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

    4 Signs Your eLearning Course Needs Improvement

    In today's fast-paced world, eLearning courses can't stay the same forever. They need to keep evolving to stay relevant and effective.

    Updating your courses isn’t just about the latest tech and teaching methods. It also means keeping the topics and content fresh and aligned with the latest trends and market demands.

    You need to constantly check if your content is hitting home with your audience and making the impact you want. This ongoing assessment is key to ensuring your investment in course development pays off.

    But knowing when and how to make these updates can be tricky. It's tough to be objective about your own work, but it's crucial to keep your training content from becoming outdated.

    This article will help you kick off the process of evaluating your eLearning course.

    Think about these questions:

    • How long has it been since you last updated your course(s)?

    • Have the technologies or tools you use changed since then?

    • Are the topics still relevant and addressing the current challenges in your field?

    • Is the course making the impact you expected regarding learning and practical application?

    • Are you getting feedback or requests from users for updated content?

    Look out for these signs that it’s time to update your eLearning course:


    1) Low Completion Rates

    It's important to recognize that not all eLearning courses are designed to be completed in full. Some may serve as reference resources or for on-the-spot learning without a defined end.

    However, for those courses with a clear structure and objectives that require completion, a low completion rate is a critical indicator that shouldn’t be ignored, even if it shouldn't be the only metric for measuring success.

    If you notice a high percentage of learners not finishing these courses, it’s crucial to dig into the underlying causes of this drop-off.

    Consider aspects like:

    • Course Length: Is it too long? Reducing the course length or breaking it into more manageable segments might help maintain interest.

    • Technical complexity: Is it too technical? Simplifying the language to make it accessible to all levels of technical competence can improve understanding.

    • Content design: Is it text-heavy? A cleaner design with a balanced mix of text, images, and multimedia can enhance interactivity.

    • Interactivity: Does it include enough quizzes or interactive exercises? Adding these elements regularly can boost engagement.

    • Progress visualization: Can learners see their progress? Showing visual progress indicators can motivate them to complete the course.

    • Content relevance: Is the content still relevant? Ensure that the material aligns with current trends and needs in the field.

    • Content overload: Is there too much content at once? Avoid overwhelming learners by spreading out the information and focusing on essential points.

    For courses where completion is essential, also look at other indicators like time spent on assignments and participation in forums.

    Low rates in these areas can indicate that the content isn’t perceived as relevant or valuable, suggesting a need for review and adjustment.

    Read more: Why Aren’t Employees Completing Your eLearning Courses?


    2) Poor Learner Engagement

    Low levels of interaction in an eLearning course are a key indicator that it might need updating to stay relevant and effective. Detecting poor learner engagement early is crucial because it directly impacts the success of your training program.

    If learners aren't engaging with the material, they're unlikely to retain information or apply what they've learned in practical situations. This not only diminishes the value of your eLearning investment but also can affect overall productivity and performance within your organization.

    Here are some specific warning signs to watch for:

    • Sporadic access to the course: If learners aren’t accessing the course regularly, it could suggest they don’t find the materials engaging or useful.

    • Minimal participation in activities: If activities like discussion forums, quizzes, and interactive exercises have low participation, the course might not be effectively engaging learners.

    • Reduced session times: If learners are spending less time on the course than expected or logging off quickly after logging in, it could signal disinterest or frustration with the material.

    • No use of supplementary resources: When additional resources like readings, videos, or external links aren’t being used, it might indicate that the course isn’t motivating learners to delve deeper into the topic.

    It’s crucial to monitor your Learning Management System (LMS) to identify when and where drops in participation occur. This will allow you to respond promptly and make necessary adjustments.

    Here are some strategies to address these signs of low interaction:

    • Review course design: Ensure the course design is intuitive and engaging, and that the materials are easy to navigate.

    • Encourage interaction: Create more opportunities for meaningful interaction, such as group discussions, collaborative projects, and Q&A sessions.

    • Segment the content: Break the content into shorter, more manageable sections to avoid information overload and keep interest high.

    • Implement gamification: Introduce gamification elements like badges, points, and leaderboards to incentivize participation and progress.

    • Offer personalized learning options: Allow learners to choose from different learning paths or types of activities based on their preferences and needs.

    By actively monitoring and addressing poor engagement, you can ensure your eLearning courses remain effective, relevant, and valuable to your learners, ultimately leading to better outcomes for both individuals and the organization.

    Read more: Five Rules of Engagement All eLearning Designers Should Live By


    3) Negative Feedback

    Negative feedback is a big warning sign that your eLearning course might need improvement. It's crucial because it directly affects how learners perceive your course and whether they'll find it useful and engaging. Ignoring negative feedback can lead to a decline in participation and the overall success of your training program.

    If you're not using surveys or getting direct feedback yet, now’s the time to start.

    Surveys and polls can give you key insights to make your eLearning courses better. Also, keep an eye on social media, your Learning Management System (LMS), and ratings and comments in company forums. Even word of mouth can reveal a lot.

    Take all negative feedback seriously. Learner opinions can shape how future courses are perceived. For optional courses, a bad reputation can cut down registration numbers. For mandatory ones, it can make learners dread starting them. A course with mostly negative feedback rarely succeeds.

    While a few negative comments might not be a big deal, a steady stream of bad feedback is a clear sign your course needs a fix. You might need to tweak the content, change how you assess learners, or give more support. The best way to know what to change is to ask your learners directly.

    Here are some powerful actions you can take:

    • Run Regular Surveys: Get feedback at the end of each module or course to see what’s working and what’s not.

    • Monitor Forums and Social Media: Regularly check and respond to comments, showing you care about and act on what learners say.

    • Hold Feedback Sessions: Organize live Q&A sessions or focus groups where learners can share their thoughts directly with you.

    • Implement a Feedback Loop: Create a process where you gather feedback, make changes, and then inform learners about what has been improved based on their suggestions.

    • Use Anonymous Feedback Channels: Some learners might be more honest if they can give feedback anonymously.

    • Offer Incentives for Feedback: Provide small rewards or recognition to learners who consistently give valuable feedback.

    • Track Feedback Trends: Use data analytics to identify recurring themes or issues in the feedback you receive.

    These steps will help you spot areas that need improvement and show your learners that their opinions matter, making your training programs better and stronger.


    Read more: Engage Your Audience: Embracing Strategies and Avoiding Roadblocks in eLearning


    4) No Change in Behavior or Results

    No change in behavior or results is a key warning sign that your eLearning course may not be effective. The main goal of any eLearning course is to positively influence behavior or improve the skills of your employees. If these changes aren’t happening, it means the course isn't achieving its objectives, and your investment in training isn't yielding the expected return.

    For example, if your course is designed to enhance customer service or teach new software, you should see a noticeable improvement in these areas. If there are no significant changes in performance or skills after the training, it's a clear sign that the course may need a review or update.

    Here are some specific signs to watch for:

    • Recurring errors in specific yasks: If employees continue to make mistakes in areas that the course should have addressed, it indicates ineffective learning transfer.

    • Frequent requests for clarification: If employees often ask for clarification on topics covered in the course, it means the concepts weren't clearly understood.

    • Lack of initiative to use new tools or processes: Reluctance to use new tools or processes taught in the course may signal a lack of understanding or confidence.

    • No improvement in performance indicators: Without improvements in KPIs related to the course, it's clear that the learning isn't positively impacting job performance.

    • Negative feedback on content relevance: Comments suggesting that the course content isn’t applicable or relevant to current roles indicate a need for better alignment with practical needs.

    • Low application of knowledge in discussions or meetings: If employees rarely reference or apply what they learned in relevant work situations, it shows the content hasn't been internalized.

    Once you've identified areas for improvement, it's crucial to take action to optimize the course and ensure employees not only retain the content but also integrate it effectively into their daily practices:

    • Continuous reinforcement: Implement regular reviews and send reminders after the course to help retain knowledge. Behavioral change is a gradual process that greatly benefits from constant repetition and reinforcement.

    • Microlearning: Develop short learning modules that periodically reinforce key concepts. This method helps keep the content top of mind and promotes smoother practical application.

    • Post-Course support: Provide additional support after course completion through mentoring or readily accessible help resources. This could include tutoring, Q&A sessions, or access to experts.

    • Clarity in applying learning: Ensure all participants clearly understand how to apply what they’ve learned to their specific roles. This can be achieved through practical examples, relevant case studies, or simulations during the course.

    • Increase practice and simulations: Enhance the course with more practical exercises, realistic scenarios, and interactive resources that allow employees to simulate work situations and practice new skills in a controlled, safe environment.

    By taking these steps, you not only improve the effectiveness of the course but also empower your employees to actively and consciously apply their new knowledge, positively transforming their behavior and job performance.

    Read more: Are Your eLearning Courses Achieving Behavioral Change?

    If you’ve noticed that your eLearning course isn’t getting the results you expected, it’s a clear signal that it’s time to take action and make some optimizations.

    Depending on your specific situation, you might only need to make minor updates, but some eLearning course creators may need to implement major changes. Don’t shy away from making bold moves to ensure your course delivers the impact it should.

    Here’s what you need to do right now:

    1. Take inventory: Make a comprehensive list of your existing and older courses. Identify which ones are underperforming and need immediate attention.

    2. Gather feedback: Reach out to participants for their opinions. Use surveys, direct feedback, and monitor social media and forums. Collect as much insight as possible.

    3. Review metrics: Dive into your data. Look at completion rates, participation levels, and performance metrics. Identify trends and pinpoint areas that need improvement.

    4. Clarify learning objectives: Ensure that your course goals are clear and specific. If your objectives are vague or outdated, redefine them to provide clear direction.

    5. Identify quick wins: Based on the feedback and data, pinpoint immediate changes you can make. This might involve updating outdated content, adding interactive elements, or simplifying complex sections.

    6. Engage with your audience: Communicate with your learners. Let them know you’re making improvements based on their feedback and keep them informed about upcoming changes.

    7. Monitor and adjust: After making initial updates, continue to monitor the course’s performance. Be ready to make further adjustments based on ongoing feedback and data.

    By taking these steps immediately, you can quickly start to turn your course around and ensure it meets its objectives, providing real value to your learners and driving the results you expect. Don’t settle for mediocre outcomes—take action now to revitalize your eLearning course.

    Read more:

    Evolving Your eLearning Courses for Modern Workers

    Improving Your eLearning Courses: The 4 Most Important Elements to Focus On

    visual design crash course


    Related Posts

    How to Leverage AI to Solve Key L&D Challenges and Boost Learning Impact

    In today's landscape, training and development departments are tackling a range of challenges from technological upgrades to creating content that's accessible and engaging for a diverse workforce. This complex landscape is reflective of broader industry trends where the pace of change is not just fast, but accelerating. The Industry at a Glance: According to LinkedIn's 2022 Workplace Learning Report, 64% of learning and development professionals agree that their role has become more challenging compared to just two years ago. This is largely due to the rapid technological shifts and the increasing demand for digital upskilling. A recent Gartner survey highlights that 58% of the workforce needs new skill sets just to keep up with their current job demands, let alone future innovations. The same Gartner study points out that the shift to more remote and hybrid work models has necessitated a complete rethink of traditional training methods. This includes not only the mediums of delivery but also the content itself to ensure inclusivity and engagement across geographies and cultures.

    5 Rules for Designing Multi-Device eLearning Courses

    Diving into today’s eLearning scene, creating courses that perform seamlessly across multiple devices isn’t just an added bonus—it’s absolutely essential. Consider this: more than 70% of learners flip between computers, tablets, and smartphones to access their education. This isn’t just a shift; it’s a revolution in how we engage with and absorb knowledge.

    Is Your Company Embracing Just-in-Time Learning?

    Are you struggling to keep your team's training up-to-speed with the pace of today's business demands? You're not alone. As job requirements shift and evolve at lightning speed, traditional training methods often fall short. That's where Just in Time Learning (JIT) comes into play—a strategy that delivers exactly what your team needs, right when they need it.