eLearning is an innovative training solution that is changing the way learners consume training content. Designed with care and implemented smartly, eLearning could be the best weapon in any learning and development team’s arsenal. Organizations are reaping the benefits-- cost-effective, time-saving, mobile and customizable courses that can be completed by learners anywhere at their own time.
Like classroom training, eLearning is not without its flaws. Lack of human interaction can make the learning experience boring for learners who are highly kinesthetic and social. But does an instructional designer ensure that his course does not fall flat in terms of engagement? In this article, we will share best practices from eLearning experts who consistently wow their learning audience.
Storytelling is a sure way to catch the attention of the learners. The story must have a main character with traits that learners can relate to. They should be relevant to the content and the actual experience of the target learners. Adult learners easily identify with the characters in the story and are driven to complete the training by following his adventures, solving his problems or making decisions for him.
Conversations within the eLearning course should be natural. The characters must use words that are familiar to the learning audience and the level of formality and tone must match what is being used in the workplace. It’s okay to add humorous conversations between characters, as long as the topic remains to be the focus of the story.
eLeaning courses must have all the elements of a story -- an introduction, an issue or conflict, and a resolution of that conflict. The plot must be revealed in stages throughout the story in order for the learning audience to follow the development and have time to develop empathy towards the characters.
An interactive story is more engaging than a simple slideshow. Allow learners to get immersed in the course by giving them exercises, tasks and missions. Aside from engagement, an interactive story makes your course more memorable, which helps in knowledge retention and overall impact.
Make eLearning that Matters to the Learner
The first question an instructional designer should ask before creating content for eLearning is how valuable the learning is to its target audience. It’s important that the training provides knowledge, skills and capabilities that the learner can apply at work. It must be totally aligned with the learner’s roles and responsibilities, as well as his level of experience. The online training must also be timely. If the training was created for on-boarding new hires it must be deployed to the learner’s LMS account on their first day at work, otherwise their its value and the learner’s enthusiasm will dwindle.
Branding and Personalization
People like taking training that was made specifically for them. Using the organization’s colors, fonts, logos and voice sends the message to the learners that the company invested enough to create a training just for them.
Using the learner’s name and photo adds to the feeling of being connected to the eLearning content. In gamified eLearning, the use of avatars that can be customized to look like the learner enhances the appeal of eLearning. To some, this type of experience helps them imagine being in the actual environment or situation, making the simulation more life-like.
Clickbait stories on the internet get a lot of views. Like a Facebook post, your eLearning content can use a few intriguing headlines, as long as remain truthful, professional and related to the learning content. Powerful headlines can be achieved by using the following techniques:
● Appeal to curiosity by borrowing some lines from famous films and TV shows. ● State what benefits the learner can reap when they complete your course. For example, you can say “How You Can Become the Next Customer Service Champion”. ● You may also present a problem and showcase the solution that you intent to share in your course. Learners are attracted to courses that provide a solution to their existing problems, so using the headline “How to Say No To Customers” will appeal better to learners than “Saying No To Customers”.
Let Inquisitive Learners Explore
Exciting eLearning allows the learners to explore certain portions of the course, by letting them click icons, photos or buttons that reveal something they can marvel on. You can place these randomly in the module to add the element of surprise. Adult learners are naturally curious, so learners will automatically and eagerly collect these “easter eggs” when you give them a slight nudge to the correct direction.
Enlist the Help of an SME
Learning and development teams must build a solid working relationship with at least one subject matter expert (SME) in operations. These SMEs will be able to offer a lot of information about your learners, enhance your training content with details that you will not be able to read from operations manuals, and most importantly be able to share work-related examples that can be used to add case studies or scenario-based activities to your eLearning course.
Harness the Power of Social Learning
One of the usual comments learning and development teams receive about eLearning is that it that it can get isolating and lonely. Social learning can alleviate this feeling of being disconnected by providing a platform where learners can discuss their takeaways, ask questions related to the content, share their experience and feedback about the course and bond with learners who are on the same “virtual class”. It’s important to assign a team member to manage social learning platforms, to ensure that all questions and feedback are answered in a timely and correct manner.
Skip the Text to Speech Narrators
There is nothing more boring than listening to a robotic message while trying to learn something. Learner disengagement in eLearning courses are often caused, not by the content or presentation, but by the humdrum voice that narrates it. It is best practice to use a human voice that exudes enthusiasm and excitement about the topics in the course. A great narrator is able to build a connection with the learner and present the topic in a clear manner.