SHIFT's eLearning Blog

Our blog provides the best practices, tips, and inspiration for corporate training, instructional design, eLearning and mLearning.

To visit the Spanish blog, click here
    All Posts

    Breaking the Monotony in eLearning Course Design:  Transform Dullness into Engaging Experiences

    Say goodbye to the myth of "boring" eLearning courses!

    When your team, audience, coworkers, customers, and friends label your courses as dull, it hampers their ability to extract maximum value from them. Not to mention, it leads to wasted time, money, and energy on your part.

    But fear not! If you find yourself trapped in a monotonous cycle, yearning for inspiration to breathe life into your courses, you've come to the right place.

    In this post, we'll guide you through innovative strategies and ideas that will ignite creativity and infuse your eLearning courses with the irresistible spark they deserve. Get ready to transform dullness into engagement and captivate your learners like never before!

    Here’re some ideas you can implement today to avoid designing boring courses:

    1) Find the Angle that Makes Your Content Remarkable

    To make your content truly remarkable, it's essential to identify what sets your course apart. What is the unique value proposition that makes it worth the learners' time and effort? Consider the following ideas to ensure your course stands out and resonates with your audience:

    1. Unleash the Benefits: Clearly communicate the tangible benefits learners will gain from taking your course. Highlight the specific skills, knowledge, or competencies they will acquire. For example, if your course focuses on sustainability, emphasize how learners will gain the expertise to make eco-friendly choices in their everyday lives, contribute to environmental conservation efforts, or even pursue green careers.

    2. Ignite a Sense of Achievement: Design your course in a way that provides a strong sense of accomplishment upon completion. Incorporate milestones, badges, or certificates to recognize learners' progress and achievements. Consider creating opportunities for learners to showcase their newly acquired skills or knowledge through real-life projects or practical applications. For instance, a coding course could culminate in learners building their own functional website.

    3. Foster a Purpose: Connect your course to a larger cause or mission that resonates with your learners. By aligning your content with something they deeply care about, such as social justice, personal development, or community engagement, you create a sense of purpose. For example, a course on mental health might emphasize the importance of destigmatizing mental illness and empowering learners to support others in their communities.

    4. Engage with a Compelling Narrative: Craft a compelling storyline or narrative that runs throughout your course. Use storytelling techniques to engage learners emotionally and create a memorable learning experience. For example, a leadership development course could follow the journey of a fictional leader, highlighting their challenges, successes, and lessons learned along the way.

    Also read: 10 Ideas to Create Engaging eLearning Courses


    2) Visual Richness: Engaging Learners through Powerful Imagery

    Incorporating visually appealing elements can significantly enhance the engagement and effectiveness of your course content. By breaking away from text-heavy approaches and strategically integrating multimedia elements, you can captivate learners' attention and facilitate better understanding and retention.

    Consider the following strategies to leverage visual richness in your eLearning courses:

    1. Diversify with Multimedia: Instead of relying solely on written content, explore the use of diverse multimedia elements such as videos, animations, infographics, and audio clips. For example, supplement complex concepts with explainer videos that break them down into visually engaging segments. Use animations to illustrate processes or depict dynamic scenarios, making the content more interactive and memorable. Incorporate infographics to present data or statistics in a visually appealing and digestible manner. Additionally, leverage audio clips to provide auditory reinforcement or to deliver engaging narratives.

    2. Trigger Emotional Connections: Select visuals that evoke specific emotions or feelings that align with your course objectives. The right choice of imagery can evoke curiosity, empathy, inspiration, or even humor. For instance, if your course revolves around environmental conservation, include powerful photographs showcasing the impact of pollution or the beauty of untouched landscapes. This can instill a sense of urgency and emotional connection within learners, motivating them to actively engage with the course content.

    3. Infuse Visual Storytelling: Leverage visual storytelling techniques to engage learners on an emotional and narrative level. Use a series of images, along with accompanying text or narration, to present a storyline or convey information. For example, in a history course, create a visual timeline with key events accompanied by relevant images, creating a compelling narrative that guides learners through historical developments.


    Read more: The 4 Adult Learning Elements You Should Include in Your eLearning Courses


    3) Make content easy-to-read

    Just like with any other type of web page or marketing message online, readability should be a key element to factor in any eLearning course we create. Courses should be designed with careful attention to the layout of the screen, the organization of the content, and the spacing between elements.  Specifically, you want the content to be easy to read for your learners.

    Unfortunately, too many eLearning designers believe that just transferring the content of a presentation or a PDF  into screens —words on a page—is enough for success.

    But it’s just not the case. An eLearning course that isn’t easy to read isn’t useful and IS BORING TO TAKE.

    Break up your content with plenty of subheadings so that it can be read almost like an expanded outline. This is called “visual hierarchy.”

    There are two key reasons subheadings are really important:

    • They are easy to read. We’ve included strong subtitles in this article, and you can see how clear the structure is and how easy it is to find the information you need right away. Most people will skim the headings before reading a full screen, so use that to your advantage and give them good organization and meaty headings.

    • Grab attention. Eye-catching but tasteful copy makes an impression and causes the content to be easy to remember because people are drawn to the visual.

    Additional reads:

    Design Tools to Build Visual Hierarchy in eLearning

    5 eLearning Design Mistakes That Can Ruin a Good First Impression


    4) Including Video: Creating Immersive Learning Experiences

    Videos have proven to be a powerful medium for capturing audience attention and engagement, as evident from the exponential video views on social media platforms.

    In eLearning, leveraging the storytelling and multi-dimensional aspects of videos can greatly enhance the learning experience. By combining text, images, and sounds, videos create an immersive environment that caters to different learning styles and fosters better information retention.

    Here are creative ways to incorporate video into your eLearning courses:

    1. Expert Tips: Feature videos of industry experts or practitioners sharing their expertise, best practices, or real-world experiences related to the course topic. This adds credibility to the content and provides learners with valuable insights from professionals in the field. For example, in a marketing course, include a video interview with a successful marketing executive sharing their strategies for effective campaign management.

    2. Examples and Non-Examples: Use video demonstrations to illustrate examples and non-examples of concepts or skills being taught. Visualize scenarios where learners can see the correct application of knowledge or the consequences of incorrect application. For example, in a language course, provide video clips showcasing correct pronunciation and usage alongside incorrect examples to emphasize key language principles.

    3. Realistic Simulations: Create video-based simulations that mirror real-world situations or challenges learners are likely to encounter. Present learners with scenarios and ask them to analyze, make decisions, or provide solutions based on what they observe in the videos. This interactive approach enhances critical thinking and problem-solving skills. For instance, in a customer service course, present video scenarios of challenging customer interactions and prompt learners to respond appropriately.

    4. Interactive Video Assessments: Design interactive video assessments where learners engage with the video content by answering questions, making choices, or participating in branching scenarios. This gamified approach enhances engagement and knowledge retention. For example, in a safety training course, present video-based safety scenarios and ask learners to select the correct safety protocols or identify potential hazards.

    Grab more ideas here:  9 Ways to Use Video in Your Online Training Courses


    5) Real-World Application: Bridging Theory and Practice for Meaningful Learning

    To bridge the gap between theory and practice, it's crucial to incorporate real-world application exercises that allow learners to apply their knowledge and skills in practical scenarios. This approach not only enhances learner engagement but also helps them understand the practical relevance of the course material.

    Consider the following strategies to create effective and impactful real-world application exercises:

    1. Case Studies: Present learners with real-life scenarios that require them to analyze and apply their knowledge to solve problems or make decisions. For instance, in a business management course, provide a case study about a struggling company and ask learners to develop a strategic plan to turn it around. This enables learners to see the direct application of the course concepts in a realistic context.

    2. Simulations: Utilize simulations to immerse learners in authentic environments and allow them to practice their skills in a risk-free setting. For example, in a medical training course, use virtual simulations to replicate patient consultations or surgical procedures. This hands-on experience helps learners develop confidence and competence before engaging with real patients.

    3. Virtual Hands-on Activities: Create interactive virtual activities that replicate real-world tasks learners are likely to encounter. For instance, in a software development course, provide a virtual coding environment where learners can practice writing and debugging code. This practical engagement reinforces learning and helps learners gain proficiency through active participation.

    4. Problem-Based Learning: Design learning experiences around solving real-world problems relevant to the course topic. Present learners with authentic challenges and guide them through the problem-solving process. For instance, in an environmental science course, assign a project where learners must propose sustainable solutions for a local community's waste management issues. This approach encourages critical thinking, collaboration, and the application of knowledge in context.

    More ideas: 4 Ideas to Make Dry Content Interesting in eLearning

    Remember, breaking the monotony in course design involves thinking outside the box and finding innovative ways to engage learners. By implementing these non-common ideas, you can transform your eLearning courses into dynamic, interactive, and captivating learning experiences.

    Do you feel like any of your course content is boring? What do your students think? How are you going to improve your lackluster information?



    Diana Cohen
    Diana Cohen
    Education Writer | eLearning Expert | EdTech Blogger. Creativa, apasionada por mi labor, disruptiva y dinámica para transformar el mundo de la formación empresarial.

    Related Posts

    The Science Behind What Makes an eLearning Design Effective

    Let's get real about design—sure, we all want our courses to look good. It feels great to pour our hearts into making something that catches the eye. But here's the thing: if your slick design isn't also crystal clear and easy to use, it's like a sports car with no engine. Looks great, but will it get you where you need to go? Nope. You know the drill. You click into a course full of excitement, only to get lost in flashy features that make it hard to find the actual content. Or maybe the text is so tiny or the colors so jarring that you're squinting two minutes in. Frustrating, right? That's why nailing eLearning design is more science than art. It's about knowing what makes your learners tick, what draws them in, and what drives the message home so that it sticks. Get this right, and you're not just sharing information; you're creating a learning experience that could change the way they see the world. Sounds powerful, doesn't it? That's because it is.

    Unlocking Learner Engagement: Psychological Techniques for eLearning Success

    Have you ever wondered why big brands pour so much money into market research before launching a single product? It's not just a high-stakes game of guesswork. Imagine this: a brand skips the research and dives headfirst into creating something. Sounds bold, right? But it's also a recipe for disaster. Here's the thing—brands exist for their customers. They're not just creating random products; they're crafting experiences tailored to what their customers crave, wrapped up in an irresistible package that delights the senses. Now, think about your role as an eLearning designer. It's not all that different, is it? Your mission is to craft learning experiences that pack a punch, sure, but they've also got to be eye candy for your learners. After all, you want them to enjoy the journey with you, to be engaged and eager for more.

    10 Golden Rules for eLearning Course Design Mastery

    Let's face it – nobody gets excited about a grainy movie or sticks with a book that's a minefield of typos. It's a no-brainer, right? So, let's talk about your eLearning courses. Shouldn't the same rules of engagement apply? Consider this: a course that's a maze of bad design, confusing navigation, or just crammed with too much info is like that movie or book – it’s going to turn your learners off. And we all know what happens next – they check out, and not in the 'mission accomplished' kind of way. Now, think about your team. They’re curious, they’re hungry for knowledge, but let's be real – no one's keen on drudging through dull, time-consuming content that feels like a throwback to school days. The modern workforce wants learning that’s not just informative, but also engaging and fits into their fast-paced lifestyle. That's the puzzle we're solving together.