There’s no such thing as boring, so you have no excuse if your eLearning courses are falling flat!
If our coworkers, customers, and friends keep thinking your eLearning courses are “boring,” they’re never going to get the maximum benefit from the courses we’ve worked so hard to create.
If your course content isn’t engaging your learners, it’s time to cook up some creativity and spice up your course.
Here’re some ideas you can implement today:
1) Find the angle that makes your content remarkable
Remarkable is the key word here. What makes your course remarkable? Maybe the learner will get a huge benefit from taking the course or feel great when they’ve completed it. Perhaps it will help them aid a cause they care about, like sustainability. Maybe the course is particularly fun in some way.
Learning really does take effort, but students aren’t going to bother to work up a sweat for something that they don’t have a clear reason for doing. Make it clear to students what they’re going to get from the course and how they can transfer the things they’ve learned into real-life practice.
2) Apply powerful imagery
Nobody likes text-heavy content. This is actually what makes interesting courses look so boring! Visuals are not only more effective in conveying material quickly, but using appropriate photos instead of words can go a long way in improving engagement.
But don't use any photo or visual. Strategically use photos that convey a certain feeling that you would like to evoke in your learners. Learners will enjoy taking your courses once you hit the right emotions. If your learners are moved by your powerful, emotional imagery, they associate the same feelings with your course thereby promoting engagement.
Here’s a hint: if you’re using a photo of a person, try finding one where the person is making direct eye contact with the viewer.
Read more: A Guide to Choosing Images for eLearning
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 on any eLearning course we create. Courses should be designed with careful attention to the formatting and layout of your 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 subheads 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 text makes an impression and causes the content to be easy to remember because people are drawn to the visual.
4) Include video
Videos are the best way to get an audience’s attention, as shown by the numbers of video views on social media. Not only are they visual, but they often tell a story, and audiences eat that up.
The same trend is visible in eLearning. After all, the human brain is hardwired to engage better with real conversations (where the tone of voice and moving images/gestures create a multi-dimensional experience). And that's what video is all about: it combine texts, images and sounds to create an immersive learning environment. Adding video to eLearning courses is a fun, visual, and effective way appeal to more learning styles than a 'rote-learning-read-this-100-times' approach. It can be used to include more sensorial and realistic experiences into your courses - from selfie videos, expert tips, testimonials, examples and non-example demos.
So, if you want to engage your learners and provide them with information that sticks, consider adding a video now and then in your eLearning course. It can be as simple as someone speaking or it can be a high-end production, but either way, it gives your audience something that will help them make sense of the material. Grab more ideas here: 9 Ways to Use Video in Your Online Training Courses
5) "I feel you"
Be empathetic and real to humanize your eLearning course. Put yourself in the shoes of your learners, and include helpful bits like hover tooltips or an estimated reading time for a passage. Make things fun and easy to use.
One program that does this super well is Freshbooks, which manages timekeeping and invoices. Tracking time isn’t super fun, but the program will sometimes cheer on its users with fun messages like “Way to go!” or “Pow!” Humorous and cute details add personality to an experience that might otherwise be boring.
6) Teach with case studies
If appropriately used, case studies can become a powerful tool: instead of simply presenting facts, use the facts to craft an engaging story.
Storytelling is a natural mode for the human brain, which is why we watch movies for fun instead of reading dictionaries. We experience stories as if they are actually happening to us.
Here’s an outline for effective storytelling:
- First, identify the problem(s) your learners faces in real life.
- Explain how it impacted them, usually in terms of money or time.
- Explain what prevented them from taking action sooner or in another way, or what else they’ve tried to do to solve the problem.
- Explain how to solve the problem.
- Finish up with how the situation changed for better.
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?