the course interesting and engaging.
But, it is essential that these efforts are put in a right way. Engaging the learner doesn’t mean just including interactivities. It is much more than having a few clicks of interactivities.
In my last blog, 20 Must Know Acronyms of E-learning – Part 1, we have seen some acronyms that are used in the world of e-learning. In this blog, we will look at some more acronyms.
11. JIT (Just-in-Time): Just-in-time learning systems enable learners to access online learning resources at the point of need. Today, what will you do to find directions to a place or find out the movie that is playing in the theatre close to your home? You just go online for information. To employees, m-learning provides a similar facility to access information pertaining to their jobs at the click of a button.
Training enhances skills and abilities of employees to be aligned to changing business needs. It is well understood that assessments are vital components of e-learning courses. They are a medium to measure training outcomes. Assessments not only strengthen learning but also help evaluate the learner’s comprehension of a course.
It is well-known that assessments are a vital component of an e-learning course. Good assessments play an important role in enhancing the efficacy of the online course by helping evaluate the knowledge gained by the learner and reinforce the learning.
According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die each year from foodborne diseases. In order to adhere to food safety regulations, one of our clients came up with a requirement for an e-learning course.
E-learning and m-learning are powerful learning methods; both are dynamic and effective ways to teach people. So then, what are the differences between and e-learning and m-learning methods?
E-learning involves a series of modules with in-depth subject-matter while m-learning involves smaller chunks of information which can be accessed anywhere, anytime. Modules are designed differently, depending on the kind of format used to learn. M-learning breaks the barriers of time and place and provides easy access to courses. E-learning also enables learners to access information anytime, anywhere through a laptop, and a stable environment is needed for the learner to take training.
As a college student, I had an opportunity to read Wings of Fire, the autobiography of the former Indian president, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. The story of the “missile man” who rose to great heights from humble beginnings is truly inspiring.
The sudden demise of this eminent scientist is a great loss to the country and has saddened millions. The life of Dr. Kalam is a testimony to the fact that determination and hard work can overcome the shackles of financial and other constraints.
There were a few letters marked “Never sent. Never signed” that were discovered in Abraham Lincoln’s desk after his death. When he was upset with someone he would write a letter expressing his anger but would refrain from sending it to the intended person. This practice allowed him to vent his anger, yet not allow needless or unpleasant consequences. One of the famous unsent letters was to Gen. George G Meade, who was blamed for letting Robert E Lee escape after Gettysburg. Unfortunately, in today’s age of social media, people have “lost the art of the unsent angry letter” – an expression used in a NY times article by Maria Konnikova.