The purpose of an eLearning program is to help learners learn something new that will help improve their performance. Technology is just a medium that is used to help learners build on their existing know how, and should not be used to impress the learner. Thanks to rapid authoring tools, many training managers and subject matter experts have a choice of rapid authoring tools such as Articulate and Captivate to create eLearning programs. However, PowerPoint presentations cannot automatically become engaging eLearning content.
Here are a few key points that training managers need to keep in mind while designing eLearning programs using rapid authoring tools:
Study the needs of the learner: The most important aspect one needs to keep in mind is the target audience- the individuals who are going to take the course. What are their current skills sets, and what is that they hope to gain after taking the course? What are the main objectives that the course is expected to meet? Answers to these questions will help in designing the course that best suits the intended participants.
Understand learners’ preferences: Each individual has his/ her own preferences. Some learn best when the material is presented visually in the form of charts, tables or graphs. Others prefer to hear the interpretations for better comprehension. Still others prefer to be involved in some of the activities, so that they fully understand the concepts. ELearning designs should cater to individuals with different learning preferences. This can be done by having a balance of visual, audio and activity based learning objects.
Make the content relevant: Content should be relevant to the day-to-day context of the learner. At the end of the course, learners should have acquired some new skill or knowledge that they can apply immediately in their jobs. It should be based on real-life situations, so that learners feel they take back something that can be applied to their jobs.
Budget for practice time: Learners assimilate what they have learnt if they are given time to practice what has been introduced in each module. They should be given the option to proceed with the course at their own pace. Job aids and external resources could be added as additional reference material for learners.
Ensure smooth and easy navigation: Instructions and buttons on the screen should facilitate smooth navigation throughout the course. Any interactive content should be simple and should ensure that the learner is not distracted from the sequence of the learning material. He/she should be able to switch between windows easily, and the GUI should be clear and self-explanatory.
As a training manager, if these tips are kept in mind, you will be able to come up with a course that is engaging for the learners.