Asynchronous, social, experiential, traditional - or a hybrid of all these? Identify what type of experience your learners are looking for by starting with understanding who your learners are and defining what their needs are. Provide a tailored experience and avoid a one-size-fits-all approach when allowed, as learners have different needs, attention span, and prefer different learning environments. While self-paced, online courses may work for some, others prefer more synchronous interaction through web conferencing software. When creating the perfect learning experiences - elearning gives you the flexibility to meet the needs of a variety of learners.
Define what you want to achieve for each of your elearning course modules. Make sure that each learning unit’s objective is clear for the learners, and set a milestone and quantitative measure for each. It’s best if the goals and objectives are designed to challenge the learners just enough without overwhelming them.
Here’s a guide on how to develop effective learning objectives.
Providing a comprehensive course for your learners is important as an instructional designer. But making sure you provide a robust learning experience doesn’t mean that your learners have to receive all of the information at one time. Effective e-learning experiences give learners the ability to digest each learning unit in easy and concise blocks of information, sometimes called microlearning. This will ultimately help everyone. We’re all busy today and many of us have difficulty concentrating on one task for extended periods of time. During course design and development, aim for each module to take 20 minutes or less to finish if possible. However, this is just a guide and could certainly be extended a bit depending on the complexity of the topic.
Learning experiences are made better when there are visuals such as photos and videos that accompany texts. Visuals help tell a story – so try to include enough visuals for your course as possible. Go beyond stock images and include out-of-the-box visual aids that provide not just information but engagement as well. Visuals may include infographics, visual and mind maps, whiteboard animations, comics, screen captures, and illustrations.
Making a point to call out the goals for the module helps a learner stay on track with the objectives, what needs to be achieved, and the benefits of the course. Providing an overview helps set expectations for the material and a recap helps participants retain the information. As you create your overview and introduction, add something interactive and challenging like thought-provoking questions, describing a scenario or relating the content to a real-world situation. For a recap, consider incorporating interactive content that helps the learner appreciate how much they’ve learned, like a quiz or reflection.
Getting learners involved throughout the entire course keeps their attention and increases engagement. Allowing them to interact with the subject matter helps with retaining information and encourages a sense of fulfillment whenever they get an answer correct. Online learning interactivity may be in the form of games, quizzes, drag and drop, multimedia content, videos, audio, animation, and other forms that encourage critical thinking. It could also be in the form of social learning including interaction with other learners.
It’s also easier to remember key points when they’re woven together as a story. Instructional designers can apply real-world insights and deeper context when they use clear, coherent story-telling techniques.
Get creative with your stories. Introduce characters that are relatable, believable, and human. Content is easier to understand when the learners share common personality traits, challenges, experiences, and situations with the characters in course materials.
Having an understanding of the end goal and benefit motivates a learner to complete a course. When they see the value in the course and understand the real-world benefits, they are more likely to engage. Effective elearning design provides an overview of the course and its objectives, and refer to this through the course. Share successful case studies that are relevant in their roles and situations. Give your learners real-world problem-solving exercises and highlight potential successes (or consequences) based on the choices they make. This way, the learning experience isn’t boring or given in lecture style – but more of an interactive exercise that learners can use for future real-world problem-solving.
Feedback is an important element in ensuring that the learner stays on track. Opportunities to reflect on and test their knowledge allows them to resolve any misconceptions and learn from mistakes. Assessments provide critical information in leveling up skills and identifying problem areas or gaps. By providing this on an ongoing basis, learners become aware of their performance and course providers can tweak the material accordingly to bridge any learning gaps.
No matter how you define a perfect eLearning experience, we know there are some proven engagement strategies that work best. Focusing on learner engagement leads not only to a more enjoyable experience, but also better retention on information.
If you would like to learn more about creating the perfect eLearning experience, the team at Edubrite can help you identify ways to improve your learner’s experience.