eLearning as a training option is more interactive and learner-centric today – more like a virtual guide or mentor acting as a facilitator in the learning process. The focus is not just on knowledge sharing but more on knowledge assimilation and application. Therefore, to make your eLearning program a success, instructional designers and L&D managers need to understand the key influencers that shape the learning effectiveness of eLearning courses. Based on our experience, here are few such factors that should be taken into consideration.
Subject matter: The subject matter is the first and the foremost influencer. Its relevance to the learners would directly affect their interest and motivation levels in taking up the course. In case the subject matter does not have immediate relevance to the learner but could be important to the learner in future, an ID will have to highlight this piece of information right at the beginning of the course to ensure that the learner stays interested in the course.
Opportunity that the learning provides: When the new knowledge gained is going to affect their performance directly, learners are likely to make more effort to obtain that knowledge. Additionally, the knowledge that is going to provide them with newer opportunities for career growth also encourages effective learning.
Eagerness to learn: Learner profiles also have a bearing on learning effectiveness. Sometimes the target audience may lack the motivation or interest to explore or learn something new. Learning is unlikely to be effective in such cases. However, if learners exhibit eagerness to learn, they are motivated to explore the domain -resulting in effective learning.
Instructional design: Following sound instructional design principles catering to all learning types is important to ensure learning effectiveness. The course design needs to keep the learning objectives of learners, their profile and preferences in mind. Young learners might need interactivities with more audio/ visual interface. Experienced learners might expect more case studies and research data to substantiate the concepts dealt in the course.
Collaborative feature: Providing a collaborative platform to discuss debate and share viewpoints regarding course enhances the learning value. Each learner brings along valuable experiences and insights which can be shared through common forums. Online groups and forums where learners can collaborate beyond the course framework will ensure learning is continuous and ongoing. It greatly enhances learning effectiveness.
Developing effective course content is one factor that influences learning effectiveness. However, marketing the course to ensure that learners realize the value that the course brings to them will ensure that learners remain eager to learn and look forward to the program. Additionally, L&D managers need to provide a platform that facilitates peer-to-peer interaction where discussions and knowledge exchange happens that further improves learning effectiveness.