If you have taken a decision to include asynchronous e-learning courses in your training programs, it is because you have analyzed the needs of the learners in your organization. Learners can be geographically-dispersed or they can be too busy to attend classroom training programs because of professional commitments. Asynchronous learning has proven to be a viable solution in such cases, since it is learner-centric; however, the success of the training program largely depends on the motivation levels of learners. Get learners to immerse themselves in the e-learning experience by making use of the following tips.
1. Start with an Intuitive Design
In an asynchronous e-learning course, the first element the learner interacts with is the graphical user interface (GUI) of the course. Ensure that your e-learning course has a simple design that’s intuitive. This means learners should not need a detailed explanation for course navigation. Also, the design of the GUI should not overpower the content. Research has proven that the design and the visual elements used in the e-learning course can enhance learner engagement and performance.
2. Make a Real-World Connection
The main challenge in asynchronous e-learning courses is to make learners actively participate in the training. In the absence of a facilitator, it is difficult to create a connection with the learners as they may feel they are learning in isolation. This is why it is important to include real-life scenarios, stories, and anecdotes in the training content. This helps learners build a real-world connection with the training program.
Let learners know ‘what’s in it for them’, even before they hit the Start button on the e-learning course. Learners are motivated to complete training programs when they know how they can apply the knowledge gained through the training program in their real lives.
3. Understand Variety is the Key
Asynchronous e-learning is self-paced and there is a chance that learners will get bored of the training if it is not engaging enough. Including a variety of different learning activities that cater to individual learning styles can boost learners’ interest toward the online training program. An asynchronous e-learning program can make use of videos, audio clips, interactive branching scenarios, simulations, and gamification to present learners with a variety of learning activities. You can also customize the training program to meet the needs of your learners.
4. Lend a Helping Hand
While it’s nice that asynchronous e-learning does not require the training to be led by an instructor, including some support never hurts. For example, if learners have a problem understanding a concept or would like to know more about a particular topic in the training program, whom can they approach? It’s always better to include a virtual helping hand in the form of links to additional resources, an email, contact form, or a discussion forum. By doing so, learners can get answers to their queries, even in the absence of a live instructor.
5. Believe that Bite-Size is the Right Size
Learners today have shrinking attention spans. In an age where learners are distracted by their smartphones even in a classroom training environment, imagine the scenario in an asynchronous e-learning program. Since, there is no instructor to create an immersive learning environment, the chance of the learner zoning out during the training program is higher.
Instead of making learners go through a lengthy asynchronous e-learning program, break the course down into smaller modules. This makes it easier for learners to complete the training. When you learn in chunks, rather than all at once, it is easier to retain the knowledge gained.
6. Assess the Value of Learning
An asynchronous e-learning experience is complete only when you include a useful assessment strategy. Include summative or formative assessments in the form of tests and quizzes to gauge learners’ knowledge on the training content. An assessment gives learners a chance to check their understanding and provides a way for training managers to check if the learning objectives have been met. Assessments and recaps included in the e-learning course can determine if your online training strategy is truly effective.
7. Balance Fun and Learning
It is true that including the fun element in an asynchronous e-learning course improves learner engagement. But the fun element should not overshadow the real purpose of the course, which is learning. While immersive stories and entertaining games are fun, these should always be tied to the goals and objectives of the online training program.
Keep these tips in mind when you are developing an asynchronous e-learning program and you can be sure that your learners are going to love the asynchronous learning experience. Have you included asynchronous e-learning courses in your training programs? If yes, how has it benefited your learners? Please share your thoughts through the Comments section.