There comes a time in the life of any product when it needs to be refreshed and it is no different with eLearning courses. However, when it’s your course, you may not realize the time has come to make some changes. After all, it can be difficult to assess your own work. The best thing to do is create an evaluation sheet or checklist and measure your training against it.
This article will help you get started with the process. If you identify with many of the statements below, you should start thinking about how you will improve your eLearning course.
1) Low completion rates
If high numbers of students are consistently losing interest as the course progresses (aka: not completing your courses), you may need to look at your course offering.
- Is the course too long?
- Is the course too technical (full of jargon)?
- Are the course screens overloaded with text?
- Are there interactions, quizzes or exercises every 4-5 screens?
- Can students see their progress when taking the course?
There could be a number of reasons why students aren’t completing the course and you need to find out which ones apply. The content may be boring, the exercises may be too difficult, or learners may not see how it relates to their everyday duties.
In case the training is mandatory and students can’t simply drop out, you may notice they complete the course, but they are taking longer to do assignments or their participation rates in the forums are very low.
2) Poor learner engagement
A highly- effective eLearning course typically involves high engagement rates. They ask questions regularly and have discussions among each other. If you started out with high engagement but the levels seem to be falling, you should take notice of this too. This is a sign that you no longer have the attention of your students. Maybe the course has been running too long or they don’t see any value in what they are learning. You should monitor your learning management system to see when engagement levels seem to be taking a dive. That way, you can respond quickly and adjust your strategy where possible. At the very least, you can check in with students to see if they need encouragement, information or any other support.
3) Negative feedback
Hopefully, you’ve made it easy for students to give you feedback on the course directly. If you are still aren’t doing this, you shouldn’t be afraid to use polls or surveys to ask them what they think. This will give you the feedback you need to improve your eLearning courses! You should also look at what is being said on social media, on your LMS and the ratings and reviews students are placing in company forums, for instance. You may also hear what is being said by word of mouth.
Whatever method you use, you need to take negative reviews seriously! Potential learners will look at reviews before they sign up for your next course. If the course is optional, you will likely see lower registration numbers. If it is mandatory, students will start the course with low expectations based on what they have heard or read. If the majority of your learners aren’t satisfied, your course is unlikely to be successful.
One or two bad reviews are not a cause for major concern but if large numbers of your students have something negative to say, you definitely need to overhaul your course. You may need to revisit the content, the mode of delivery, the assessments or the level of support given to students. The best way to find out what you need to change is to ask the students.
4) Participants’ behavior is not changing
If your eLearning course is effective, students will gradually begin to change their behavior. Whether you’re trying to improve customer service or teach workers to use a new piece of software, you should be able to see progress in their abilities. Repetition of the course material and reminders of the expected behavior can go a long way since behavioral change takes time. If only a few employees have adapted their actions or the overall impact is minimal, you need to make changes to the course. Maybe the training was adequate when your organization was smaller or when most of the employees were middle-aged. Now that the business has grown or you’re hiring more millennials, the course content needs to be updated.
If you’re struggling to effect behavioral change, you may want to focus on providing more support after the course. This can take the form of input from coaches and mentors or making relevant cheat sheets or checklists available. You also need to ensure course participants know exactly how they’re expected to use the information they gained.
How to Improve eLearning Course Outcomes
Recognizing the signs of a struggling course is important. It’s the only way you can investigate the problem and take steps to get the training back on track. One of the first things you need to be able to do is evaluate the strength of your course. This should be done throughout the program so you can make small changes as you go along. In response to participant feedback, you may want to replace some modules or record videos instead of providing readings. Some of the things you may want to consider for your evaluation are learning objectives, language, time, and visual impact.
To increase completion rates, you need to take a number of steps, starting with making participants aware of exactly why they are being trained. Are you trying to solve a problem or prevent one? Are you trying to get your organization ahead of the competition or do you want to increase efficiency? The easiest way to get employees onboard is to convince them the training will benefit them. You also need to keep the courses short and interesting and reward those participants who successfully complete them. Creating excitement around the course and making it aesthetically appealing can also make a huge difference.
If you’ve noticed that your eLearning course isn’t as impactful as it once was, it’s probably time to implement some changes. Depending on your specific circumstances, you may only need to make small updates but some course creators will need to make significant overhauls. Before you make any changes, be sure your learning objectives are clear and you have feedback from participants. This can get your course back on track quickly.