The promise of eLearning for many students is the chance to engage in a "classroom" like never before. Every seat is in the front, and the dynamic eLearning space has the potential for some of the most engaging curriculum and learning experiences students have ever experienced. So why are many eLearning environments so boring?
Among the key success factors for eLearning include making sure it does not become boring, tired and predictable. Employees can already find that in the traditional training sessions. eLearning has to be something more to stave off boredom and keep learners engaged. Merely presenting content is not enough to create an effective learning experience. In this post, we’ll look at what you should avoid and do to beat boring eLearning.
It's a fact that many eLearning courses experience the same mistakes. They overload learners with too much information, they are too passive, not involving or challenging the learners. Beating these common mistakes is not difficult at all, actually you’ll save development time and probably get better results as well.
While you can’t make a person learn, you can create an environment that is more contributive to learning. You do this by crushing demotivational factors. Your job as an eLearning professional is to figure out how to engage your learners and react according to that.
#1: Move away from the practice of taking traditional curriculum and moving it online
The first and most important of the key success factors for eLearning is to move away from the practice of taking traditional curriculum and moving it online. What works well in person and traditional classroom situations does not translate to the eLearning environment. Take the PowerPoint, for example. In traditional training sessions, instructors can stop and discuss each slide more deeply, answer questions and encourage discussion. In the eLearning environment, the PowerPoint becomes a boring slide show that employees simply click through as quickly as possible or only refer to when completing the assignment.
#2: Use the full power of the Internet to fuel coursework
Another way to beat boring eLearning is to use the full power of the Internet to fuel coursework. Many eLearning courses already utilize the somewhat outdated online tools of discussion boards or rollover. But the digital environment has changed dramatically in recent years. Audio and video make a good first step, but eLearning can go farther with game technology, simulations or even digital avatars representing the learner. The Internet and other learning innovations make these kinds of engaging learning scenarios possible in today's eLearning classroom.
#3: Avoid passive learning
Key success factors for eLearning involve much more than just using digital technology. Any passive learning whether it is in traditional training or through eLearning is boring. The majorities of students check out of that kind of classroom and retain information just long enough to pass a test. It won't be a learning experience the learner hangs on to.
Instead, the most effective instruction actively engages the learner in meaning making. The learner or community of learners should work together to construct knowledge with the guidance of an instructor. You can gradually provide the information they need through coaching along the way. This definitely helps shift the focus from only reading to participating.This kind of learning brings the student into the process and helps the learner internalize and retain the new information more effectively.
#4: Make it visual!
Think visually. Avoiding text completely is not an effective practice. However, you can replace text overload through diagrams, infographics, powerful images that communicate, and videos for example.
It's as important to motivate learners as it is to present content to them. Presenting content in a visual way definitely beats the constant lack of motivation learners feel.
#5: Keep formality away
Too much formality can bore learners very fast. This doesn't mean you will be unprofessional; you can just write in a conversational and casual way. You can choose a friendly and informal tone, however transmitting content professionally. Not only write to inform, but also engage and challenge your learners constantly.
Remember: Adult learners need to be engaged if they are to learn something...
eLearning has the potential to create a new, dynamic and engaging learning environment, far beyond the boring, passive eLearning models of old. The key success factors for eLearning recognize this opportunity to change eLearning into the exciting learning experience it can be!