Are you planning to create an eLearning course but don't know where to start? While there are many resources out there that tell you what to do, it's just as important to know what NOT to do.
In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the common mistakes to avoid when creating your eLearning course. From overwhelming your learners with too much information to neglecting to test your course before launching it, we've got you covered. So let's dive in and ensure your eLearning course is a success!
1) Never play background music during your instruction
One of the critical mistakes to avoid when creating an eLearning course is playing background music during instruction. Even if the volume is low, it can significantly impact learners' ability to absorb and retain information.
Research suggests that cognitive load, which refers to the amount of information that the brain can process at any given time, is limited. Working memory, which stores information in the short term, is also limited in capacity and holding time. Adding background music creates noise that competes for learners' attention, making it harder for them to focus on the course content.
To design effective eLearning courses, it is essential to consider how our mental processes operate and create courses that align with them. John Sweller, an expert on memory and learning, emphasizes the importance of course design that promotes effective learning in the current organizational environment, where learners need to learn quickly.
Instead of playing background music during an eLearning course, you can use sound and audio to enhance the learning experience in other ways. Here are some tips:
- Use sound effects: Incorporate relevant sound effects that enhance the learning experience, such as the sound of a heartbeat when discussing the cardiovascular system or the sound of a machine when discussing technology.
- Use voiceovers: Use a clear and engaging voiceover to narrate the course content. A well-delivered voiceover can help learners retain information and make the learning experience more immersive.
- Use interactive audio elements: Incorporate interactive audio elements such as quizzes or games that require learners to listen and respond. This approach can help learners engage with the course content actively.
- Use podcasts: Create a podcast series that focuses on the course content. Learners can listen to these podcasts outside of the course and reinforce their understanding of the material.
2) Never pace your course too quickly or too slowly
Most of us have had the grade-school experience of being too far ahead or too far behind in a certain class. Either we end up bored to tears and unable to pay attention or confused and struggling. The art of moving the class along at the right speed is called “pacing.” When our grade-school teachers did it well, we probably didn’t even notice, so it can be hard to understand as an educator how to handle this important aspect of eLearning design.
If the pace is too fast, most learners will probably get left behind. If the pace is too slow, quicker learners can get bored and disengage. The best way to pace an eLearning course, since an instructor cannot respond directly to student needs, is to let the learner control the speed.
Here are some ideas for implementing user-controlled pacing in your eLearning course using sound and audio:
A. Setting up modules.
When it comes to audio, consider providing transcripts or closed captions for any audio or video content. This can help learners who may have difficulty understanding accents or processing audio information. Additionally, splitting the audio content into shorter, digestible modules can make it easier for learners to control their pace and review the material as needed.
B. Give students options.
Provide learners with a variety of audio resources such as podcasts or interviews with subject matter experts. This can help them hear the material from different perspectives and reinforce their understanding of the topic.
C. Allow students to teach each other.
In a forum or group chat, learners who are struggling can ask quicker learners for help in understanding the audio material. This can create a collaborative learning environment and encourage active engagement with the content.
3) Never make bad color choices
Color can have a surprisingly significant impact on how your workers perceive your course and its materials. While you may need to adhere to a specific color scheme for branding purposes, it's crucial to consider how color affects the tone of your course, as well as practicalities like readability.
Your course should include the right combinations of colors because the brain is naturally attracted to visually interesting materials, which makes information easier to remember. However, colors that are too bright can seem childish, while colors that are too dull can be dull. When working on the visual aspects of your course, refer to the color wheel and learn how to apply its information effectively.
Above all, choose a color scheme that makes your written material easy to read. Don't overlook the contrast between the text, word art, imagery, and background color. If legibility is compromised by a lack of harmony between the background and the presentation materials, the eLearning opportunity will fail. By ensuring that your audience can read the text over the background and understand the content through the visual source, you will provide a successful eLearning opportunity.
- The Complete Guide to Color Combinations in eLearning
- 6 Ways Color Psychology Can Be Used to Design Effective eLearning
4) Never try to cover too much information
Avoid overwhelming learners with too much information in your eLearning course. While it may be tempting to include everything that could be useful, too much content can make it difficult for learners to absorb and apply what they've learned. Instead, aim for fewer than five specific learning outcomes and keep lessons no longer than 20 minutes, with an absolute maximum of 40 minutes. Be clear about what you expect learners to be able to do after completing the course.
Too much information to cover in an eLearning time allotment can result in a cluttered and ill-functioning eLearning experience for the audience and will result in an unsuccessful learning opportunity, especially if the information content has no visible real-world applications or benefits.
A positive way to deal with the expectations of the client/leader is pairing your goals list down to fewer than five learning outcomes, and making sure they’re as specific as you can make them. It’s critical to be crystal clear about what you expect learners to be able to do after your course session is over.
Try to keep lessons no longer than 20 minutes, with an absolute maximum of 40 minutes. To achieve this, take out the non-critical information. If you’re really attached to it, that excised information can be turned into a downloadable resource or used as the basis for a second course.
5) Never ignore learner behaviors and needs
When you’re focused on the subject matter going into our eLearning course, it can be easy to forget the importance of the consumers of your course.
In fact, studies on the effectiveness of subject matter and the grade of that subject matter, show how the message can be lost to the audience if the course-work is sent from an “expert” stand-point to an audience that is not versed in the “expert” terms and field content.
The resulting eLearning opportunity will fail because the message satisfies the content message that the corporate body is trying to send, however, the message is empty if the audience cannot understand the content.
To make your teaching truly effective, you need to ask yourself some questions:
- Who is your audience? Consider age, language comprehension and relevant educational understanding.
- How will your message bring your audience to the learning table? Consider your message carefully and identify your most important points and coverage requirements.
- Does your audience have learning challenges? Identify any possibilities prior to the completion of the eLearning content.
- What calls your students to learn?
- What do they like? Consider the depth of the subject matter and have your “expert” provide an explanation in “plain-speak” so the audience can understand the content and the message.
- Who do they respect?
- How will your audience use the information after the eLearning presentation? Consider tailoring the message to reflect the relevance to the needs of the job.
Take a careful look at the things you’re expecting the learners to be able to do, as well as their existing knowledge and their level of expertise in the subject.
Secondly, studying the psychology of learning can be indispensable in the quest to create an effective eLearning course.
For example, people won’t use the information you give them in the form of the modules they come in. In real life, on the job, students will use information in its synthesized form. Therefore, you need to organize your course’s content based on how learners will use it moving forward. The closer the training matches the job, the more relevant and easily digestible the content will be.
Read more: These 27 Questions Will Help You (Really) Know Your Learners
What mistakes have you caught yourself making during eLearning course design? Share your experiences with your fellow readers in the comments below!