Successful eLearning courses hook readers on the very first page. That’s because eLearning, in essence, is all about engaged learning. It’s multi-sensory in that it engages all senses through interactive texts, stunning graphics and compelling videos.
And unlike traditional learning environments that treat learners as a passive receptacle for information, eLearning courses invite learners to participate in their lessons actively.
Not all online training and programs, however, are successful. A lot of them are downright boring that people would rather skip chapters or multi-task during the course.
If your learners are doing any of these, you’re failing at your job as an eLearning developer or instructional designer. Successful eLearning courses that people complete from start to finish share one crucial element: a solid introductions and better beginnings. Below are some essential tips for creating one.
Below are some indispensable tips for making beginnings that turn heads:
1) Tap into the learner's motivation through personalized learning goals
Why should people invest two to three hours completing your course? What in it for them? If you don’t find the course interesting enough to begin with, other people won’t start it either. Have clear goals when developing a course and highlight them in the introduction.
Be sure to emphasize an individual learner’s goals, not yours. Personalizing goals is a surefire way to get them excited about something. Skip writing about your credentials and personal history in the beginning. Focus, instead, on what you can give people through the content.
Will the module help them become better at work or improve their mastery in something they love? Tell them from the very beginning!
2) Get learners excited about completing the course
Marketers entice people to buy a product or service through call-to-actions. There are at least two elements that make call-to-actions effective and that are worth borrowing for eLearning designers:
- First, they encourage people to take a specific action immediately.
- Second, they offer irresistible, and value offers in exchange for completing such action. Successful eLearning can also tap effective call-to-actions by:
- Asking thought provoking questions in the first screen. Each time you ask a question, even if it is rhetorical, it conditions their brain to answer.
- Creating anticipation by promising a reward (usually in the form of certification.)
- Asking people to take a certain action or series of actions.
- Designing compelling graphics and interactive texts.
- Creating a sense of urgency or immediacy in completing a chapter or assignment.
- Leave learners guessing a little; tease or preview the content without revealing the whole story. If you leave learners with unanswered questions, they’re more likely to continue to find out the answers.
3) Use the power of storytelling
A strictly theoretical or analytical approach to eLearning may not be the most effective. Researchers have already studied and confirmed the direct impact of emotions on how people learn. Candy Lawson, PhD, writes in her book, The Connections Between Emotions and Learning, that both emotional and thinking processes occur inside the brain. Thinking, which is a vital learning component, affects the emotions and vice versa.
And what better way to engage learners’ emotions than storytelling. Transform boring and information-heavy courses into interesting sets of stories. Show them pictures or videos that simplify complex technical concepts. You can, for instance, include aesthetically appealing yet functional infographics with pie charts than bombard learners with numbers.
4) Hook Learners Immediately with Visual Design
Design and format is your course's first impression, and it needs to hook readers immediately. Truth is, many learners feel like your eLearning courses are a waste of time just because of the way it looks. This is why we suggest designing attractive interfaces to help generate positive emotions from the audience.
When you place just the right visual, you create the right kind of emotion. That's why we believe it is worth taking the time to create visually appealing courses.
You can start by:
- Using colors to hook learners emotionally. Use them in a way that they look right together and fit the context of your course.
- Keeping a consistent look and feel. Just ensure you use consistent graphics and design elements.
- Using high-quality images. Always start with the best image you can and go from there!
Hopefully just the beginning of your success!
Great beginnings of the best novels or TV series or whatnot never fail at making people curious. By working on a great course introduction, you’re tapping people’s innate capability of curiosity and giving them an opportunity to learn something new. So we encourage you to hook the learner in!
What Are Some Memorable Intros You’ve Seen or Created? Tell us!