It’s easy to create eLearning content. But to create an eLearning course that resonates with your learners? That’s not easy. It’s a difficult job for course developers to master but it’s worth it. Why? Because it’s the only kind of eLearning content that keeps people reading, from start to finish. It’s the only kind that elevates your learning program from ordinary to monumental.
So how you do it? By considering Allen’s eLearning principles when designing the course.
1) Put Learners at Risk
What will learners lose if they don’t complete a task? It’s a question you should encourage students to ask themselves all the time.
Researchers know that we are most responsive and alive when we see the possibility of losing and the opportunity of winning. Put your learners at a reasonable level of risk and they’ll pay attention. Show them the winning counter to make them aware of what they’ll lose if they don’t cooperate. Show them timers so that they don’t slack off. Remember the role of challenge during the learning process? Of how it stimulates the brain? Putting your learners at risk has a lot to do with it.
2) Use Meaningful and Attractive Context
A lot has been said about appealing content. Little, however, has been said about the power of context.
Context, in the domain of eLearning, simply refers to the environment or framework of the interaction or instruction. It’s often referred to as the how. How an information is presented, how an environment affects learning, or even how a set of facts are introduced to the learner for the first time are all part of context.
Meaningless or unrelevant context is as useless as no context. That’s why you should only aim for meaningful contexts. Only meaningful context has the power to connect your course material with learners: their expectations, values , goals and interests. It's the only kind that motivates.
Subjects that are heavy on facts, for instance, can be presented in meaningful context by adding elements of novelty, humor and suspense. Note, however, that the best contexts are realistic ones. They easily reach to learners and relate to their inner drives.
Additional tip: all learners want to feel that they’re achieving something while learning. They want to get things done. Use a good context that projects how efficient learning is; not a poor context that makes them feel they’re wasting time.
3) Make Learners Attempt Multiple Tasks
Learning starts with knowledge but that alone is not enough. Learners are interested to acquire knowledge because they want to master skills, complete tasks or change something. By introducing students to several authentic tasks, you are giving them the opportunity to apply new knowledge and skills.
Let them test theories, facts and assumption in practice. This is why students undergo on-the-job training or internship. How do execute tasks in the real world reflects how well they absorb new knowledge and master new skills. So don’t stop at making learners recall or memorize the golden rules of stellar customer service. Let them sharpen their communication skills especially when handling an irate customer.
4) Offer Constructive Intrinsic Feedback
How will learners know that they are making any progress or not? By letting them see for themselves the impact of their choices. This is more effective than directly telling them if they are doing good or not. Intrinsic or internal feedback, as opposed to external feedback given by an instructor or peer, encourages students to learn from their poor choices. It’s far more motivational and meaningful because learners themselves know that they can do something to correct their mistakes or reverse the situation.
What are you doing to make your eLearning content resonate with your learners?