We live in a world that is overloaded with information, completely under work pressure and continually short of time. This means that the three factors: time, lack of energy and attention, have become potential barriers to engage your audience. So, if your learners are quickly moving through slides by simply clicking next, it’s a cue that the training courses are failing to elicit responses from them.
An effective e-Learning course should have the ability to involve learners’ right from the first screen.
So, in this post I’ll quickly run through some of the best practices every e-Learning professional should consider when developing or improving their courses.
It is critically important to include all the essential components of an e-Learning course.
They are listed as follows:
1. Attention Gaining Introduction: Get the learner to “pull” information. This is an important aspect of a successful e-Learning course. The introduction slide does the work of eliciting a higher desire to know more about a topic. It should be capable of sustaining active engagement and developing curiosity among learners. Introduction slide answers the question “What’s in it for me?” Gagne’s nine conditions of learning is the main theoretical framework and forms the basis for designing instruction and selecting appropriate media.
2. Comprehensive Yet Relevant Content: Flexible and easily digestible modules are another key to engagement. Whether your learner is watching a 10 minutes video or listening to 30 minutes e-Learning course, the best balance is to incorporate the information in such a way that will make the sessions more productive for the learner. Try to encourage your learners to remember something they have learned or come across in the past, about the subject. Present your content in small chunks of information, so that learners can easily understand and digest it.
3. Attractive Visuals: Many a times we may have made the mistake of not giving due emphasis on visual design. It is true, that an effective design of an e-Learning course is more related to visual communication. It is also true, that first impressions definitely matter as people make snap judgments. Research in general states, that it takes only a 1/10th of a second to form the first impression about a course. So, visual design is a powerful device to set the tone. According to Ruth Colvin Clark’s article, using images and graphics in courses can increase learning by up to 89%. The key is pairing the right type of image with the content of the course.
4. Well Balanced Interactivity: Many of you probably have heard the KISS principle or “keep it simple, stupid”. Your e-Learning course should also follow the same principle. The interactivity usage should be well justified and should urge learners to involve with the content by doing things. Fun and interactive tools such as case studies, scenarios, videos, games, and simulations generate a more engaging learning experience. From the theoretical perspective, adults always want a different quality of experience in their learning. With these engaging tools, it becomes easier to remain connected to the content.
5. Clear Navigation: Clear and simple navigation enables learners to explore the course, without much difficulty. A cluttered screen in an e-Learning course might lead to distraction or confusion for the learner. Instead, e-Learning courses should be designed such that it helps the learner to focus on the important aspects of the course. According to adult learning principles, adults feel a deep need to be self-directing. The navigation pane allows the learner to learn with ease.
6. Compelling Call to Actions: Create a sense of urgency in completing a course or an assessment. A good e-Learning course should highlight the value of the material and give learners a compelling incentive, benefit or solution to look forward to. Adults wish for both an extrinsic and intrinsic motivation to learn. If any of these can be related as part of technology-based instruction, adults will respond more positively.
Hope the following tips will help you and other e-learning professionals to develop courses that are more attention gaining and interesting for learners.