E-learning as the name is self-explanatory means learning through electronic medium. It indicates that an individual experiences self-paced learning. As he sits down to complete the course, there are innumerable distractions that he can encounter – put off answering a phone call, an email or the urgent report that needs to be sent.
It is very easy to get distracted from learning due to more pressing engagements that he may be working on, at that point of time. So, the onus is really on the eLearning developers to ensure that when an individual starts an eLearning course, he is kept engaged and absorbed in the content; This is important to achieve the learning objectives of the course.The learner cannot afford to lose his attention till the end of the course.
According to Clark and Mayer, there are two pitfalls in online learning environments that prevent the creation of memorable learning experiences.
- The first is the failure to implement the learning process effectively, which may increase cognitive load on the learner, resulting in disengagement.
- The second mistake is that the eLearning designers fail to contextualize the learning activities. Due to this, learners may not find the content relevant to their needs and lose their attention.
So, how can you make sure that you create an interesting eLearning course that will ‘pin’ your learners to it?
Well, I would like to share some simple and useful tricks that help the learner remain engrossed throughout the course.
Use different kinds of interactivities
A learner gets diverted only when he loses his attention or when he gets bored of the same actions that get repeated in courses. To hold the learner’s attention, use various types of interactivities in your online course such as:
- Click and learn: Learner can simply click and get relevant information about any particular topic.
- Slideshows: Provide step-by-step information in a sequential order.
- Rollovers: The learner moves the mouse over a particular area of image to get more information.
- Flash cards: In Flash cards,one side has a question and other side has the answer to that question, so the learner flips and learns.
- Drag and Drop: Drag and drops are designed for assessments to test the learner’s knowledge. A learner has to drag and drop the answer at the correct location; this makes assessment more challenging.
- Drop Down: Learners are required to select the correct choice from the list of choices provided in the drop-down list.
- Hotspot: Hotspots are clickable. They provides more information when the learner clicks on a particular area of an image. Using Hotspots, you can provide more information about a particular area of a machine/equipment. Remember to make the hotspots clickable. So, when a learner clicks on a particular area of a machine the information related to that particular area appears. In this way, the learner gets interested to explore and learn more.
Using animated characters in courses helps learners to learn more engagingly. When these animated characters are made to interact with learners, it gives the impression that they are directly interacting with a person. This creates a better learning environment and learners are likely to be well connected to the course.
Use Games and Scenario
Games and scenarios are another means to engage learners in eLearning courses. The games can be designed in such a way that they achieve learning objectives that have been the outline for the course. For example, if a learner is studying about a machine, the activity can be focused on identifying a particular area of the machine and its features or function. Various options can be provided on the screen, and the learner can be urged to click on the correct option. On clicking the correct option, specified on the screen, learner wins the game.
Create Collaborative Learning Environment
We gain more knowledge, when we discuss with our peers. Same is true when we share our experiences. Therefore, it is important to provide a similar opportunity even in a technology based learning platform. Features such as chat functionalities, discussion rooms, and social media buttons can be added to the LMS interface for each course. It enables learners to participate actively and connect with peers and share his experiences.
Reward learner’s achievements
Learners can also be motivated through rewards such as ranks, badges, virtual gifts or points. As long as the given reward is meaningful, and it is deemed to be of some purpose to the learners, they will invest their time to pursue and complete the course.
Online courses that are engaging help in making organizational training initiatives a success. They not only enable employees to acquire knowledge and skills, but also add value to your organization through improved performance and business results. Do share what you think of the ideas shared in this blog.