Some instructional designers tend to focus on content chunking, some on designing interactivities, and others on making assessments for an e-learning course. But they usually forget to give importance to creating effective introductions, which leads to lack of interest, thereby triggering them to drop out from the e-learning course.
So why are introductions important? First impressions are lasting and your employees judge your course within the first 60 seconds. That means no matter how well you present the content or make assessments, if the introductions are not gripping, then the drop-out rates will keep on increasing.
So how should your introductions be? Adult learners need to be given a valid reason or personalized goals, if you wish them to explore an e-learning course. Your introduction should make a connection with the employees, introduce them to the course, and share how it will make a difference or help them in their job-role. But remember, a few bullet points addressing all these will not attract your learners. You must be a little more creative to get it right. Seems challenging?
Let’s see a few strategies that can help you.
1. Start with a Story:
Our brains become more active when we hear stories. Isn’t it. Storytelling in e-learning is a powerful technique, as it builds a quick emotional connection and engages learners instantly. So if you can introduce the course or its importance in the form of a story, your learners will get more connected and motivated to learn.
To be more effective, ensure that the story is relevant to the content and tied to the message that you are conveying. Think of including characters and dialogues that learners will find realistic, relatable, and interesting. Also, just focus on the main message and keep it short.
Thinking of incorporating stories in your e-learning course? Here is an infographic that shares some valuable tips
2. Introduce an Avatar:
Research suggests that people think harder and better to understand concepts when they feel like somebody is addressing or guiding them. So an avatar is a great tool for grabbing learners’ attention and holding their interest. These digital characters develop a friendly atmosphere. It is also said that learners respond quickly and better to motivational statements, when they are delivered by experts or trusted characters.
You can introduce the avatar at the beginning of an e-learning course to inform learners about the skills or concepts that they would get to learn through the course. Do some pre-work to decide the avatar and ensure that it is familiar to learners. It can be a real or vector image. If you want to spice it up a little bit, you can even change the character expressions or animate them.
These are the four different avatars that we have used in our e-learning course. For example, we have used the ant as an avatar for an e-learning course on supply chain management (SCM). It’s a fact that supply chain managers are seeking to create what the ants do naturally. So we thought that the ant would be an ideal avatar to teach the supply chain subject.
3. Ask Some Questions:
An efficient way to get learners onboard is to ask them a few thought-provoking questions prior to taking up the course. Asking questions at the beginning of the course can elicit interest, make learners think, and motivate them to make a connection with the course.
To be more effective, create an environment that stimulates their curiosity with thought-provoking questions. Also ensure that the questions are personalized and context-driven, thereby encouraging critical thinking. You can think of some real-world obstacles or questions that the learners are likely to face and offer the learning motive.
4. Show the Knowledge Gap:
Learners need to be given a valid reason to get them motivated to explore the course. One way to achieve this is to use a pre-quiz to show where the learners stand now and where they will be after taking the course. This can be designed like a teaser as a “Do You Know?” or “Can You Recall?” assessments. This pre-quiz stimulates a learner’s prior knowledge and creates interest.
Recognize the information that is crucial to make the question. Be careful that the learners do not feel that they are being judged or marked. Also give them comprehensive feedback as to why they are right or wrong and tell them what the course has for them.
5. Begin with a Video:
Videos provide a great level of interaction; so including it right at the beginning of the course can be a good idea. Videos cut down the reading load and break the monotony. They can be used effectively to invite learners to think and analyze the course they are about to take.
Coming to the tips, you don’t need to make them lengthy; emphasize on the main points and the key takeaways. Also be more creative to add fun and make the course more exciting while maintaining the professional standards of the video.
6. Use an Image:
Adding images to a course is also a powerful way of engaging and hooking the learner. Colorful images can capture learners’ imagination and hook them to the information presented next. Images also create the need to take on a course and set the stage for it.
But then the image needs to be selected very carefully, as only the right image will be able to accomplish the goal. Use abstract images that explain the concept or what you are talking about. You can also use multiple images or collage to present the objectives. Also don’t forget to use high-quality images.
7. Start with a Game:
Gamification drives maximum user engagement and creates self-motivation. This is because they start comparing with their colleagues or other users, thereby getting them motivated to complete the course and gain satisfaction when they compare their performance with that of others.
Providing feedback is a critical part of gaming. Let the learners know what actions are expected of them and what will the course provide as they progress level by level. You can use this theme throughout the course. Also ensure that the environment is relevant to the content and realistic as relevancy is always the key.
Great beginnings are the ones that offer personalized goals to the learners. Adding some spice or flash while expressing the value of your course will really make a difference. What do you say? Do you have any more ideas to effectively draft introductions for an e-learning course?