There are several types of eLearning courses, but if you want to create an effective one, then there are some ideas you need to follow. Creating an effective online course requires, time, effort, planning and these tips can help you along the way, especially when you are just getting started.
1) Understand your audience
Right from the word go, you need to have a fair idea of who your audience is. The more you write with your audiences’ requirements in mind; more engaged they will be with your program. If you focus on irrelevant matter or things that are too basic, you will lose your audience rather quickly.
2) Have a proper communication plan
To realize the importance of e-learning strategy, you need to mobilize your internal champions and have a proper communication plan. Things like how it can help employees, tools that can be used and its importance for the progression plan have to be explained. Giving importance to marketing your e-learning programmes internally is as important as launching products externally; no two ways about it.
3) Don’t overload it
Every program should have set objectives on what you want your learners to learn. It might seem tempting to overload your program with too much information, but that can be a mistake. On the other hand, you can add more information in additional modules with regular testing, which is convenient for users. Module access to users can also be made conditional; they can access it after going through previous module or passing through specified assessment.
4) Monitor performance
As users go through your e-learning program they want to know how they are progressing. When you have tests and quizzes, it’s important that you give them quick feedback so that they know how well they are doing, things they can improve on etc. You don’t have to give them the right answer in case you want them to go through the test again, but give them useful information. Monitoring performance also helps in reviewing your own program and its effectiveness, on areas that might be too hard or too easy.
5) Interaction to engage learners
It’s often tempting for users to click on the next button without absorbing information. Hence you are better off mixing up content by encouraging them to engage. You can make users navigate around the screen to find information or have games, quizzes to see how much information they have grasped.
6) Structure is crucial
If you want to see ultimate success, which in most cases means taking your users to the last stage, you have to make sure your content is uncluttered, not overcomplicated or jumbled. To ensure that your learners stay focused, you can break the content into manageable chunks.
7) eLearning design isn't just about the visuals
It’s a myth that including more videos, images, multi coloured questions, and funky backgrounds, makes your course more exciting. They are indeed important tools, but they will only manage to get the attention of learners when the content is compelling and motivating.
8) Language should be straightforward
We understand that people read slower on screen than on paper. It’s gotten a lot trickier today because an increasing number of people are using mobile phones for e-learning. Hence you have to cater to them and that can be done by keeping it at one point to a sentence. It will make things easier to understand for learners and they won’t lose their way either. Use of break points, and splitting it up in several sentences or lists can work well.
9) Collaborative learning should be encouraged
It’s a good practise to motivate learners to solve problems together and engage in discussions. It will ensure that they can learn from each other and make the most of the skill sets around. It also helps learners build on their own knowledge base and optimize it for use in the future.
They should be simple; like San serif fonts including Arial and Helvetica, which are a lot easier to read on screen. You also have to bear in mind that the chosen font should be on your users’ computer systems. Otherwise alternate fonts get used, which makes a difference to your page layout that can make things trickier for users. Arial is a font that’s quite common, and most computer systems have it.
11) Special care should be taken when converting class-based course
Converting courses from PowerPoint slides has always been a matter of debate amongst instructional designers and one look at e-learning programs that lift these slides as is, and you will understand why.
In most cases, even when the slides have been well written, they have prompts and not explanations. They also don’t have room for exercises and interaction to engage learners. Hence you need to take the effort to flesh out the material and plan interactions so that learners feel like they are getting classroom learning experience.
12) Blended learning environment
It’s understandable that there are some who find it difficult to move away from the classroom learning environment completely. And you won’t have to do that, because you always have the option of mixing e-learning up with other traditional modes and methods of learning. This blended learning environment has been known to have its merits for many. It also works well for initial acceptance in many instances.
By following these simple tips and strategies, you can ensure that your e-learning program is effective.
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