Do you remember the excitement when the iPhone was first launched? Everyone was thrilled and curious about the possibilities it offered. And the most natural follow-up question was, “How can we make it even better?” That’s the same attitude eLearning professionals have when it comes to their courses.
As eLearning continues to grow in popularity, the competition to capture learners' attention is fierce. Creating a course and uploading it to an LMS is not enough to keep learners engaged and motivated to complete it. That's why optimizing eLearning courses has become a top priority for eLearning professionals.
The truth is, learner engagement is essential to the success of any eLearning course, just like a great instructor is crucial for an in-person class. If learners are not interested or invested in the course, they are more likely to drop out or complete it with minimum effort. But, an engaging course will make the learning experience enjoyable, and the hours will fly by. Whether it's a workout class or compliance training, genuine interest in the subject matter can make all the difference.
With so many distractions vying for learners' attention, eLearning professionals need to take steps to maximize engagement and comprehension. That's why we've put together this article with five proven ways to optimize eLearning courses and maximize learner engagement. From incorporating interactive elements to creating personalized learning paths, we will explore practical strategies that can help you create an engaging and effective course.
So, if you're an eLearning professional looking to improve your courses' effectiveness, keep reading! We're confident that these time-tested tricks will help you achieve maximum optimization across the board.
1) Tweaking your courses FOR the learner
As brands have realized, understanding the people who consume their products is crucial to their success. The same is true for instructional designers and eLearning professionals. The better we know our learners, the easier it is to appeal to them and satisfy their needs.
Before a product is released, teams spend countless hours identifying who needs it, who wants it, and how to get consumers to see it that way. Similarly, the success of your eLearning course depends on how well you understand your audience and balance business needs with learners' wants.
To achieve this balance, your team must listen to feedback from learners and apply those insights to eLearning design, user experience, and delivery methods. Technology, efficiencies, and community have all given us the ability to learn from the people we are trying to educate, employ, or sell products to. So, it's only natural that we would tweak our courses for the learner instead of just delivering content to the learner.
This shift in approach can lead to a significant change in learner engagement. When learners feel like the course was designed with their needs in mind, they are more likely to stay engaged and motivated to complete it. So, by taking the time to get to know your learners and incorporating their feedback, you can create a course that is tailored to their needs and preferences, leading to higher engagement and success.
Grab this free template: A Template to Carry Out an eLearning Audience Analysis
2) Assessing The Need to Determine The Change
Let's face it: when it comes to creating eLearning courses, there are plenty of factors to consider, from instructional design to user experience to delivery methods. With so many moving parts, it's no surprise that some aspects of the process can fall by the wayside when time constraints are tight. Unfortunately, one of the first things to go is often the needs assessment, a critical step in understanding the audience and creating content that truly resonates with them.
Skipping the needs assessment may seem like a minor misstep, but it can have serious consequences for your training course. Without a clear understanding of what your audience needs and wants, you run the risk of developing content that doesn't support organizational goals or resonate with your learners. You may miss specific pain points that are holding your learners back, leading to higher dropout rates and disengagement.
To truly drive behavior change and create meaningful learning experiences, you need to start by understanding your learners' needs and attitudes. A needs assessment can help you do just that, providing valuable insights that allow you to fine-tune your approach and tailor your content to your audience. By taking the time to gather this information up front, you can avoid costly mistakes and set your eLearning courses up for success.
The data from these assessments will help:
- Identify the learner, collect data about the learner, and prioritize their needs
- Determine the right setting/delivery
- Filter selection of data
- Inform your team on emotional, experiential, and knowledge readiness to learn
- Determine which additional resources might be helpful
3) Embracing Consistency
Consistency is key, especially when it comes to eLearning courses. With so much content available to learners these days, it’s crucial to make sure that your course stands out from the rest. However, it’s also important to make sure that your course is easy to navigate and understand. This is where consistency comes into play.
When your course is consistent, learners can easily follow along and understand the material. This not only makes for a more enjoyable learning experience but also increases engagement and retention. If your course is visually appealing and easy to navigate, learners will be more likely to stick with it and complete it.
Creating a style guide at the beginning of your eLearning development process is essential. This guide should include all of the visual elements that you plan to use throughout the course, such as colors, buttons, icons, images, and typography. By establishing a consistent visual style from the start, you can ensure that your course has a cohesive look and feel.
However, it’s also important to be flexible and open to changes as you go through the development process. If you find that certain visual elements aren’t working as well as you thought they would, don’t be afraid to make adjustments. Just make sure that any changes you make align with your established visual style guide.
Finally, be sure to include your style guide as a reference point throughout the development process. By referring back to it regularly, you can make sure that each screen of your course is consistent and cohesive with the rest of the course. This will save you time in the long run and ensure that your learners have a smooth and enjoyable learning experience.
4) Spice Up Your eLearning: Integrating Interactive Content for Engaging Courses
As we all know, technology has completely transformed the way we work and learn. And as learners continue to move towards digital formats, employers should follow suit by leveraging the interactive capabilities of eLearning courses.
Think about it: instead of just presenting learners with a static eBook course, why not create an immersive experience that encourages active learning? By incorporating simulations, step-by-step videos, and other interactive features, you can engage learners in a more meaningful way.
But don't stop there! By adding interactive content, you can create a connection between the learner and the material. Even if your content is static, providing feedback or questions to follow can help learners engage with the material and retain more information.
It's important to note, however, that not all interactions are created equal. Many eLearning programs make the mistake of focusing on only one type of interaction while ignoring the rest. To avoid this, it's essential to learn more about the three types of interaction: learner-content, learner-instructor, and learner-learner. By ensuring the right balance of all three types of interaction, you can create a truly effective eLearning course.
5) Focusing on Solutions and Actionable Content
Practice makes perfect. Few say the same about theory. People learn things at an accelerated pace when they take action because action removes doubt.
In eLearning, our focus, as instructional designers, should be generating solutions and promoting learners to take specific action. Establishing a definite challenge and citing relevant steps for each work task is critical to get the learner going.
When you begin to create the eLearning course, make the problem-solving primary on your list. Make sure the action is crystal clear. Interactions and icons can space out content, so it’s all digestible and clear-cut. Consider what influences your learner in their journey.
After detailing the expected actions, draw out the consequences (both positive and negative) of each step. At times, we are oblivious to why things are a certain way. Address that. This focus on the specific action against the problem will optimize the impact of your communications as its extremely directed to get the learner from A to B to C with the inclusion of WHY each is important.
So again, when your team meets and asks “How do we make it better?” present this list of suggestions. They are time-tested tricks that allow for any course to reach its next level through simple changes and easy application.