The general perception about eLearning is that only online courses filled with high-level interactivities, complex activities or media-rich elements are effective. It is often percieved that only online courses with the “wow” factor, which draw“oohs” and ”aahs” for their visual appeal are considered winners. Clients are delighted with such courses and stakeholders want them too to justify their investments in the training program. While it is true that complex activities or interactivities make an eLearning course very effective, that might not hold good always. In many cases, a simple, straight-forward presentation of the content turns out to be the most effective way.
We need to strike a fine balance between using these two approaches. Selecting the appropriate way of presenting content is a delicate task. While there are no “rules” to guide you in this selection, the content itself will generally give you a head start. There are a few general guidelines that will help you in your decision making process.
1. Type of Content
The type of content is the first and most important pointer which will help you decide the way to present it.
If you have a complex topic such as the working of a mobile lift or an engine, you can use 3-D animations to show the parts present on the various sides of the equipment and explain the functionality.
For slightly lesser complex, easy-to-handle subjects such as explaining the various parts of a latop or a balance, a hotstop interactivity can be used to present the learning.
Conversely, your content might consist of huge amounts of text such as legal or complaince policies. Usually such content should not be alterted and must be presented verbatim. In such cases, adding interactivities just for the sake of having them will not add any value.
In such cases, it is beneficial to present the text with supporting images. This csn be supported by scenarios or a case-study which will reinforce learning.
2. Learners’ Experience of E-learning
Learners’ familiarity with eLearning is another factor which will guide you in selecting the presentation method.
If your leaners are a young, tech-savvy group, you can have a course with complex animations and high-level interactivities.
On the other hand, if they are an older workforce with little or no prior exposure to eLearning, a simple online course with basic interactivities will serve the purpose. The level of courses can be enhanced as their familiarity increases. Similarly, if the online course is intended for blue-collared workers, it would be better to have a simple course which will be easy to access and precise in its content presentation.
So, the next time you develop an eLearning course, take a pause, consider these issues and then start your work. These issues will help you come up with an engaging, effective online course without using activities or complex animations just to add the “wow” factor.