eLearning is the perfect answer to a training solution for many reasons which is why it is becoming more and more popular. However although saving costs, accessing the courses anywhere and everywhere and being able to make bullet points fly in are all key to eLearning's success, it doesn’t quite change the stigma that training, no matter what the format, is a chore.
This stigma needs to be broken as eLearning is a powerful tool that really can motivate, inspire, engage and teach learners better than any other platform ever has. This being said, without the right know-how, it is easy to create eLearning courses that are just glorified power point presentations. The key to eLearning being effective is to make it enjoyable:
‘The action of possessing and benefiting from something’
If an online course is enjoyable, it will inevitably be easier for the learners to complete and get something valuable from. Here are 5 key points to consider when developing successful eLearning courses.:
- Think outside the box: It is important when creating eLearning to challenge conventions. This is being done across the board already in eLearning, personalisation, quizzes, interactions and gamification are all elements that go against the normal text book learning and these are proving extremely successful. However it doesn’t have to stop there. Challenging all learning conventions and thinking outside the box is what makes eLearning so up to date with the times. It is easy to tackle a boring subject with a boring frame of mind. Anything can be made interesting.
- Story telling: Story telling has been a way we have communicated for the whole of human existence, a way of teaching and engaging the listener. Whether it is to warn children from talking to strangers or a maths puzzle it has always been an effective and crucial part of development and teaching. A way in which eLearning has incorporated this idea is by the use of scenarios. It helps the information become more relatable and whatever the subject matter it narrates an idea and compares it to real life situations. It's our natural curiosity that makes us so motivated and eager to see what happens next and this results in an efficient way of teaching. They also help to provide a more sensitive format for difficult information.
- Challenge your learner: Don’t make the training quizzes, games or interactions too easy! It is so important to make all of the above achievable however to make the learner more engaged it is key to actually challenge them. One of the reasons gaming is so addictive is because of the challenge, people know it is within their grasp but they’ve got the think about and try harder for it. If something is too easy we loose interest very quickly, equally if something is too hard we can give up. Therefor getting the balance right is crucial and can make all the difference to your learners engagement. Give your learners something to think about!
- Embrace self study, but don’t isolate: One of the highlights when it comes to eLearning is the element of self study. Being able to independently work at your own pace and do the course anywhere, however this can sometimes drain the key social element to learning. Collaborating is a key element that should be taken from the traditional classroom learning and added to eLearning. Working together, communicating or encouraging the competitive nature should all be done to get the best results out of learners. This can be achieved through reward systems and badges. Employees can compare their results and progress with peers adding that important social interaction and completion which is key to engagement.
- Be creative: And finally this point is one of the most important, just be creative! No matter what the topic, never be afraid to express yourself both in the design and the content. Have a sense of humour and show off your design skills as if it was any other type of design. Treat it still like a piece of visual artwork that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional and never send off an eLearning course that you aren't totally satisfied with. eLearning should always be enjoyable, avoid recreating a text book or powerpoint presentation and try to make your course an experience that learners won't hate doing!
Liz Bark is the founder of Optimised Learning, an industry leader with extensive knowledge in instructional design and creative thinking. Her knowledge through Neuro Linguistic Programs has enabled her to drive her business towards new learning techniques that require creative engaging skills. She is the Creative Director and Founder at Optimised Learning. Follow her on LinkedIn.