Training managers face a range of challenges in training their employees across the organization. One most burning challenge is related to the area of improving the effectiveness of learning in a cost-effective manner.
E-learning is a medium used to train employees quickly and in a cost-effective manner, but the real issue is to do with dropout rates, which eventually affect the effectiveness of the learning performance. Dropout rates could be high due to lack of relevancy, monotony experienced by learners, lack of real-world problem solving methods, and due to many more similar factors.
How do you make sure that you don’t face these challenges during the development of your e-learning courses? Here is a list of mistakes that you should avoid in e-learning design and development.
1. Not Knowing the Target Audience
Target audience are basically the learners to whom you develop e-learning courses and hence the course objectives, the terminology, the delivery format etc. depends upon the target audience. If you develop the course without knowing who the learners are, then your e-learning course would go in vain. Therefore, it is important to analyse your target audience first.
You need to get answers to questions like:
- What do your learners need to learn : An in-depth practical knowledge or just the basics?
- What is their experience level – Top-notch managers or the novice employees?
- What are their technical abilities – Tech-savvy or computer illiterate?
- Where will the learning take place?
All these questions would help you to determine which content you need to include in an online course and how to present the content in an effective way.
2. Too Much Text On – Screen
There is no doubt that text is important in the midst of images, graphics, and other visuals because it forms a connection with learners in the absence of an instructor. But sometimes, we tend to use lot of text on screen and end up creating text-heavy pages. This would only increase cognitive load on learners and they would not be able to process the information effectively.
Hence, to overcome this challenge, you need to divide the content into logical and manageable chunks. You might ask “What are manageable chunks?” Well, the answer is that while chunking, the transition from one chunk to another should be clear and each chunk should convey a single idea.
3. Including Irrelevant Images and Graphics
We all know that “A picture is worth a thousand words”, but in e-learning, a picture is worth a thousand words only if it is a relevant one. Irrelevant images will only increase the cognitive load on learners because they would not be able to correlate the text with the image.
Make sure that your images and graphics are relevant and that they support content in an appropriate manner. Avoid using images that only makes your screen look pretty.
Below is an example of how an image can support text and convey the relevant message to learners.
4. Creating Assessments That Do Not Challenge Learners
While creating assessments, you need to revise what you wanted your learners to do after completing the course. Do you want them to just get acquainted with the basics or theory or do you want them to put the knowledge learned to practice? For example, do you want your learners to learn the compliance or be able to troubleshoot an IT problem. Consider these questions as a base while creating assessments in your course.
Your assessments should be relevant and be able to challenge your learners. For instance, do not ask questions such as label the parts of a machine when you have taught them the working of a machine.
5. Not Concentrating On Technical Aspects
With many authoring tools in use now, and other tools in e-learning, we tend to incorporate too many multimedia elements in an e-learning course. However, designers should consider the technical aspects such as the bandwidth and computer hardware. In an area where the bandwidth is very low, learners may not be able to view the animations or other graphics that require a higher bandwidth.
Hence, in order to mitigate this, you need to determine the available bandwidth of the area where your learners reside so that they would be able to access the course effectively.
6. Misalignment of Objectives, Content, and Assessments
You need to ensure that your course objectives, learning activities, and assessments are aligned to each other.
You frame the learning objectives, considering what your learners would be able to do after undergoing the course. You have to present your content in a way that would reinforce learning and then you create assessments that would map the learning objectives.
When these three elements are aligned, your learners would be able to gain knowledge and skills that are relevant to their job and performance.
As an instructional designer, you should consider all these factors and ensure that you deliver the best course.
Hope you find this blog useful. Do share your views.