SHIFT's eLearning Blog

Making Change Happen: A No-Fail Process to Make eLearning More Persuasive

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Thu, Dec 18, 2014 @ 11:55 AM

Persuasion is an art. Try too hard, and you might be branded as being aggressive. Be gentle, and your message will probably be brushed aside. At the end, the ultimate goal of persuasion is to get a person to change. Persuading someone to come round to your point of view is especially challenging in a virtual learning environment that lacks the intimacy of a face-to-face interaction. What is more, your learner has a choice to go or not go through your course. Thankfully, researchers have figured out how the learner's mind works and how to "persuade" it to fall in line with your content.

Monroe's Motivated Sequence lists a proven process—Hook, Need, Solution, Visualization, and Action—to convert a reluctant learner into an enthusiastic participant who readily absorbs the learning and willingly agrees to change his behavior. In eLearning, "telling isn't teaching," and you cannot persuade if you just state the facts. Facts alone won’t significantly change the way people think, do, and feel. You have to carefully choose every element on the screen to do all the coaxing, cajoling, imploring, and pleading to engage and persuade your learners to do something new.

Follow this no-fail process for creating eLearning that persuades and changes behaviors. 

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Topics: eLearning design

Before You Add One More Image to Your eLearning Course, Read This!

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Dec 16, 2014 @ 12:22 PM

Bad Stock Photos Make for Bad eLearning

How often have you gone to a website, looked at the photos, and said “Oh yeah, there are the happy clapping people, and there’s the arrow going into the target, and there’s the thermometer showing sales figures, and… yawn.” Probably more times than you could count.

Does that really make you want to read the content? Does it do anything to enhance the information that’s there? Of course it doesn’t. And the same things that are beyond boring and beyond overdone on various websites are going to be equally as un-engaging if you use them on your eLearning course.

The dilemma with stock photos is that cheesy-to-the-maximum, cliché, exaggerated, awkward and fake photos do not connect with an audience of learners. You have to make images speak to your learners. Images need to say the 1,000 words you actually want them to.

The ideal case is that you take your own photos, but we know that not everyone has the budget, time or available resources, so if you must use stock photography, make sure it’s relevant, not hideously overused and think creatively about choosing and editing them in unique ways.

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Topics: eLearning design, eLearning stock photos

Seeing is Believing: Making Best Use of Your Images in eLearning

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 @ 12:07 PM

Do you buy clothes online without looking at the photographs? What sounds more exciting—reading about a seaside town or actually walking through the streets of one while smelling the sea in the air? Why is your computer crammed full with photographs and videos of long-gone birthday parties and family picnics? That is because, we love images! Images talk to us, move us, make us remember, and inspire us in ways that words hardly can. We also happen to learn better through images than with text.  The human brain processes visuals 60,000 times quicker than text!

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The Art of Simplification in eLearning Design

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Dec 09, 2014 @ 12:35 PM

eLearning courses are designed for the benefit of students and not to bombard them with irrelevant information. Relevant information is necessary, but if you exceed a human’s brain capacity to understand and retain all the information, then all the learning goes to waste. Designers often ask how they can improve the quality of their eLearning content and make them more engaging. What can they do? Stick to one of design's timeless rules: “keep it simple” . 

Applying the principle of simplicity in eLearning means relaying information through the simplest means possible. Less information will always be more. When too much clutter vies for the learner's attention, the learner may not see the forest for the trees. They end up thinking the course isn't worth so much effort, and the content gets lost. 

Keeping it simple can be an art. So, let’s discuss some tips to improve the eLearning design and help learners get through the course as fast as possible. Make sure to use these as your goals for next year when you design a new course: 

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Topics: eLearning design

Keep eLearning Readable or Don’t Bother Using Text at All

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Thu, Dec 04, 2014 @ 12:00 PM

Recently, we found some powerful words by Carrie Cousins which made us think on how they apply to eLearning: "Design for readability or don’t bother using text at all. If you want your content to be effective, it must be readable." 

As a learning professional, your responsibility is not just to deliver eLearning content to your students – it’s to make sure that it’s engaging and readable. What that means, is that you’re going to have to learn about design, especially typography.

At its essence, eLearning is mostly about reading, and if what you’re offering is visually confusing or hard to read, your then your material simply fails to deliver. And since readability is an essential aspect of comprehension, it's necessary to consider the ease with which students can read the text.

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Topics: eLearning tips, how we read online

How Usable is Your eLearning Course? Follow the 5 E’s For Best Results

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Dec 02, 2014 @ 12:30 PM

Usability applies to any user interface, from a door handle to an airplane cockpit - or an eLearning course. It means, simply, how easy it is for users to get what they need out of the device. How usable your eLearning course is, is one of the most important factors that make or break your entire program. Usability is so  critical in eLearning because every minute students spend learning to use the software is a minute out of their time spent learning the content.

If you are in the middle or just starting an eLearning course, before you go any further, ask yourself if you have covered the 5 E's of usability .Use these as guidelines or standars to make sure your course is as usable as you can make it.


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Topics: eLearning tips, usability

Apply This Storytelling Technique to Create More Engaging eLearning

Posted by Aide Peralta on Thu, Nov 27, 2014 @ 12:39 PM

Most likely you have seen the movie Terminator starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you haven’t, chances are you know what it is about. Whether you love or hate 80’s science fiction, if you develop eLearning courses this movie has something for you. The secret is in how the story is built.  

To clearly understand the narrative structure of the story behind the scenes, here is a brief description of the movies’ plot:

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Instructional Designers: How to Pick Your SME's Brain in an Interview

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 @ 12:10 PM


You may be an eLearning professional, but the subject matter expert or the SME actually flags off your course by providing the all-important content for you and your team to sculpt on. The SME may be a software programmer or a marketing analyst in your company, a professor, doctor, or a best-selling author who has penned books of encyclopedic proportions on the course matter. Whoever may be the SME, it is likely he is not your cubicle mate. You will probably get just a few opportunities to glean relevant content from him. So take the smart route to make the most of an SME interview. Here we will review the key steps you can take before and during, the interview to maximize its effectiveness.

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Topics: eLearning tips, SME

The Most Basic Things eLearning Professionals Need to Know About Learning

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 @ 12:25 PM

Understanding how the mind processes information and stores it is vital to educators, instructional designers and eLearning professionals. Simply stated, if you don’t know how the mind works, you have no way of knowing how to design material that will ensure success for your students. Information processing theory is a subject that has been studied, discussed and debated so much that a lot of the information available conflicts. However, there are a few basic principles that are generally agreed upon.

So, how do people learn? Essentially, it works in four main stages, and five thought control processes. The four stages are motivation, comprehension, practice and application. The thought control processes are attention, encoding, rehearsal, retrieval and metacognition. When you’re creating instructional materials, you need to keep the stages and thought control processes in mind in order to best facilitate learning.

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If You Confuse Learners, You Lose Them: 4 Steps to Effective Communication in eLearning

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Nov 18, 2014 @ 12:06 PM

Well-design courses are worthless if they can't communicate content effectively to those learning. Truth is, effective communication is actually more challenging to apply especially in designing eLearning . 

Optimized eLearning design has the power to motivate students and drive performance. If you are serious about creating effective eLearning courses, it is essential that you follow all four of the following steps to get the right message across to your learners.

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Topics: eLearning design

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