What do you think is the most important thing you need to focus on right now to GUARANTEE that the eLearning courses you are creating are successful?
If you're like so many course creators we see out there, your brain might lead you in a bunch of random directions, like:
- Making courses more interactive.
- Being more visually compelling and implementing the most recent technology.
- Nailing your course's name.
- Finding the right places to promote your course internally.
Don't get us wrong... All of these are important but are not really what will make the difference in your course's impact. Before you create another eLearning course or continue in the wrong direction, make a pause, analyze what's not working, learn from your mistakes, and keep improving.
Based in our experience working with clients, here are five things you shouldn't be doing with your eLearning content:
Mistake #1: Presenting Content as a Dump Without Connecting Links
A mere presentation of facts is not going to be retained by your modern workers. When knowledge is connected in inaccurate or random ways, students can fail to retrieve or apply it appropriately.
It’s vital learners see the significance of those facts, and in turn, understand how those facts interrelate to form the structure of a concept or an idea. There are many theories about how the brain reacts to associations of ideas such as Parallel Distributed Processing (PDP) which identifies just how memory performance is maximized when the learner readily sees connections between ideas. It is vital, therefore, that eLearning developers bring ideas together, or more appropriately facilitate the student's ability to join the dots of information so to speak.
Tip: By creating learning paths you can easily build connections between courses, content and previous learning experiences.
Also read: The Rapid Rise of Learning Pathways
Mistake #2: Forgetting It’s All About the Learner—Not the Content!
While the desire to teach as much knowledge as possible is understandably important, falling into the trap of simply trying to cram the student’s head with huge amount of knowledge while completely failing to emphasize the practical application of the information is very common.
When it comes to creating eLearning courses, the problem could lie in the content becoming the dominant thing on the part of the designer, rather than the desired outcome being the dominant thing. The truth is the content is only a means to that end. Successful eLearning developers focus less on how they can showcase their content, and more on how they can shape their audience's behavior.
To create an increased understanding of how the material is relevant, and connects with what the student already knows, ought to be the goal for those given the responsibility of creating eLearning courses.
Mistake #3: Failing to Deliver What's Promised
In the movie industry there’s something called the symbolic contract with the audience. It’s basically to stay true with the proposal of the movie: don’t make the audience expect to see a science fiction movie and then switch it to a cowboy’s one. They will lose interest because that wasn’t the deal. In eLearning, it’s just the same. Your course must deliver what it promises.
It's amazing you create interactive and great looking eLearning slides, but if the course doesn't actually address the learning objectives and the content is not aligned with the workers expectation, its a waste of time and money.
It’s important that eLearning course designers deliver what the course promises and thus avoid the students becoming disappointed because learning outcomes haven’t been achieved. Make sure that the course, besides containing engaging interactive features, equally contains high-quality content that match workers actual needs.
Mistake #4: Making the Course Content Too Easy or Too Difficult for Learners
It seems an obvious point, but you could be so focused on the design and visuals that you fail to make the course content intellectually challenging for the student, or on the other end, make it way too challenging. It is important that the student feels stretched by the learning experience, but not to the point they become frustrated and leave. Introducing challenges and making learners reflect on the material can significantly improve long-term retention of the content.
An intellectual challenge provides motivation to the learner, and a feeling of having grasped some learning point will act to spur the student on to learn more. But if there is no challenge, the student will undoubtedly soon get bored and lose interest. So the course must be challenging, but not so much so as to be frustrating.Your goal must be to achieve that delicate balance.
The most satisfying of tasks are reasonably difficult—not too easy, not too hard. Is what is easy to learn, easy to forget or is what is harder to learn, harder to remember (Koriat, 2008)
Mistake #5: Assuming a Lesson Taught is a Lesson Learned
A lesson taught is not necessarily a lesson learned. Designers recognize students have different capabilities and learning styles, yet many still assume that once they have finished creating the course, workers will have learned the material and immediately apply it.
In reality, the lesson might have worked for some students while leaving others with little understanding and much less mastery of the material. Students will often pour their energies into acquiring that knowledge required to get them through a test, but fail to acquire the desired skills to use that knowledge at the point of need.
Successful eLearning developers are mindful of this and seek to instill the ability to apply knowledge, not just retain it. They focus on incorporating various methods to present material and will appeal to different learning modalities. Furthermore, they monitor the student's reaction and engagement with the material throughout.
Upturn the success of your eLearning course by avoiding these mistakes!