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    4 Key Reasons Why eLearning Fails & Tips for Turning It Around

    Have you ever wondered why your eLearning course isn't quite hitting the mark, despite all your hard work?

    It's frustrating, we know. You've put in the hours and made sure your course is packed with good info, everything looks great and works on any device. But, for some reason, it's just not clicking with your learners. They're signing off early, not really getting involved, or even leaving some less-than-stellar feedback.

    Think of it like this: In cooking, one wrong ingredient can mess up your whole dish. It's pretty much the same with eLearning. Sometimes, it's the small things that can throw off the whole experience.

    Here's something to chew on: studies indicate that one big reason eLearning courses don't fly in a corporate environment is they don't quite match what learners need or want. For instance, the Brandon Hall Group found that over half the organizations they surveyed saw engaging learners as a big hurdle in eLearning effectiveness. 

    So, let's dive into what might be watering down your efforts. We're here to help you tweak and tune your strategy, aiming to really connect with your employees and get those great results you're looking for.

    Now, let's dissect four critical factors contributing to the shortcomings of these courses, along with strategic approaches that could potentially pivot them towards success:


    Reason #1:  It's A One-Way Street (And That's a Problem)

    Let's talk about content these days. It seems like there's either super dense, info-heavy stuff or... well, the complete opposite. Let's be real – both can be a total letdown. People are getting pretty savvy at figuring out when it's time to tune out. So, here's something to ponder:

    When you were putting together your eLearning course, were you thinking more about what you were delivering, or how your learners would actually receive and engage with it?

    This is a big deal. It could be why your learners just aren't clicking with the material. Maybe that's why they're not applying what they've learned, or, even more concerning, not finishing the course at all. If they can't see the value, they're not going to join you on this learning journey.

    So, what can you do about it?

    • First, step into their shoes. Have you actually gone through the course yourself? Here's an eye-opener: Would you want to take your own course?

    • Watch someone else take your course. When do they start to lose interest? Is there a moment where they just zone out?

    • And don't forget this: Did you ever make it clear why this learning is important? Why should they care about this task, procedure, or change?

    Thinking about these questions can really flip the script. It's all about focusing on how engaging and consumable your course is for your learners.


    Also read: Why Aren’t Employees Engaged in Your eLearning Courses?


    Reason #2:  It's Not Just the Content, It's the Presentation

    It's likely that your eLearning course is brimming with quality content. However, remember, even the most informative books and movies can be dull if they're not engaging. The key isn't just in what you present, but how you present it. The best content in the world won't make an impact if it's a struggle to digest. So, the real issue might not be with the content itself, but in the way it's being delivered.

    Assuming you've got all the right information, it's possible that the way you're packaging it isn't hitting the mark. Let's delve into this:

    • Is your content easily navigable? Simplify the search process. Are your materials well-tagged and logically organized? There's great satisfaction in finding exactly what you need without any hassle.

    • Begin with the basics and then progress to more complex topics. Similar to progressing through levels in a video game, this approach helps learners build confidence and understanding step by step.

    • When introducing new concepts or changes, always clarify the benefits. Understanding the reasons behind what they're learning can significantly increase a learner's involvement and determination.

    • Look at your slides – are they too busy? We naturally prefer visually clean and organized layouts. 

    In essence, your focus should extend beyond just the content; it's about making it as engaging and accessible as possible for your learners.

    Must read: Avoid Learner Overload: Five Rules for eLearning Course Design


    Reason #3: The Content Isn't Immediately Useful

    Remember how we talked about your employees being swamped with information? It's crucial to ensure your eLearning content doesn’t just end up on their "I'll learn this later" pile.

    Consider these points:

    • How directly does this course relate to their daily tasks? Your learners should never feel like their time is being wasted. Aim for relevance and brevity to keep them engaged. 

    • What outcomes can they expect, and when? Your learners come with specific expectations. Meeting these expectations is non-negotiable.

    • Shift the focus from what you want to achieve to what's in it for them. Make the benefits clear. What transformation are you promising? Showing them a before-and-after scenario can help them visualize the value of your course, giving them a concrete goal to work towards.

    And here's a crucial question: Do you truly know who your course is designed for? Understanding your audience is key to tailoring your course effectively. Delivering what your audience needs and wants is what gives your course its real value. No matter how well-presented or aesthetically pleasing your course is, it won't hit the mark if it's not targeted at the right audience.


    Reason #4: Lack of Variety Leads to Disengagement

    Feeling like you're hitting a wall with your eLearning course? You've combed through your text-based content, checking for any possible issues, but everything seems fine – it's orderly, relevant, and applicable. So, what's missing?

    The catch might be your reliance on just plain text. A text-heavy approach can be a major factor in diminishing your course's effectiveness!

    When reassessing your course, ponder over these aspects:

    • What's the balance between text and visuals?

    • Take a moment, look away from the screen, and then glance back. Does the screen feel overwhelmed with text?

    • How frequently are you incorporating varied media like videos, podcasts, or infographics to diversify content delivery?

    • Also, review your course with this in mind: 9-Point Checklist for the Perfect eLearning Course Design

    If you find your course is indeed text-dominant, it's time to revamp your design strategy and diversify your content formats. Moving away from text-heavy material to more engaging and interactive content is key.

    eLearning offers a wealth of options to make your content more dynamic and engaging. You can mix and match different types of media to cater to various learning preferences.

    Here are some actionable tips to give more variety to your course:

    • Implement layered information. Start with key points visible at first glance, followed by detailed content accessible through “More Information” buttons. This approach declutters the page and avoids overwhelming learners.

    • Utilize hot spot screens. Hotspots on images reveal more information when hovered over or clicked. This method reduces clutter and makes essential information intuitively accessible. Explore tools like SHIFT for creating hot spot screens with ease – they even offer a free trial.

    • Create engaging videos. Transform drier content into captivating experiences using animation or storytelling. Videos are excellent for demonstrating processes or big-picture concepts quickly.

    • Incorporate scenarios and characters. Using relatable examples can help demystify complex concepts, making learning more accessible and relatable for your audience.

    Embracing these approaches can transform your eLearning course from a text-heavy slog to an engaging, interactive learning journey.

    Read more: 10 Types of Visual Content You Should Use to Increase Learner Engagement

    Creating a compelling eLearning course is an ongoing journey, not a one-time event. It’s about continuous improvement, adapting to feedback, and evolving with the needs of your learners. Remember, the time and effort you put into developing your eLearning course are never wasted. Each step is an opportunity for learning and refinement. As you reflect on your current eLearning strategy, consider these questions: Are you truly engaging with your audience's needs? How can you incorporate their feedback to enhance the learning experience? Where can you bring more creativity and interactivity into your course design?

    Think of your eLearning course as a living entity, constantly growing and adapting. By embracing this mindset of continual optimization, you can transform your course into a dynamic and effective learning tool. Don't let the fear of initial shortcomings deter you. Instead, view them as stepping stones to creating a more impactful and meaningful eLearning experience.

    We invite you to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. What challenges have you faced in your eLearning journey? What strategies have worked for you? Let's continue the conversation and learn from each other's insights and innovations in eLearning. Together, we can create courses that not only inform but inspire and engage.



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