The one thing that comes to mind when we think about effective e-learning courses is “Learner-centric”. An effective e-learning course always puts the learners first by analyzing and addressing their needs. Simulations, animations and rich content are secondary because all these won’t work if your learner doesn’t need or isn’t connected with the course. So, let us discuss 5 factors which can make your e-learning courses more learner-centric.
According to Ebbinghaus’s Forgetting Curve, humans tend to forget 50% of the content learned within weeks or days.
One major problem with learning is knowledge retention and the above statistic speaks for it. This is where schemas come into the picture. Schemas are knowledge structures subconsciously used by us in our day-to-day activities to store information in our long term memory.
For example, when we think of a familiar term say “tree”, we immediately think about its relative terms such as green, soil, oxygen, and more. In this example, one term triggered various other terms. They are stored as a cluster of information, thus making it harder to forget. In order to forget “tree” you need to forget all the other terms, which is highly unlikely. E-learning courses should be designed in a way to facilitate this process. They need to have material that reduces cognitive load. For example, if text or writing is placed on a diagram rather than separately, it will reduce cognitive load by removing the necessity to search for the relation between the text and the diagram.
Expert vs. Novice
Thinking like a novice while designing your e-learning courses will help you create more effective e-learning courses than thinking like an expert. Why? The learners of your e-learning courses are generally novices. There is a famous saying “Think like a king to live like a king”. This can be applied to your e-learning courses as well. Think like a novice to help address your learners’ needs better.
For instance, you see a course which has excellent content but the delivery of the content is complex, would it serve the purpose? No. Even the delivery needs to resonate with your learners’ minds and there is no better way to do this than by thinking like a novice.
Have you ever heard some new information which didn’t resonate with your views or prior knowledge? Did you find it questionable and unbelievable just because you never heard of it? The same thing happens in e-learning courses. Considering your learners’ prior knowledge is one of the important factors to consider while designing the courses.
The content and the delivery should be aligned with your learners’ prior knowledge. This in turn helps in creating more learner centric e-learning courses.
Though this doesn’t sound important, colors actually play an important role in the effectiveness of your e-learning courses. For improved concentration and productivity, using cool colors such as blue or green work best. For a more heated or lively response, warm colors such as red, orange, or yellow work best. Analyzing your learners will help you design courses not only addressing their needs but also their reactions and adaptability.
Quizzes – a two way street
Include quizzes, questions, and discussions in between the courses to spark up the interest of your learners as well as to help you assess their knowledge for future course creations.
Considering these five factors while designing your e-learning courses can help you create courses which are learner-centric or that which create a good learner experience. Have other factors to share? We welcome your ideas.